|Opening date||July 17, 1989|
|Opening date||October 1, 1992|
|Opening date||October 2, 1992|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Drop||52.5 ft (16.0 m)|
|Speed||45 mph (72 km/h)|
10:00 (Tokyo Disneyland)
11:45 (Magic Kingdom)
|Height restriction||40 in (102 cm)|
|Manufacturer||Hopkins Rides (Disneyland)|
|Restraint||Lap bar (Tokyo Disneyland and Magic Kingdom only)|
|Number of drops||3 (Anaheim)|
|Length||2640 feet (Disneyland)|
2800 feet (Tokyo Disneyland)
2600 feet (Magic Kingdom)
|Theme||Song of the South|
|Height restriction at Tokyo Disneyland||35 inches (90 cm)|
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Available
Single rider line available at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland only
Must transfer from wheelchair
Splash Mountain is a log flume at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Magic Kingdom, based on the animated sequences of the 1946 Disney film Song of the South. Although there are variations in the story and features between the three locations, each installation begins with a peaceful outdoor float-through that leads to indoor dark ride segments, with a climactic steep drop into a "briar patch" followed by an indoor finale. The drop is 52.5 feet (16.0 m).
In June 2020, it was announced that the U.S. versions of the ride would be replaced with a theme based on Disney's 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. The new ride, which will be titled Tiana's Bayou Adventure, is scheduled to open at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in late 2024.
The plot behind Splash Mountain is a composite of several Uncle Remus stories. The different versions of Splash Mountain feature similar stories, albeit with small differences. Each ride presents scenes taken from the animated segments of the film Song of the South, telling the story of Br'er Rabbit, the protagonist, a mischievous character who leaves his home in search of adventure. Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear, the antagonists of the story, are determined to catch him, but are repeatedly tricked into letting him free. The sharp-witted Br'er Rabbit avoids a snare trap (as described in "Br'er Rabbit Earns a Dollar a Minute") and uses it to trap Br'er Bear instead. Br'er Rabbit continues on his journey to find his "laughing place". Out of curiosity, his foes follow but only for Br'er Rabbit to lead them into a cavern of bees. Br'er Fox eventually catches Br’er Rabbit in a beehive and threatens to roast him. Br'er Rabbit uses reverse psychology on Br'er Fox, begging the fox not to throw him into the briar patch (as described in "The Tar Baby"). Br'er Fox then throws Br'er Rabbit into the briar patch (represented by the ride's flume drop); Br'er Rabbit escapes uninjured. The other animals rejoice to have Br'er Rabbit back home, while Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear are last seen narrowly escaping the jaws of Br'er Gator.
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 in Disneyland, with the only attraction as the Country Bear Jamboree (which later closed in 2001), plus a souvenir shop, and make use of the Audio-Animatronics from America Sings, which was also poorly attended. It was Dick Nunis who insisted that the Imagineers create a log flume for Disneyland, but the Imagineers were initially unenthusiastic about it, feeling that log flumes were too ordinary a theme park attraction to include in a Disney park. While trying to solve the problems of including a log flume, bringing people into Bear Country and reusing the America Sings characters, Baxter thought of Song of the South.
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 suggestion that the attraction be used to help market the 1984 film Splash. The characters from America Sings were used in many scenes, though all of the main characters were specifically designed for Splash Mountain. Dave Feiten was then brought in to animate and fix story and staging problems. Feiten moved nearly all of the animatronics to new locations, removing 10 animatronic figures from the ride completely, to improve the show.
Plans to build the ride were unveiled in January 1987. At the time of its unveiling, Disney officials stated they would not be expecting criticism for its Song of the South theming due to the ride only including the film's animated animal characters. Construction began at Disneyland in April of that year. By that time, Splash Mountain, whose budget had risen greatly to $75 million, had become one of the most expensive projects created by Walt Disney Imagineering. The entire park cost around $17 million to build in 1955, which translates to around $80 million in 1987. 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 was to close down America Sings and use the characters from that attraction.
Splash Mountain was originally planned to open in January 1989, but this was delayed to mid-February due to technical issues. The ride's opening was delayed again, to mid-July, due to boat problems. Test riders made up of company executives were getting soaked rather than lightly sprayed, so the boats were re-designed to be lighter, hold up to seven passengers instead of eight, and have an underwater scoop to keep too much water from leaking in.
