|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Opening date||July 17, 1989|
|Ride duration||9:18 minutes|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Opening date||October 2, 1992|
|Ride duration||10:41 minutes|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Opening date||October 1, 1992|
Splash Mountain is a log flume attraction at three Walt Disney Parks that is based on the 1946 Disney film Song of the South. Each Splash Mountain features a large cast of audio-animatronic figures singing portions of the motion picture's soundtrack with a finale of a steep drop from Chick-A-Pin Hill into the Briar Patch.
The idea for Splash Mountain was originally conceived in the summer of 1983 by Imagineer Tony Baxter while stuck in rush hour traffic on his way to work. He wanted to attract guests to the often-empty Bear Country land and make use of Audio-Animatronics from America Sings, which was also receiving poor attendance from guests. It was Dick Nunis who insisted the Imagineers to create a log flume attraction for Disneyland, but the Imagineers were initially unenthusiastic about it, insisting that log flume attractions were too ordinary to include in a park like Disneyland. While trying to solve the problems of including a log flume, bringing people to Bear Country and reusing the America Sings characters, Baxter then thought of the 1946 Disney film Song of the South.
At the time it was being built, Splash Mountain was one of the most expensive projects created by Walt Disney Imagineering at a cost of $75 million. According to Alice Davis (wife of the late Marc Davis), when America Sings closed in April 1988, production of Disneyland's Splash Mountain had gone far over budget. The only way to recover is to permanently close down America Sings and use the characters from that attraction.
Baxter and his team developed the concept of Zip-A-Dee River Run, which would incorporate scenes from Song of the South. The name was later changed to Splash Mountain after then-CEO Michael Eisner's mostly-ignored suggestion that the attraction be used to help market the film Splash. The characters from America Sings were used in many scenes, though all the main characters were specifically designed for Splash Mountain. Coincidentally, the two vultures seen just before the final 52-feet drop at the Disneyland version are the very same vultures used as the Boothill Boys from America Sings.
Dave Feiten was then brought in to animate and fix the story and staging problems. Feiten then moved nearly all of the animatronics to new locations and then took out 10 animatronic figures and removed them from the ride completely to improve the show. A version of the popular attraction was planned for Disneyland Paris in France, but was scrapped due to budget reasons and the very cold weather in Europe.
- Glide along a colorful bayou in a hollow log—past delightful singing critters—to a thrilling 5-story splashdown.
- Gently drift past rocky caves, vine-strewn swamps and sun-drenched meadows as you accompany happy-go-lucky Br’er Rabbit on the adventure of a lifetime. But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of the roaming rabbit and they’ll do anything they can to catch him!
- During your log-flume adventure, visit such whimsical watering holes amid Chick-A-Pin Hill as:
- Critter Cave
- The Fishing Place
- The Old Swimming Hole
- Br’er Fox’s Lair
- Br’er Rabbit’s home in the briar patch
The ride presents scenes taken from the animated segments of Song of the South. It tells the story of the adventures of Brer Rabbit, a mischievous rabbit who leaves his home at the Briar Patch to look for his laughing place. Unfortunately for him, Brer Fox and Brer Bear, the antagonists of this story, are determined to catch him. The story starts off with an intro from Brer Frog, who warns of the troubles ahead. Brer Rabbit outsmarts the two a few times, but in the end, they manage to catch him and take him to Brer Fox's cave at Chickapin Hill.
The transition into the Laughing Place takes place in the dark and the log out of the water and onto steel beams like a roller coaster.
Brer Rabbit outfoxes them one final time, by tricking them into throwing him into his home, the Briar Patch. At that point, riders are sent down the big drop into the Briar Patch. At the end of the ride, a showboat and a lot of critters sing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah to celebrate Brer Rabbit's safe return.
During the 52 1/2 foot plummet, a camera takes pictures of park guests in their log.
Guests enter the queue in front the main drop viewing area. The queue winds past the Critter Country sign into the main entrance—an old barn. Inside, a number of machines with cogs and gears can be seen. Various quotes and thoughts from Uncle Remus are featured on signs throughout the queue, which winds the barn and enters a cavern before reaching the loading area.
