Splash Mountain wraps its last day at Disneyland

May 30, 2023, 10:50 PM · It's lights out for Splash Mountain, which had its last day of operation today at Disneyland.

The "Song of the South"-themed flume ride opened at Disneyland in July 1989 to immediate acclaim. So let these be the lessons of Splash Mountain:

Splash Mountain brought all three to the table, helping a generation of Disney Parks fall in love, with the attraction later opening at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. But not even the combination of three great elements could overcome the fact that Splash Mountain was based on an IP so toxic that Disney refused to release it.

Ultimately, Splash Mountain did not redeem the animated characters and music of "Song of the South." Instead, "Song of the South" doomed everything that Disney got right on Splash Mountain.

Fortunately, Disney made the right call to close Splash Mountain (at least in the United States) and proceed with a replacement that will bring together the same flume ride, Audio Animatronics, and music... but this time, with a non-toxic IP, "The Princess and the Frog."

Stayed tuned in the days to come for more details about that replacement, "Tiana's Bayou Adventure," which will open at Disney World and Disneyland next year.

In the meantime, Splash Mountain will live indefinitely at Tokyo Disneyland and in on-ride videos on the Internet.

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Replies (13)

May 30, 2023 at 11:04 PM

Glad I got on it during March Disneyland trip, still a delight.

May 30, 2023 at 11:37 PM

My last ride on Splash Mountain was on a chilly february night with the fireworks booming over the castle. One of the true classics and true giver of "I'm in Disneyland/World" vibes once you go into the first scene. Tiana's I'm sure will be awesome but man, the music on Splash Mountain was a mood!

May 31, 2023 at 8:13 AM

I totally agree with all three lessons learned from Splash Mountain.

May 31, 2023 at 11:03 AM

The ride has been in sorry, sorry shape for years, so I'm not too sad to see it go.

Such a shame Disney didn't have the foresight to hire Black artists to reclaim the characters as part of the Black oral storytelling tradition from which they claim. Sure, Joel Chandler Harris and Walt put a racist stamp on the characters, but stripped free from those retellings the characters and their stories are a joy, and pure expression of Black culture that dates back hundreds of years.

Instead, Disney took the only piece of Black storytelling in the park and replaced it with a German fable.

May 31, 2023 at 11:11 AM

Shocked you took one last ride and recorded it. I would think you would want to bury this ride and it’s IP faster than Disney did.

May 31, 2023 at 11:17 AM

@TheColonel I don't usually agree with you, but this is something I've been scratching my head about for a while. I've seen a number of Black twitter users express similar sentiment.

May 31, 2023 at 11:19 AM

Along with the music, I thought Splash Mountain also was the pinnacle of show storytelling. You were given an entire story from beginning, middle, and end of the ride. That is probably what I am going to miss most about this ride.

I understand the issue with the source material (though I think we should all have a much more mature conversation on that), but the ACTUAL ride told a pretty good and inoffensive story.

May 31, 2023 at 11:29 AM

@thecolonel, they did use black artists for Splash Mountain (and Song of the South). James Avery (aka Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince) was a few voices on the ride. There were quite a few black artists in the original film too!

That's why I think its a bit lazy to just label it "racist" and move on. Sure, that is a much easier and safer position for people to take.

1946 was an absolutely terrible year to be black in the United States. Walt Disney thought he was helping by bringing much more diverse casts to his screen and animated background. The irony is that this movie was seen "woke" by the bigots and racists of the 40s. Also, James Baskett (Uncle Remus) was a pioneer in black representation in Hollywood and from all accounts was treated extremely well by Disney. I am NOT saying that this movie doesn't have problems (its still the 40s and Disney did fail while helping), but its more than just garbage that needs to be forgotten.

Iger hinted on why it was taken out in his book. Simply put, you can't market Splash Mountain like you can other IP. His business plan is to market an entity in movies, TV, theme parks, and merchandise. Splash Mountain only had 2 or the 4. Tiana has all four.

I will agree with those animatronics looked pretty shabby for the past decade. I wonder if Disney will learn from that lesson. Hopefully the right lesson.

May 31, 2023 at 12:32 PM

It's rather sad that , even in these enlightened times , we're having to discuss politics and history in regard to an entertainment vehicle at Disney of all places.
I would hope that there was no intent to foster any racist agenda when they built Splash Mountain and I would argue that , without having our attention drawn to it , we would all have just perceived it to be a joyous ride.
On close examination I think that , rather than being a negative commentary on the awful history of it's setting, it actually promoted the wonderful relationship between Uncle Remus and the children. It showed, through his stories and fables, that we can all get along. Maybe my view is a naive one but I think perhaps the "woke" among us looked for bad when maybe there was good.
So I'm sad to see a ride I loved go but sadder for the reasons behind it.
The future is now with it's new theming and I hope that nobody looks for the bad in that now or in the future.

May 31, 2023 at 1:20 PM

Only 3 short years and the boring reskin will be almost ready !

May 31, 2023 at 4:57 PM

It's pointless to argue against it at this point, so all I'm going to say is that I hope those that are championing the replacement are satisfied with the end product. In my opinion, Splash Mountain was a nearly perfect attraction aside from an unfortunate IP connection, and I just don't have confidence in Disney to deliver something on that level in this day and age. Perhaps I'll be wrong and Tiana's Bayou Adventure will be the best ride at the resort, but if it ends up being a disappointment, I better not hear the phrase "bring back Splash Mountain" from anyone currently in favor of the change.

May 31, 2023 at 10:57 PM

I’m glad that I was able to ride both the DL and WDW iterations of this ride. The differences were subtle but many. Alas, sleep forever in the scrap heap of Lost Attractions Ol’ Splashy. Splash Mountain is dead, long live Frog Mountain!

I also wonder if Splash will live on in perpetuity in Tokyo or if it too will eventually get the Brer Pink Slip…

June 1, 2023 at 9:50 AM

OLC has no interest in removing Splash - the film is not only in the public domain in Japan (thanks to Disney refusing to release it themselves for quite a few years), but both the film and the ride remain extremely popular.

Has Disney tried? Yes. Has OLC told them to, what I'm going to say in polite language, "pound sand"? Absolutely!

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