Splash Mountain®, a log flume ride set in Frontierland® in Magic Kingdom®Park, opened up on October 2nd, 1992. The attraction, was created by Imagineer Tony Baxter who knew that something had to be brought into Bear Country® at Disneyland®, which seldom attracted enough guests. The attraction was based off the 1946 Walt Disney film Song of the South that was inspired by the Uncle Remus stories. The E ticket attraction features the animated scenes from the film and follows characters Br’er Rabbit and his adventures as he sets off to leave his home for good. On the way, he will encounter various characters including Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear who try to capture Br’er Rabbit.
At the time, the construction of Splash Mountain was the most expensive attraction Imagineering had built at an astounding $75 million. Due to the very expensive cost, Imagineers realized they could use audio-animantronics from the show America Sings®, which was closing down at the time. The artist that created the characters for America Sings also worked on Song of the South so the modeling of the characters were very similar and the transition from America Sings to Splash Mountain allowed for Imagineers to save a lot of time and money.
Originally, the attraction was going to be called Zip-a-Dee River Run but then CEO Michael Eisner wanted to promote a new movie that Disney was releasing called Splash. The movie was about a mermaid in New York City, and there was no relevance between the attraction and the movie. In the end, Eisner and Imagineers agreed to incorporate the movie title into the attraction title and Splash Mountain was named.
If you are standing outside of the attraction and looking at the mountain, which is called Chick-a-pin Hill, it looks as though the attraction basically consists of one big drop down the hill. What is hidden inside though is a superb story that will play out in front of the guest’s eyes. To me, what makes Splash Mountain so special are the characters and the music that brings the story of Br’er Rabbit alive.
While making your way through the queue and heading deeper into the mountain, the detail put in by Imagineers is evident. Besides the beauty and specifics of the inside of the mountain itself, the Imagineers begin to tell the story by introducing the characters and their lives. Like most attractions at Walt Disney World®, the detail is phenomenal, so make sure to stop, look around and notice many of the hidden treasures. My favorite part of the queue is coming across Br’er Frog’s home and seeing the shadow of him on his rocking chair smoking a pipe.
As the attraction begins, the boats are brought up a small lift and at the top you swing to the right and are given a great view of the Briar Patch and Chick-a-pin Hill. There are so many layers to Splash Mountain it may take more than a few rides to uncover them all. On the face, the attraction seems like a typical log flume ride but the story and detail behind the attraction is really what makes it a classic. Every bit of the mountain inside or out is unbelievable and looks it was carved out with hand tools over a long period of time. There are signs of life all over the place with personal belongings of the characters, gardens that are growing and their homes.
Once the boat has swung around the Briar Patch, the story of Br’er Rabbit really comes to life. Throughout the journey there are a number of smaller drops that are very entertaining and add to the excitement if you are more of a thrill junkie. As Br’er Rabbit takes you along with him on his journey, start to look for some of the more obscure characters such as the turtles being shot up by the water geyser or the vultures prior the final lift warning guests of what lies ahead.
As the journey appears to be reaching its climax with Br’er Rabbit captured and the log boat makes the climb up the final lift, the light at the end of the tunnel is evident. This light leads to the final drop and what I believe is the best view in all of Magic Kingdom. At the top of the hill and just prior to plummeting towards the Briar Patch at the bottom, take a look across Magic Kingdom and a beautiful view of Cinderella Castle®and the surrounding park will be revealed. But look quickly because before you know it you will be heading straight down!
Now that everyone has made it down Chick-a-pin Hill safely and Br’er Rabbit has escaped Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, the celebration of Br’er Rabbits return home ensues. In another awesome scene, all the characters in the story are aboard a showboat singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. At this point in the attraction it feels like a necessity to join in and start singing!
- The name Br’er is a combination of frère and brother. Frère in French means brother so essentially all the characters in the story are brothers.
- If you want a truly unique view of Magic Kingdom, ride at night during one of the fireworks spectacular. The view from the top of the mountain will be amazing!
- Since Song of the South takes place in the Deep South, Chick-a-pin Hill should really be a deep clay-red color but Imagineers wanted Big Thunder Mountain to blend in with Splash Mountain and the color we have today is the result.
Splash Mountain is an all time classic at Walt Disney World. I want to hear your feedback of what your favorite detail is, character, scene or anything about the attraction! So comment below and keep the conversation going.
(Photos c/o Disney®)
Alex Larson is currently a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, he has loved Disney since he was born. Making annual trips to Walt Disney World since the age of three, the parks have become a very special place to him. His love for the parks is due to the memories he has had, attractions, the endless things to explore, the food and the sense of happiness every Disney fan feels while there.