Splash Mountain opened in Disneyland on July 17, 1989. To celebrate the opening, a television special was made called Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain. Actor and comedian Jim Varney returned to play the title role of Ernest in the special. Plans to install a camera that took photos of guests as they went down the final drop were unveiled in November 1990.
On January 14, 1990, Disney announced that Splash Mountain would be brought to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. In 1991, construction began for the attraction at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. On July 17, 1992, soft openings began at the Magic Kingdom. The two versions of Splash Mountain officially opened within a day of each other in October 1992: the Tokyo Disneyland attraction opened on October 1, and the Magic Kingdom attraction opened on October 2.
In the late 1990s, some called the ride "Flash Mountain". Some female riders briefly expose their breasts during the descent, hoping to make illicit use of the in-ride photographs that Disney later sells to ride patrons.
In January 2011, Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom received lap bars for safety reasons. Each row of two to three passengers shares one lap bar. Meanwhile, Tokyo Disneyland received individual lap bars, which makes the height restriction 5 inches shorter than the other two versions.
A version of the attraction was planned for Disneyland Paris, but was scrapped due to budget reasons and the colder weather in Europe.
During the 2018 season, the Magic Kingdom location received a new sponsorship by Ziploc. The company created custom plastic bags to protect belongings for guests who rode the attraction.
In June 2020, it was announced that the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom attractions would be re-themed based on the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. Disney stated that the development of the project began in 2019, prior to the online petitions that were circulated during the George Floyd protests. The New York Times reported that Disney executives had privately discussed removing the attraction's Song of the South theme for at least five years, before putting into development a theme based on The Princess and the Frog. The project will be led by Walt Disney Imagineer Senior Creative Producer Charita Carter with Baxter returning as a creative advisor. A spokeswoman said that there are no plans to redesign the attraction at Tokyo Disneyland, although The Oriental Land Company, which operates Tokyo Disney Resort, is currently engaged in discussions on whether or not to change the attraction. In August 2021, Vice President of Magic Kingdom Melissa Valiquette stated that due to the slow process of redesigning the ride, it was "going to be a little bit of time to reimagine Splash Mountain." During that month, new artwork and details for the retheme were revealed by Disney Parks. In June 2022, Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, mentioned during an interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan that she has been involved with discussions with Disney on what they want the attraction to be like, and that it would open in 2024. Disney, however, did not confirm or refute the opening date and added that the company planned to share more details during the Essence Festival of Culture, which ran from June 30 through July 3, 2022, in New Orleans. The following month, the company announced that the new ride, Tiana's Bayou Adventure, will open at both parks in late 2024.
In March 2022, Tokyo Disney Resort announced that their Splash Mountain would become Splash Mountain "Get Wet MAX" from July 1 to August 31 where guests got more soaked than usual to beat the extremely hot and humid Tokyo summers.
All of the rides feature the same scenes and a nearly identical layout. The story of Splash Mountain "Br'er Rabbit Leaves Home" is told in the dark ride segment on the meandering river. The flume converts to a roller coaster-style track in complete darkness to transition to "The Laughing Place" caverns. After Br'er Rabbit is captured, the logs ascend up the attraction's predominant hill into the "Tar-Baby" segment (although in the attraction the tar baby is replaced with a hive of bees). Br'er Rabbit, now captured by Br'er Fox, tricks the villain into throwing him into the briar patch; the drop itself mimics Br'er Rabbit's fall. The log descends a fifty-six-foot drop into a briar patch before continuing back into the mountain, where numerous audio-animatronic animals sing a chorus of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."
Guests enter the queue in front the main drop viewing area. The queue winds past the Critter Country sign into the main entrance where a number of machines with cogs and gears dominate. Various thoughts and sayings from Uncle Remus are featured on signs throughout the queue, which winds around a barn structure and reaches the loading area.
Passengers ride aboard six-to-seven-seater logs with six single-file seats. The last seat in each log is larger and allows room for larger guests or an adult and a small child, overall increasing the capacity to be seven in each log. 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 three main characters and aged farm equipment are incorporated into the landscape, along with an instrumental version of "How Do You Do?" emanating from hidden speakers along the waterway.
