Top 10 Interesting Facts About Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain may be one of the most popular and beloved attractions in the history of Disney Parks, however, there are a lot of historical facts and hidden details about the ride that the average guest or even some fans probably aren't aware of. So without further ado, here are some interesting facts you might not have known about Disney's famous flume ride.
The Top Ten
1 The idea of Splash Mountain was conceived during a traffic jam

One day in 1983, Imagineer Tony Baxter was driving to work and got stuck in rush-hour traffic. At the time, there were thoughts about what to do with the often empty Bear Country area, as well as what to do with all the animatronics from a show called "America Sings," which was receiving poor attendance. There was also the issue of fitting a log flume into Disneyland park.

Taking all these things into consideration, Tony Baxter thought about Song of the South and the lively characters of Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, and Br'er Bear. There was concern that adding a log flume was "beneath" Disney, as it was something that could be found at any regular amusement park. However, a decision was made that this log flume would be different and stand out due to the strength of its story. This was not the first major feat for Baxter, as he is also responsible for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Star Tours, but it was a pretty big feat nonetheless.

2 The ride was originally going to be called "Zip-a-Dee River Run"

When the idea for the ride was first conceived back in 1983, this was the planned name. However, in 1984, though the ride was going to be based on the animated segments of Song of the South, CEO Michael Eisner suggested changing the name to Splash Mountain to promote the film "Splash." He also suggested putting a mermaid somewhere in the ride, which was, of course, rejected.

However, the new name he came up with stuck, and aren't we all glad it did? There was also a thought that "Zip-a-Dee River Run" wouldn't sound appealing to teenagers, and considering there was already Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, I think everyone can agree that Splash Mountain was the best name choice.

3 Splash Mountain is made almost entirely out of concrete

That's right, outside of the greenery, animatronics, showboat prop, and a few other things, this "mountain" largely consists of rebar, wire mesh, and concrete. It was constructed using a sophisticated computer system that involved plotting points onto a scale model and then using a special machine to bend the rebar into the correct shapes. Once all the rebar and wires were in place, concrete was sprayed on and then eventually painted.

With all the intricate, almost lifelike structures along the ride, it really is quite impressive what paint can do. So really, Splash Mountain is pretty much just a giant concrete sculpture. Perhaps one of the most popular sculptures too.

4 Splash's flume holds up to approximately 950,000 gallons of water, all of which can be completely drained within just 5 minutes

Of course, a ride named "Splash Mountain" is going to need a ton of water, right? As it turns out, about 950,000 gallons of water fill up the half-mile of flume. Behind the mountain is a large water reservoir that holds around 1,000,000 gallons of water. Speaking of which, the water on Splash Mountain (and Pirates of the Caribbean, for that matter) is treated with bromine, not chlorine, which gives it that interesting smell.

Though it may seem hard to believe, it only takes around 5 minutes to drain the 950,000 gallons of water, and it can be refilled within just 10 minutes or so. Quite impressive if you ask me.

5 Most of the animatronics in the Disneyland version of the ride are reused from an old attraction called "America Sings"

Around the time Splash Mountain was being planned, there was an animatronic show in Tomorrowland called "America Sings," which had been receiving poor attendance. The area where Splash Mountain now sits, known as Critter Country, was called Bear Country at the time. It only had one attraction (Country Bear Jamboree), so the land was often empty.

Finding a way to reuse the animatronics was just one issue the Imagineers were trying to solve. The emptiness of Bear Country and the idea that the park needed a log flume were also concerns. The idea of Splash Mountain single-handedly took care of all of these issues, and if the wait times are any indication, it definitely brought some much-needed attention to that part of the park.

Unfortunately, the fact that the animatronics are reused is a drawback to the Disneyland version, at least in my opinion, as the ones in Magic Kingdom and Tokyo look so much better in comparison. This is no surprise since they were built from scratch. In particular, I think Br'er Fox looks much better at the Magic Kingdom than at Disneyland. Regardless, it's an interesting bit of history and, in my opinion, is one of the more fascinating histories of any Disney ride.

6 Towards the final lift hill, there is a gopher that pops out from the ceiling saying "FSU!"

Right as you approach the end of the "Laughin' Place" and towards the part where Br'er Fox has Br'er Rabbit by the ears, make sure to look up. There is a little gopher animatronic that pops out exclaiming "FSU!"

This, of course, stands for Florida State University and is just a fun little way of giving a shoutout to the school that some of the Imagineers who worked on the ride attended. Many people believe that he is just sneezing, but if you listen carefully, it is clear that he is saying FSU.

7 There are a total of 36 hidden cameras on the ride

Pretty much everyone knows about the cameras on the drop, as proven by the many hilarious poses floating around the web. But did you know that there are dozens of other hidden cameras across the ride? They're there for security purposes and to make sure everything is going well on the ride. If someone were to try to exit the ride prematurely, a cast member could probably catch it on camera and send an announcement to stay in their seat.

For some people, it might be good to know about these hidden cameras because if you were to do something like flipping the bird, you could get into trouble with the cast members. Speaking of inappropriate gestures, the ride was once given the unfortunate nickname "Flash Mountain" due to girls flashing their chests on the final drop. Thankfully, these photos never make it past the filter. So, with all these things considered, better watch what you do!

8 The voices of Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox are provided by Jess Harnell

Most famous for his role as Wakko Warner in Animaniacs, Jess Harnell actually got his big break voicing the main characters of Splash Mountain. He's fairly well known for providing the voice of Br'er Rabbit, but he also voiced Br'er Fox, along with some other characters on the ride such as Mr. Bluebird. So, the whole ride is basically Jess having a long conversation with himself!

As a side fact, Br'er Bear is voiced by Nick Stewart, who was the original voice actor for him in Song of the South and lived to reprise the role over 40 years later.

9 Splash Mountain shares its anniversary with Disneyland

Indeed it does. The original attraction at Disneyland officially opened on July 17, 1989, exactly 35 years after the Disneyland park first opened its doors to the public. Talk about a way to celebrate a birthday!

The new ride was such a success that there were immediate plans to bring the thrilling flume to Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland as well. The latter two rides officially opened on October 1st and October 2nd of 1992 respectively, just one day apart from each other. The Magic Kingdom version had its soft opening on, you guessed it, July 17th.

10 The real name of Splash Mountain is "Chickapin Hill"

Or to be more precise, it's the name of the top of the mountain where Br'er Fox's cave resides. In Song of the South, Br'er Fox looks out through a hole in the tree stump of Chickapin Hill so that he can watch out for that biggity rabbit. However, since most parkgoers (or people in general) haven't seen the film, they probably don't know this.

The Walt Disney World version has a painting of Chickapin Hill in the queue, and there is a sign on the ride pointing to "Chick-a-pin Falls," but I don't believe the Disneyland version mentions the name once. If you're as big a fan of the ride as I am, this may seem pretty obvious, but you've got to keep the average guest in mind, you know? Either way, this linkage to the film is still pretty neat.

The Contenders
11 Splash Mountain opened 3 years after Song of the South was banned
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