Disney World’s Most Popular Ride Doesn’t Exist According to Study

Cinderella Castle splash Mountain
Credit: Jill Bivins

Disney World is home to dozens of beloved attractions—146 of them, to be exact. With so many incredible attractions, it’s understandable that some are more popular than others. There are some that have stood the test of time. Rides like “its a small world,” Haunted Mansion, and Carousel of Progress are classics. Newcomers like Rise of the Resistance, Tron Lightcyle / Run, and Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind are instant favorites.

It's a small world

Credit: Jill Bivins

What would happen, though, if you tried to pin down the best ride at Walt Disney World? One study set out to do just that. Is it even possible to quantify something so subjective? Magic Guides thinks it is. They designed a study to scientifically prove what Disney World’s most popular ride is. Orlando Weekly published the study results, and we were shocked at the result.

Related: Check Out the Insane Wait Times for Disney’s Most Popular Rides

First, let’s take a look at how the study was conducted. The study looked at a variety of metrics (valid, scientific metrics? Eh, you be the judge. But metrics nonetheless). They painstakingly compiled data for every ride from across Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Three key factors were taken into account: Instagram hashtags, Tripadvisor ratings, and average monthly search volume. They analyzed this data to determine a winner.

Related: The Most Popular Attraction in Each Disney Park

With an average of 205,193 monthly searches, 323,813 Instagram hashtags, and a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, the winner is…Splash Mountain. Despite no longer existing, Splash Mountain remains the most popular ride at the Walt Disney World Resort. We were as surprised as you were. How could Disney shut down their most popular ride?

Splash Mountain

Credit: Jill Bivins

Its popularity was plain to see long before this study was conducted. Opening in 1992, the ride was an instant hit! The ride had a lot going for it: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah made guests happy, the ride was colorful and fun, and the drop was thrilling! Unlike some older rides, Splash Mountain never saw a decline in attendance. The line was almost always long. The rides last day saw ridiculously long lines.

Splash mountain

Credit: Jill Bivins

Then the complaints started. People disliked that the source material (a movie most people have never seen) showed former slaves who were happy. People disapproved of the “happy slave trope” and petitioned Disney to change the ride. It’s worth noting that the film’s stars did not find the movie to be racist. Nevertheless, Disney agreed and made plans to change the ride.

Soon Splash Mountain will become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Little is known so far about the new ride. All we know so far is that Tiana and a band of “critters” are on their way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The ride will still feature music, thrills, and classic Disney storytelling. From everything we’ve seen so far, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be just as magical as Splash Mountain was. We will still always miss Br’er Rabbit and his Laughin’ Place, though.


About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.