Passengers ride aboard six-passenger logs with one single-file seat and a larger seat in the very back. The log departs the loading area and ascends two conveyor-type lifts before floating gently through scenery designed to evoke the feeling of a river in the southern state of Georgia. The homes of the ride's three main characters (Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear) and aged farm equipment are incorporated into the landscape, along with an instrumental version of "How Do You Do?" eminating from hidden speakers along the waterway.
Snoring is heard eminating from Brer Bear's cave. The snoring is a tribute to the original entrance to Bear Country (the former name of Critter Country) where a bear named Rufus was heard snoring from a cave.
After a short drop down "Slippin' Falls", guests enter the indoor portion of the attraction, where various Audio-Animatronic animals, such as geese, frogs and possums, sing the attraction's first musical number, "How Do You Do?". Most of the animals seen throughout Splash Mountain were reused from the now-defunct America Sings attraction. Brer Rabbit is seen laughing at Brer Bear's misfortunes, preceding a "dip-drop" into the surreal Rainbow Hollow, where characters sing "Everybody's Has a Laughin' Place."
Brer Fox then manages to trap Brer Rabbit in a beehive. The mood turns ominous as two mother characters (a possum and a rabbit) sing the "Burrow's Lament" to their children. The logs begin climbing up the final and longer lift hill, passing beneath two vultures that taunt guests and tell of foreboding danger. Shortly before the attraction's climactic drop, Brer Rabbit is seen in Brer Fox's lair alongside the hill, about to be eaten by Brer Fox.
But Brer Rabbit outsmarts Brer Fox and Brer Bear by tricking them into throwing him into the briar patch (where he was born and raised). Riders are sent down the final drop into the briar patch, mimicking his fall. The top half of the drop is highly visible from the adjacent areas of the park. A photo is taken as the log begins to fall and it can be purchased after disembarking from the ride. From the top of the hill, riders looking toward the splashdown point will notice a full pond of water ahead of them.
The log then 'dives' under the water into an underground runout. The collective weight of the riders generally determines the degree to which they get wet here. An indoor segment follows the drop, after which the logs make a final entrance into a section of the mountain named "Doo-Dah Landing", where a full cast of Audio-Animatronic figures sing "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" and the respective fates of Brer Rabbit (reclining happily inside his home) and the antagonists (fending off a hungry alligator) are seen.
Before the return to the loading area, riders are given a preview of their picture that was taken on the final drop via an overhead screen. Professor Barnaby Owl, an overhead Audio-Animatronic, calls the riders' attention to the screen with various phrases describing the looks on their faces. After disembarking from the log, riders enter a "dark room," where they preview their on-ride photograph before exiting back out into Critter Country.
Magic Kingdom version
Without a Critter Country in Walt Disney World, Splash Mountain is located in Frontierland, across the way from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Construction of Splash Mountain necessitated the demolition of the original Frontierland train station and temporarily turning the railroad into a shuttle between Main Street, USA and Mickey's Starland.
Riders board eight-passenger logs, seated side-by-side. The logs are now equipped with lap bars for safety reasons following a January 2011 renovation. The log departs the loading area, where Br'er Frog provides introductory narration. The log ascends two dual-chain lifts before floating gently through scenery designed to evoke the feeling of a river in the souther United States, particularly Georgia, where Song of the South was based. The homes of the three main characters and aged farm equipment are incorporated into the landscape, along with an instrumental version of "How Do You Do?" eminating from hidden speakers along the waterway.
After a short drop down "Slippin' Falls", guests enter the indoor portion of the attraction, where various Audio-Animatronic animals, such as geese and frogs, sing the attraction's first musical number, "How Do You Do?". Several vignettes establish the story of a restless Br'er Rabbit leaving home and being pursued by Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear.
"Everybody's Has a Laughing Place" begins to play as the log reach a dark tunnel followed by a "dip-drop" into the Laughin' Place. There, singing turtles, laughing frogs and dancing water fountains guide the log to a dark area in which Br'er Rabbit has been caught by Br'er Fox in a cave of stalactites and stalagmites. Two vultures taunt riders as they begin their ascent up the final lift. A scene to the side shows Brer Fox menacing Brer Rabbit, with Brer Rabbit pleading not to be thrown into the briar patch.