Before the logs enter the indoor portion, snoring is heard emanating from Br'er 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 opossums sing the attraction's first musical number, "How Do You Do?". After rounding a corner, riders see Br'er Bear caught in a trap while Br'er Fox berates him and tells him "We gotta catch that Br'er Rabbit!". Br'er Rabbit, seen outside his Briar Patch, tells Br'er Turtle that he is leaving home in search of adventure, and is heading for his Laughin' Place. Br'er Bear follows him only for the "Laughin' Place" to actually be a trick, and Br'er Bear winds up being attacked by bees as Br'er Rabbit laughs at the sight. Riders progress through the surreal Rainbow Caverns, where characters sing "Everybody's Got a Laughin' Place".
Br'er Fox then manages to trap Br'er Rabbit in a beehive. The mood turns ominous as two mother characters (an opossum and rabbit) sing the "Burrow's Lament." At the base of the final lift hill, two vultures bear ominous warnings for the riders. The logs begin the final ascent and shortly before the attraction's climactic drop, Br'er Rabbit is seen alongside the hill, about to be eaten by Br'er Fox, but Br'er Rabbit outsmarts Br'er Fox and Br'er 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. An on-ride 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 Br'er Rabbit (reclined happily at home) and the antagonists (fending off a hungry Br'er Gator) are seen. As the log passes through the Doo-Dah Landing room, a series of glass windows can be seen near the ceiling, behind which is a tunnel used by the Disneyland Railroad track.
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 as he remarks on their expressions. After disembarking from the log, riders enter a "dark room," where they preview their on-ride photograph before exiting back out into Critter Country.
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 different orders. 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 ascent. Another difference from the Florida version is that the Slippin' Falls drop takes place in a dark cave, making the final drop the only outdoor one. The Tokyo version does not have an extra drop after the biggest drop while the Florida version does.
Without a Critter Country in Walt Disney World, Splash Mountain is instead located in Frontierland, across the way from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Construction of Splash Mountain necessitated the demolition of the existing railroad station and temporarily turning the railroad into a shuttle between Main Street, U.S.A. and Mickey's Toontown Fair.
Riders board eight-passenger logs, seated two by two unlike Disneyland where they seat one by one. 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 a dual-chain lift that deposits riders in a small pond at the bottom of the big drop. After a right turn, logs enter the barn and climb another lift to the space behind the visible mountain, before floating gently through scenery designed to evoke the feeling of a river in the Southern United States, particularly Georgia, where Song of the South was based. The homes of the three main characters, aged farm equipment, stagecoach wagons, and ale barrels are incorporated into the landscape, along with a country instrumental version of "How Do You Do?" emanating from hidden speakers along the waterway. After passing Br'er Bear's cave, the logs descend down the Slippin' Falls drop and cross back under the flume. The logs then enter the show building containing the indoor portion of the attraction, where various Audio-Animatronic animals including 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.
Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear see Br'er Rabbit telling Mr. Bluebird that he is going to his Laughing Place. Br'er Porcupine warns him of the danger ahead, but Br'er Rabbit continues on. "Everybody's Got a Laughing Place" begins to play after Br'er Bear springs Br'er Fox's rabbit trap. The logs continue onward past a roadrunner who asks to be taken along to the Laughin' Place, while opossums sing the song from overhead. The logs reach a dark tunnel followed by a "dip-drop" into the Laughin' Place. Bees attack Br'er Bear while Br'er Rabbit laughs with joy, unaware that Br'er Fox is behind him, preparing to drop a beehive on top of him. The logs then go over another short drop, and head further into the cavern scenes. There, geyser-riding turtles and laughing, singing bullfrogs, 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 (this time wearing top hats) taunt riders as they begin their ascent up the final lift. A scene to the left side of the flume shows Br'er Fox menacing Br'er Rabbit, with Bre'r Rabbit pleading not to be thrown into the briar patch.
At the top of this third lift hill, the log descends the 50-foot (15 m) drop at a 45-degree angle, reaching a maximum speed of 40 mph, into a tunnel underneath the Frontierland walkway. After another outdoor flume segment, the log coasts back into 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 Br'er Gator. At the end, Br'er Rabbit sings with Mr. Bluebird, telling him that he learned his lesson.
