Update: Disneyland CM writes in to say that the new height restriction applies to the front seat. The old restriction remains for other seats. (Also now mentioned in comments.)
Disneyland's been having problems with Splash Mountain ever since it changed out the logs during a previous rehab. All other Splash Mountains have a two-by-two seating arrangement, with relatively low height requirements. Disneyland's Splash Mountain, which was the original version of the ride, was built with a narrower flume and a traditional single-file log. That meant really lousy ride capacity (since you could get only half as many people in a typical ride unit, compared with the Orlando version).
Trouble is, you can't just slap a wider log on to the ride without pretty much rebuilding the whole thing. So Disney tried a new seating arrangement, with two seats in the back row and individual seating wells for all other rows, as opposed to the benches it had before. But parents can control their kids easier when they are sitting between your legs on a log flume bench. It's hard to have any control over them when they are in a separate seating well. That's led to multiple guest complains and cast members having to deal with squirrelly kids sliding around in their seats.
But five feet? At that point, one wonders if Disney wouldn't get fewer complains by either (a) going back to the old, low-capacity logs or (b) closing the darn thing for six months to rip out the ride flume, widen it and install the Disney World/Tokyo Disneyland-style logs.
Swap it out for an age requirement, not a height requirement.
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