At the top of this third lift hill, the log descends the 52-foot (16 m) drop at a 45 degree angle, reaching a maximum speed of 40 mph. After another outdoor flume segment, the log returns to the mountain, where critters at "Doo-Dah Landing" are singing "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" in celebration of Br'er Rabbit's return, while Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear attempt to fend off an alligator. At the end, Br'er Rabbit, reclining outside the front door of his briar patch, sings with Mr. Bluebird, telling him that he learned his lesson. After exiting the log, riders may purchase a picture of their log falling at the final drop.
Tokyo Disneyland version
Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland is very similar to the Florida version of the ride, with a few exceptions. The ride's layout is a mirror-image of Florida's, owing to the attraction's location on the opposite side of the river. The secondary characters are altogether different and the show scenes are in a different order. The Tokyo version also lacks a mill or barn-like structure on the second lift (although it is used as the main entrance to the ride queue). Instead, the logs venture into a cave-like opening to begin the second climb.
The ride features many variations on the now-classic soundtrack of the film.
- How Do You Do?
- Ev'rybody Has a Laughing Place
- Burrow's Lament (originally a track from the film "Song of the South" titled "Sooner or Later" (Not to be confused with a song by the same name from the movie "Dick Tracy")
The soundtrack for Disneyland is rather orchestra-like and somewhat more formal, and also rather playful (sounding like the soundtrack for Song of the South).
Florida's and Japan's soundtracks feature a country-western flavor (carried principally by banjos, fiddles and harmonicas). Dialog is Japanese for "How Do You Do?" and "Zip a-dee doo dah", but not for "Laughin' Place" at Tokyo Disneyland (in English). Burrow's Lament is heard, but is not sung at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland (since the scene where it is sung is absent of audio-animatronics in both rides), but is sung at Disneyland by a mother possum and mother rabbit.
- The Official Album of Disneyland and Walt Disney World (1991 CD): Ev'rybody Has a Laughing Place & Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
- Disneyland/Walt Disney World: The Official Album (1997 CD): Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah & Ev'rybody Has a Laughing Place
- Walt Disney World Resort: The Official Album (1999 CD): Ev'rybody Has a Laughing Place
- Walt Disney World Resort: Official Album (2000 CD): 8 minute version of the Magic Kingdom soundtrack
- Official Album: Walt Disney World Resort Celebrating 100 Years of Magic (2001 CD): 8 minute version of the Magic Kingdom soundtrack
- Disneyland Park: The Official Album (2001 CD): 8 minute version of the Disneyland soundtrack
- A Musical History of Disneyland (2005): 12 minute version of the Disneyland soundtrack
- Disney's Happiest Celebration on Earth (2005): 8 minute version of the Disneyland soundtrack
Walt Disney World
In popular culture
- In the sing along songs video Disneyland Fun, during Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Splash Mountain was one of the rides the kids rode on.
Splash Mountain is an important location in the first book of the series, Disney After Dark. Here, Finn and Philby visit the attraction to look for a cloud referring Clouds, following the clues left by Walt Disney in the Stonecutter's Quill. hey start going with the current, until halfway in the attraction, the ride mysteously turns on. The Keepers then try to go quickly in order to escape the incoming vehicles. When they get to the big drop, thanks to their current hollographic state, they are able to jump into a log before the fall. Then, during the Zip-a-de-doo-dah scene, they are able to see three letters painted on some clouds, using 3-D glasses.
- Over 100 talking, singing, storytelling Audio-Animatronics critters call Splash Mountain home. In addition to Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear and Br’er Rabbit, a multitude of characters, including geese, frogs, raccoons, possums, bees and alligators, offer up their own slice of southern hospitality during the adventure.
- This attraction includes 950,000 gallons of water, 3 dips and a massive 5-story waterfall. Where you’re seated will determine how wet you’ll likely get. Riders in the back may just experience a sudden splash or spray; those who opt for the front can expect to get soaked.
- The Disneyland version features the largest number of audio-animatronics because many of them came from the now closed attraction America Sings.
- Like a number of Disney attractions, much of Splash Mountain takes place outside of park boundaries. Guests are kept oblivious to the transition between the visible Chickapin Hill and the warehouse-like show building that houses most of the experience, and clever landscaping within the park prevents guests from glimpsing the behind-the-scenes structures.
