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2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

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Published: February 2, 2010 at 6:10 PM

If you've ever noticed the logo we have up there on the upper left corner of the Theme Park Insider website, you might guess that we have some log flume fans around here. So, it's with an extra helping of enthusiasm that we finally welcome a log flume ride to the daily "Best Attraction" spotlight. Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom joins the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament as the eighth seed in the Best Themed Ride bracket.

Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

We're giving the nod to the Walt Disney World version, though we should note that the Disneyland version scores only a fraction behind with Theme Park Insider readers. On the original Disneyland version, you have the more traditional single-file log boats, while at Disney World, you ride in two-person rows. Log flume purists might like the Disneyland design, but the Disney World Splash Mountain tends to put through many more visitors per hour, keeping average wait times shorter. (The Disney World version offers a better visual at the top of the drop, too, with Cinderella's Castle and Space Mountain in view.)

Disney World's Splash Mountain opened in July 1992, three years after the Disneyland original. You also can find Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland.

Splash Mountain provided new life to the songs and Joel Chandler Harris "Uncle Remus" characters of Disney's "Song of the South." I don't want to get side-tracked into the running controversy over "Song of the South" except to note that Disney now treats the film, criticized for racial stereotyping, the same way George Lucas does his "Star Wars Christmas Special." In other words, don't look for it on Disney Blu-Ray ever in your lifetime.

But in Splash Mountain, the characters and Academy-Award winning music for the film can continue to entertain new generations of fans... while also leaving many of them soaking wet. You're following Br'er Rabbit on the way to your "laughing place," when Br'er Fox traps him. Br'er Rabbit "outfoxes" the fox by pleading with him not to throw him into the Briar Patch, which, of course, the Fox does, sending you along with Br'er Rabbit, down a 50-foot waterfall.

Of course, the Briar Patch is Br'er Rabbit's home, so, having safely escaped, everyone's treated to a rousing finale of Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah.

Okay, I can hear the Knott's Berry Farm fans grumbling that Splash Mountain's a rip-off of Knott's 1969 Log Ride, which includes much the same exterior look as well as the final waterfall down the mountain. But the music and narrative make the ride here - elevating Splash Mountain among the elite theme park attractions.

Let's hear your thoughts about Splash Mountain, in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on February 2, 2010 at 6:20 PM
One of the longest and best rides at WDW! Great story, great animatronics and thrilling!
From Rob Chandler on February 2, 2010 at 6:45 PM
good good eride and sahould do well in this years competition
From James Rao on February 2, 2010 at 7:14 PM
Perhaps the best all-around flume ride in the nation. Top notch theming and narrative, multiple very fun drops, and great music, all wrapped up in a totally immersive package. A "must do" at the Magic Kingdom.
From 24.253.210.149 on February 2, 2010 at 7:30 PM
An essential part of the triple mountain whammy!!
From Joshua Counsil on February 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM
This ride used to score perfect with me, though it's gotten somewhat dilapidated over the years. Not so much the scenery, but rather the animatronics, seem a little worn. Maybe too much water exposure?

Regardless, it's as good as log flumes get, an 8-Commendable on the scale.

On a side note, I purchased a DVD of Song of the South from France. Despite that I consider myself sensitive to racial issues, the movie seemed pretty harmless. I find it doesn't stereotype African Americans so much as it does southerners, but even so I didn't find it offensive in the slightest.

From Manny Barron on February 2, 2010 at 9:35 PM
Splash Mountain is a great ride. The scenery, music, and drops makes this ride one of the best anywhere. I prefer this version as opposed to Disneyland's because of the two per row seating in these logs.
From Anthony Murphy on February 2, 2010 at 10:19 PM
I think Song of the South will be released sometime in the future. For Christmas, I got the Treasures DVD "Disney on the Front Lines" which is a facanating period at the Walt Disney company in which they made animation to recruit, instruct, and, yes, create propaganda. Some of it is funny, some is scary, and some downright contriversal, but it is a sign of the times when looked in context. The same I think can be said to Song of the South.
From Sylvain Comeau on February 3, 2010 at 12:28 AM
Splash Mountain is a great ride at both resorts. WDW gets the edge because of the longer dark ride portion. I do prefer the steeper and scarier final drop on the Disneyland version, though.
From Brian Emery on February 3, 2010 at 7:13 AM
Great Family attraction.. Nice long ride which is a nice reward after a long wait…

I only wish the final hill was a little steeper..

The colors are fantastic throughout the ride and the roller coaster's quick transformation will catch you by surprise the first few times you ride it..

From Dan Babbitt on February 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM
Great fun ride love the whole theme, decor, drops and all. Wish they would release the movie "Song of the South" though.

So the word around town is that they will be installing lap bars come after next years winter refurb.

From 24.106.126.194 on February 3, 2010 at 3:08 PM
The more I look at it, one of my absolute-least favorite attraction facades...that "mountain" is downright ugly. And the Florida version is by far the worst.

Still, a great ride. I find the WDW version to be far superior on that front. More coherent story. Br'er Frog.

I dig the TDL version alot, too--especially the load area!

From Robert Niles on February 3, 2010 at 4:02 PM
My biggest problem with the ride, at least with the original, Disneyland version, was its placement in Critter Country, a land that Disney Imagineering described at the time as being a critter-filled bayou south of New Orleans - thus explaining its proximity to New Orleans Square. (The quote, which I'm paraphrasing because I no longer have the original was from a piece in the old Disney Magazine that ran at the time. I remember it merely because it was so absurd.)

Now, how many of you have been to Louisiana? Have many have driven south of New Orleans? Seen any mountains there?

I thought so. ;-)

Still, great ride.

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