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The Imagineers Who Built Splash Mountain Gathered For One Last Ride

Splash Mountain
Credit: Disneyland

Splash Mountain is now officially gone forever. Br’er Rabbit has moved out, and Tiana will begin moving in at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. While many are celebrating the controversial ride’s closure, many others are heartbroken. No matter which side of that debate you fall on, it’s the end of an era. 

Splash Mountain closed at Walt Disney World in January but until now remained open at Disneyland. Both closures are part of a planned retheming of the classic attraction.  The ride, which is based on the 1949 film Song of the South, received backlash in recent years for the film’s racist undertones. Because of this, the ride will soon become Tina’s Bayou Adventure based on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. 

Splash Mountain

Credit: Jill Bivins

Fans flocked to Disneyland yesterday for one last trip to their “Laughin’ Place.” In fact, many were upset that they couldn’t get a park reservation today. The line stretched for hours, but guests waited anyway to be among the last to ride the attraction. 

Splash Mountain

Credit:Jill Bivins

Among those present at Disneyland on this historic day is a group that we’re sure didn’t need park reservations. The original Imagineers that brought Splash Mountain to life 40 years ago were there to say goodbye.  Lead Imagineer Tony Baxter was with them. 

Tony Baxter

Credit: D23

Baxter first conceived the idea for Splash Mountain in 1983 while sitting in traffic. He and his team had been tasked with creating a log flume ride. Which they were unenthusiastic about because they found the concept to be too mundane and run-of-the-mill. However, Baxter realized it might just be a good fit for Bear Country, Disneyland’s least popular land. Images from Song of the South came to mind, and the rest is, as they say history! 

 The original gang all posed together for a photo in front of their masterpiece. Imagineer Tom Morris posted the photo on Twitter along with a cavalier caption that said, “Adios thinking I worked on almost 40 years ago.” The team was joined by the Lopez Brothers, who are both huge Disney fans. 

Splash Mountain imagineers

Credit: Twitter/@TomKMorris

Many fans posted emotional goodbyes on Twitter, thanking the team for their hard work. This Tweet by @splasharchives said, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to you, Tony, and all the brilliant Imagineers that made this incredible attraction a reality. You guys built my childhood. Thank you!”

Splash Mountain

Credit: Twitter/@splasharchives

Another simply expressed gratitude for the beauty of Splash Mountain. 

Splash Mountain

Credit:Twitter/@CallDougMarsh

Little is known about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (but what we do know can be found here). The ride is currently set to open at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in “late 2024.” Stay tuned right here at Disney Dining, where we will bring you the latest news on the ride’s retheme. As soon as we know, you’ll know. 

 

 

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.