- On warm days, the water cannon next to the Briar Patch shoots higher and further as to wet the flumes on the right hand side.
- In the Walt Disney World version, there is an obvious "Hidden Mickey" during the show boat scene toward the end of the ride. Mickey can be seen lying on his back in the clouds. Also there is a Hidden Mickey in the room with jumping water, the hole in which Chickapin Hill flows is a side profile of Mickey's head, and there is a bird house with an icon cut out of it in the garden scene. Furthermore there is one near Br'er Frog when he is fishing on the alligator, visible as you pass him, and one composed of three barrels half-way up the second crankhill. There is also a hidden Dumbo hidden in the first part of the cave.
- On October 29, 1989, Ernest Goes to Camp aired during The Magical World of Disney. Prior to the movie a special called "Ernest at Splash Mountain" aired in it Ernest was seen training for, and finally riding, the newly opened Splash Mountain. The end result had Ernest bewildered and collapsing to the ground, leaving guests to step on him while boarding the attraction.
- There are several security cameras in this ride. If someone steps out of their seat, the alarm will go off, and the ride will be stopped.
- At Walt Disney World, cast members who operate the Splash Mountain attraction are affectionately known as "Splash Trash." This fact needs citing.
- Originally, the "Sticky Situation" scene, which portrays Br'er Rabbit stuck in honey, was originally going to use the Tar Baby, like in Song of the South. The scene was changed to avoid the same notorious racial controversies that have plagued the film.
- The Animatronic figures were animated by Davy Crockett Feiten. This fact needs citing.
- When the ride was first put together, nearly all the animatronics were wired and put in place, Mr. Feiten was brought in to animate and fix story and staging problems. Mr. Feiten then moved nearly all of the animatronics to new locations and then took out 10 animatronic figures and removed them from the ride completely to improve the show. This fact needs citing.
- Hoping to make illicit use of the in-ride photographs that Disney later sells to ride patrons, some riders briefly expose themselves (e.g., a woman's breasts) during a particular descent. Collected on the website "Flash Mountain" in the mid to late 1990s, the shots continue to circulate online.
- In the Walt Disney World version, during the Laughing Place scene, the final gopher, who is supposed to be sneezing, says F-S-U. The Imagineer who did the voice went to Florida State University. This is also heard in the version found at Tokyo Disneyland, as well.
- At the time it was built, Splash Mountain was one of the most expensive projects created by Walt Disney Imagineering ($75 million).
- The Splash Mountain project was not originally approved, due to the cost ($75 million per installation). The Imagineers on the team mounted an internal publicity campaign, taking turns carrying large (4' x 6') artistic drawings of the project around the Imagineering offices and pitching the project (and it's technical details) to anyone who would listen. This grass roots campaign succeeded in educating all of Imagineering, and most of the Disney executives, on the project.
- According to an Imagineer familiar with the project, the original design for the logs included a scooped front nose intended to move the water in front of the log, and to assist in slowing the log down during the final drop. During final testing of the ride, Disney president and CEO Michael Eisner convinced the Imagineers to let him and his son on the ride (over the Imagineers collective objections). The scoop design had the side effect of throwing large amounts of water up in the air and onto the riders, and Eisner and his son came off the ride soaked. Michael commented to the Imagineers "Great ride, but you have to do something about the water". The log design was changed shortly afterwards.
- The alligator band at the end and the singing frogs appear in Bog Easy in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.
- On November 5, 2000, a 37-year-old man from St. Petersburg, Florida was critically injured while trying to exit the ride when it was still moving. He told fellow guests that he was feeling ill and attempted to the ride's marked emergency exits. He died in a local hospital when he got struck by the following vehicle.
- List of current Disneyland attractions
- Magic Kingdom attraction and entertainment history
- Tokyo Disneyland attraction and entertainment history
- Incidents at Disney parks
- Disneyland Park - Splash Mountain
- Walt Disney World Resort - Splash Mountain
- Tokyo Disney Resort - Splash Mountain
- Splash Mountain at the Internet Movie Database
- L.A. Times article about "Flash Mountain"
- The Unofficial Song of the South website: Splash Mountain page
- Walt Disney World Magic
- Disneyland Splash Mountain construction photos