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A Tribute to Disneyland's Splash Mountain


Photo of Disneyland's Splash Mountain

Disneyland's iconic Splash Mountain, is set to close on May 31st and be replaced with a new attraction based on Disney's 2009 movie The Princess and the Frog. This news has caused many Disney fans to reflect on the history of this beloved ride and all of its unique features that have enchanted millions of visitors for decades.

Splash Mountain first opened in 1989 at Disneyland and was later added to Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It was designed by Imagineer Tony Baxter, who wanted to create a thrilling adventure through the world of Uncle Remus' stories from Song of the South. Guests would board their log-shaped boats and embark on a journey through Brer Rabbit's world, experiencing his daring escape from Brer Fox and Brer Bear while singing along to classic songs like "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah".

Photo from Disney Film Song Of The South

Disneyland Splash Mountain that has been a beloved attraction among Disney fans since its opening in 1989. It was inspired by the 1946 movie "Song of the South" and featured over 100 mesmerizing audio-animatronics recreating beloved characters from the movie such as Brer Rabbit, Br'er Fox, Br'er Bear, Br'er Frog, and even animatronics from a bygone Disneyland show "America Sings".

In 1992, Splash Mountain underwent a major refurbishment that improved the ride's experience with new audio-animatronics and enhanced special effects. In 2006, another refurbishment added new scenes to the ride and improved its sound system.

Riders were charmed by the breathtaking views of Disneyland while making their way down the five-story drop that felt like a plunge into a briar patch filled with excitement. The vibrant colors, catchy music, and unforgettable characters made it one of the most beloved attractions at Disneyland.

Unfortunately, after 33 years of bringing joy to generations of families who visited the park, Splash Mountain will be closing on May 31st 2023 for an extensive reimaging into Princess & The Frog themed attraction.

Why remove Splash Mountain?

The move comes as part of a larger effort by Disney to create more culturally inclusive attractions and experiences in their parks. The new ride, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, is inspired by 2009’s Princess and the Frog and will open in late 2024 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The decision to close Splash Mountain has been met with both praise and major criticism from the public. Supporters of the closure argue that it was necessary for Disney to take a stand against racism and recognize that Song of the South perpetuates harmful stereotypes about African Americans. Critics argue that Disney should have kept the ride open while also creating a new attraction that could celebrate Black culture and history.

The closure of Splash Mountain is significant not only for The Walt Disney Company and Disney Parks but for the theme park industry as a whole. It demonstrates that companies are willing to make changes in order to create more inclusive experiences for their guests. This could lead to other theme parks rethinking their own attractions and making similar changes in order to stay competitive in this rapidly changing market. It also serves as an example of how entertainment companies can use their influence to promote social change and combat racism within our society.

Although we may only get a few more chances to experience Splash Mountain in person again, we can still relive those memories through videos online or by visiting Tiana’s Bayou Adventure when it opens later next year. This new attraction will feature similar elements from Splash Mountain while introducing some exciting new experiences inspired by The Princess and The Frog movie.

As we say goodbye to one classic attraction and welcome another one into our hearts, let us take a moment to remember all of the wonderful memories we had at Splash Mountain over the years. It may be gone now but it's legacy will live on forever!

Thank You Splash Mountain.

Photo Credit: DisneyFan-01 on deviantart.com

So Long, Brer Rabbit. You will be missed. But don't worry, Tiana will take care of everything for you.

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