Disney Fans Escape Sunk Log on Splash Mountain

August 3, 2020, 12:05 PM · Disney fans blew up social media overnight by retweeting a video snippet of a log sinking on the Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain.

The symbolism made this unfortunate incident all the more resonant, as Disney has announced that it will abandon the Splash Mountain theme in order to transform the popular flume ride with a troubled history to a The Princess and the Frog theme at some point in the (presumably) near future.

But for now, it's just one log that has gone off to its not-so-happy-place.

The hard truth here is that Disney ride vehicles sinking is not an uncommon occurrence. If you've been around the site for a while, or you have read my book, Stories from a Theme Park Insider, you might remember my story about driving a sinking Tom Sawyer Island raft. Many cast members who have worked watercraft at Disney have heard the story that has third/fourth/whatever largest navy in the world. Ignoring the technicality that a "navy" is inherently military, Disney certainly launches an immense fleet of floating vehicles every day. Even if the chances of any one of them failing is tiny, the large number of boats that Disney owns make the odds not insignificant that one of those might sink in any given period.

Yesterday was a Splash Mountain log's turn.

That said, I don't think that anyone ought to visit Disney with the fear of ending up on a sinking vessel. The water on flume rides such as Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It's a Small World is maybe waist deep and you're almost always within a step of dry "land." On actual rafts, boats, and ships in Disney's fleet, cast members are trained to get you to safety, as well. And while the odds might say it's possible that a sinking will happen to someone, the odds are infinitesimal that it will happen to you.

By all accounts, everyone got out safely yesterday, and Splash Mountain reopened this morning after a delayed opening. Yes, they have spare logs.

Replies (7)

August 3, 2020 at 12:09 PM

My oh my what a wonderful day!

August 3, 2020 at 12:50 PM

"Everybody has a sinking place, a sinking place, to go howearble-warble (bubbles froth up as singer sinks underwater)..."

to use one of Robert's phrases, I'll see myself out thanks

August 3, 2020 at 1:50 PM

My question, Robert, is how you treat the argument between "guest gets out of log on their own out of fear for their safety" and the cast member saying "this is a safety matter?" You have WAY more attraction experience than I do (I'm a former cast member, but the only attractions things I did were to act as guest control for the then-new Indiana Jones Adventure, and to help hand out "any attraction" FastPasses after a Pirates of the Caribbean breakdown in which the evacuating guests were blocking my way to a freight elevator I needed to use, so since I figured I was stuck for a bit I asked an old boss who WAS now Attractions if I could help in any way, and I got to hand out the FastPasses as well).

Where does an attractions cast member draw the line between "they were escaping a sinking log" and "but this ride is full of industrial equipment covered in fake fur and smiles, but it could still kill them if they step wrongly?"

I get why the guest is upset, but I think I can see it from the cast member's POV as well.

August 3, 2020 at 3:06 PM

I do remember Disneyland trip in 1990 when Pirates broke down so they had to push our boat to the nearest landing area so we could exit.

August 3, 2020 at 7:21 PM

What I don't get is how the guests were able to get out in the first place. The lap restraints on the logs should have restrained them.

August 3, 2020 at 7:59 PM

I don’t believe there are lap restraints on that ride if I’m not mistaken? Someone correct me please if I’m wrong it’s been a while

August 3, 2020 at 9:50 PM

FL version has lap bars.

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