After exiting the log, riders can tap their cards or MagicBands to save their ride photo.
Splash Mountain at Disneyland features music in a jazzy "big band" meets orchestral style, fitting the attraction's proximity to New Orleans Square.
In addition, several other songs from Song of the South are heard as instrumental tracks, playing on a loop near the attraction and in the queuing area. These include "That's What Uncle Remus Said", "Sooner or Later", "All I Want", "Who Wants to Live Like That", and "Let the Rain Pour Down." The loop only features songs from the film and lasts about 25 minutes.
Animators took over 80 hours to synchronize each figure. To re-wire and test each figure took an additional three months before the attraction could open, as programmers were tasked with reprogramming the figures from their previous America Sings performances with a decent level of realism in accordance with the new settings. Each character can carry out 45 seconds of movement and dialogue before a loop function restarts the sequence from the beginning.
Like in Florida, the main melodies consist of banjos, fiddles and harmonicas. The vocals, however, are completely different from the Magic Kingdom attraction, with the specific verses sung within the show scenes arranged in different orders and the choruses and back-up vocals arranged with different harmonies. Additionally, dialogue and lyrics in Tokyo are Japanese for "How Do You Do?" and "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah", but English for "Ev'rybody's Got a Laughin' Place". In both instances, "Burrow's Lament" is heard as an instrumental track with timpani drums (a take that was originally recorded for Disneyland, but never used), with dramatic orchestra and choir.
The ride features the same songs heard at the Disneyland attraction, which are variations of the three songs found in the animated segments from Song of the South, though the attraction does not present these songs in the same order as the film. Because of the ride's location in Frontierland, the soundtrack features a country feel, with banjos and harmonicas as the primary instruments, and also because of Florida's proximity to Georgia, where Song of the South is set. "Burrow's Lament" is the only exception, using an orchestral track with timpani drums originally recorded for the Disneyland version.
In the order heard in the attraction's ride-through segments:
Songs from the film heard as instrumental tracks in the queuing area include "That's What Uncle Remus Said", "Let the Rain Pour Down", "Sooner or Later", and the opening theme from the film. Traditional songs like "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and "Goober Peas" are also played in a bluegrass style. The loop lasts about an hour, and includes different orchestrations of the three main songs heard in the ride as well.
Despite being released on CDs attributed to the Magic Kingdom or Walt Disney World in general, as well as often bearing specific track attribution (such as "from Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain"), the country-western style soundtrack actually found at the Florida and Tokyo parks has at least managed to surface on the 2003 Walt Disney World CD entitled "The Official Album/Where Magic Lives". Banjos are heard for over halfway through the 7:57 length, as well as at the end. It is a very different musical arrangement when compared to many other "Walt Disney World", "Disneyland", or combination "Walt Disney World/Disneyland" CDs labeled as "The Official Album". The Disneyland ride does not incorporate this particular country-western-themed soundtrack. Fan-credited versions of the country-western version from the Magic Kingdom have also surfaced as MP3 downloads online. Tokyo Disneyland versions have surfaced also, but have been harder to locate.
|The Official Album of Disneyland and Walt Disney World (1991 CD)||
|Disneyland/Walt Disney World: The Official Album (1997 CD)||
|Walt Disney World Resort: The Official Album (1999 CD)||"Ev'rybody Has a Laughing Place"|
|Walt Disney World Resort: Official Album (2000 CD)||Medley attributed to Magic Kingdom||7:00|
|Official Album: Walt Disney World Resort Celebrating 100 Years of Magic (2001 CD)||Medley attributed to Magic Kingdom||8:00|
|Disneyland Park: The Official Album (2001 CD)||Medley||8:00|
|"The Official Album/Where Magic Lives": Walt Disney World (2003)||Country-western medley featuring banjos||7:57|
|A Musical History of Disneyland (2005)||Medley||12:00|
|Disney's Happiest Celebration on Earth (2005)||Medley featuring:
|Walt Disney World's Four Parks One World Album (2008)||
|Disneyland Resort Official Album (2008)||Medley, same as previous, but also includes "bee buzz" non-vocal rendition of:
|Disney Classics (2013)||Same medley attributed to the 2008 Disneyland album.||10:35|
|The Legacy Collection: Disneyland (2015)||Medley, same as previous, but does not include: