Every Themepark needs a good Log Flume and Disneyland’s version is Splash Mountain a 3-drop, themed, log flume ride. Original Disneys Imagineers thought a log flume too plain and ordinary for Disneyland so they had to come up with something special. What they created was certainly special but 30+ years on is it still special enough and is it still relevant today? We take a ride on Splash mountain to find out if the ride can still cut it today in our Splash Mountain Review – Disneyland California.
- Location – Disneyland Park – Critter County
- Type – Water Ride – Log Flume
- Duration – 9Mins +
- Height Restriction – 40 In
- Average Queue time – 5mins – 120Mins
- Genie+ – YES
- Single Rider – YES
- Additional Info – You will get WET!
What is Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain is your typical log flume water ride. These timeless tides are the Stalwart of any good theme park and are popular with riders of all ages. Rollercoaster nerds, kids, adults and even people not usually into thrill rides all seem to love a good log flume! The pleasant boat ride interrupted by a few drops, and the risk of getting a soaking, all add up to a fun ride.
The Disneyland version is well a bit odd. It’s based on the obscure Disney Film “Song of the South” which, we have to be honest, we have never seen. But this 1946 film lends some odd moments to the Ride. The Retro feel of the ride makes it seem a lot older than it is. It is a good Flume however and the final drop is a corker! There is always something to look at with a long interior section that is a quirky dark ride, with a few surprises leading to the final drop.
Note – Disney is in the process of updating this to a more modern theme, namely Princess and the Frog. This has caused some to loos their minds over Disney trying to be more PC, but really this theming of this ride was just weird. They do need to keep the Zip -a-Dee-Doo-Dah theme in there somehow though.
You will get wet, which means queues are very temperamental. Early on this can be dead, but as the day wears on people are more willing to risk a soaking, especially on warm days, when queues can become astronomical.
The Regular queue line is quite interesting you wind your way around the large barn area with views of the impressive final drop. There is quite a bit of detail and time passes quite well for a long queue. However, the music eventually becomes a little infuriating and the extended queue line is less exciting so when the queue is long this ride is definitely One for Genie+.
There is a Single rider Line, but the slow nature of the first part of the ride and the heavy theming means this is best enjoyed as a group or couple. However, it works well if your ride companion just doesn’t fancy getting wet today, you can still jump on splash while they watch from the dry river back!
The Ride is a long one, however, most of the ride is a slow boat ride, there are 3 drops in total, a short warm-up drop, a dark drop, and the final large plunge. The Ride cars are loosely log-shaped and can take up to three people, all getting progressively dryer the further back you sit. The ride starts off with a couple of pretty rough lift hills followed by a gentle sail around the outside of the mountain This is all very pleasant with some twee music and a rustic rural feel to the river passage.
The first drop is pretty tame and only leads to minor dousing, as you enter the indoor dark ride section of the ride. It’s quite hard to really grasp what the heck is going on in here, there are some very odd animals all having a happy sing-along, which is enough to freak us out, there is some kind of story going on about a bear and a rabbit but it’s all pretty illogical, it seems the rabbit keeps tricking the bear and getting it trapped and is plotting revenge. Partway through is the Dark drop.
This is actually a pretty small drop but the near-complete darkness makes this hard to determine and the splashdown is a big one. Lots of water in the ride vehicle and wet bums from here on.
Finally, the rabbit seems to get its comeuppance as he gets stuck in some beehives as the ride goes ominous, the music becomes much more haunting and then the final lift hill comes into view. Noticeably bigger than anything up until now it’s clear the finale will be big! As we near the top the fate of our little bunny friend is not looking good as he appears tied to a stake in a Foxes lair as he prepares for his lunch!
Our fate appears even worse as you crest the hill and stare down into the abyss of the Brer’s Thorn patch. The plunge is long steep and fast and there are no restraints in the ride vehicle making for an exhilarating drop. The Splash is very heavy and front-seat passengers are suddenly not so smug anymore. The Real soaking comes from the Wave however and heavy loads are partially submerged causing a lot of lower body drenching. Making the ride far less popular in winter!
From here we head into the Finale, another dark ride segment featuring an impressive animatronic display with Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah playing and revealing the fate of the characters with the Fox and Bear having fun with a big Gator and the Rabbit having slipped the noose and relaxing at home. To be honest we kind of wanted the rabbit to end up in the pot!
Princess and the Frog Re-Theme
The Film, Songs Of The South, on which the ride was based has come in for some pretty savage criticism of late and depicts a pretty inaccurate portrayal of life in the Slave Era American South. Happy, Smiling, and Singing slaves were not really a feature of this abhorrent period of human history.
While the ride portrays none of these tropes, and in fact just a weird story of rabbits almost getting eaten. Disney has decided to ditch the Theme and install a new concept entirely, based on the 2009 animated film princess and the frog.
There was a lot of backlash to this news with fans bemoaning the loss of the original theme and little enthusiasm for one of Disney’s less popular franchises, along with the usual cultural war basically criticizing Disney for wokeism.
We couldn’t care less if Disney wants to be more culturally appropriate, we don’t think that ever hurts by itself as long as improvements ARE improvements. We do agree the Princess and the Frog is not our favorite Disney production, but also some Disney fans love the film, so overall we are in favor of the update.
But adding to that, we have no love for the current theme at all. The whole ride makes little sense and is quite frankly garbage. It alludes to an outdated and pretty obscure film that no one really remembers or cares about. In fact, if it was not for the (justified) criticism of Songs Of The South it would have faded into obscurity. We know some will argue against this but we think they are deluding themselves. When was the last time ANYONE sat down and watched this film?
As such we are just excited to see a beloved ride get an up-to-date makeover and highlight an underused franchise. We really can’t think of a better ride to whip up to date than splash mountain.
We get Disney Nostalgia. There are some rides that messing with is tantamount to Blasphemy, try and re-theme Dumbo or peter pan and We will storm the parks and lie in front of the bulldozers. But we just never had any love for the Splash Mountian theme, and mostly sit there thinking WTF!
The Ride we love, and the retheme will not impact this, but it will take out the weird and bizarre elements that unlikely made sense decades ago and definitely don’t now…But we do hope, somehow, they can shoe-horn in the old theme song…some things we can’t let go of!
The Flume is certainly a good one, the Dark Drop and the Finale Drop are both really fun exciting ride elements, and the theming while obscure and very odd is great fun, if a little freaky at times. It really is one of Disney’s best thrill rides and seems to combine that Disney magic with a real thrill. The Queues on hot days can really make it a Genie+ only ride, we couldn’t queue for more than an hour or so, but with a Genie+ Reservation, it’s a walk-on.
Certainly, consider carefully if you want to ride on cold days or early in the day. There is a good chance you will get very soggy and mainly around your lower half as waterfloods into the boat, if you don’t dry out quickly it can make the day a little uncomfortable. It’s no fun walking around the park in wet pants! We can assure you from bitter experience!
Have Your Say
Have you been on Splash Mountian? What do you think? Did you find the dark segments as weird as us, did you scream like a little girl on the drops (Like Me)? Did you get soaked or just a little soggy? Let us know in the comments below, we love hearing about your ride experiences.
And please, we know it’s a hot topic so we would love to hear your thoughts on the Princess and the Frog Re-Theme!