Dear Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear, and all of the other critters of Splash Mountain,
Well, y’all, it has truly been a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah time. But it is time to be moving along. Like all good things, our fun in The Laughin’ Place has come to an end, and I wanted to take a moment today to say thank you for the thrills, the laughs, and the memories.
For the past 30 years, you all maintained an iconic piece of Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland Park, which fans of all ages could enjoy. We laughed, screamed, sang along, and took arguably the most iconic ride photo in the entire Theme Park industry, coasting along a magical equilibrium of the most feel-good songs in a Disney Park and the scariest drop.
As recent righteousness took hold and vilified its legacy through hindsight’s 20/20 vision, there are still some fans who look back and see your log-flume attraction as what it was: a great ride that was as separated from the controversy-sparking source material as it could be, and the ride remains a topic of debate.
Growing up, I don’t remember being concerned about the “racist” elements. I was concerned about the intimidating drop. I did not ride Splash Mountain until I was in middle school because, well, I was just plain chicken. But as I grew up, I conquered my fears, and I fell in love with your ride. Plus, there was no better way to cool off during the hot Florida summers than by dropping in and getting soaked.
Created by a team led by Walt Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, Splash Mountain is–or was–an iconic log-flume ride with the biggest drop and one of the most iconic landmarks, arguably at any Disney Park. No matter what the haters may say, it was still the largest log-flume ride made with one of the most picturesque drops ever created. It told a great story about a rabbit who was a little too ambitious for his own good and nearly got himself eaten by a mean ol’ fox and dumb bear. We watch him use his quick wit to get out of trouble, and along the way, we discover The Laughin’ Place.
But you were more than just a ride. Splash Mountain and its controversy-sparking movie inspiration, Song of the South, also gave Disney fans one of its most beloved and catchiest anthems, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” a song that you cannot sing without a smile perking up your face. It was a song that described a joyfully blissful state of being.
Alas, those days are gone. We will get a new log flume ride now with a modern story And Disney’s Princess and the Frog is a great movie with great ride potential.
It is the malice in which it is being removed that bugs me the most. Walt Disney himself said Disneyland will never be completed and will constantly be changing. Out with the old and in with the new is an unfortunate fact of life. But the idea that folks wanted an antagonizing purge of it because of something they misinterpreted is what is so disheartening.
Disney Parks is reportedly promising that we will be able to “Dig a Little Deeper” with Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, and the jazz-loving alligator Louis in the latter part of 2024 on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. But before we switch gears, we wanted to take a moment to stop and share out appreciation for all of the smiles and memories that you gave us these last few decades.
So as we take our last ride down Chik-a-pin Hill, all we can say is thank you. Thank you, Splash Mountain, for all of the fun and all of the magic. We will never forget you.
A Grateful Fan.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.