There are a lot of reasons to love Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. With it changing in the near future, however, I thought it would be worth mentioning one of top reasons I love the attraction in it’s current state.
Many attractions drop you directly into the action seconds after the lap bar comes down. I’m reminded of some of the Fantasyland attractions where you essentially turn a corner from load and you’re in the Hundred Acre Woods (Pooh), a London home (Peter Pan), or under the sea (Little Mermaid).
Splash Mountain is basically the opposite. After loading, you slowly make your way up two lift hills, circle around outside of the mountain, and slide down a minor drop before finally getting to the heart of the attraction – about three mins into the ride. Similar to Pirates of the Caribbean (where you initially journey through caves), the effect of this extended setup is that you have time to settle into the idea that you’re actually traveling somewhere beyond the confines of the Magic Kingdom.
In the case of Splash Mountain, you’re traveling into the world of Brer-rabbit and his plan to out-wit Brer Bear and Brer Fox. Having this intro (with subtle story hints along the way) allows you to further buy into this world and the story being told within.
Some attractions use pre-show to provide a majority of the story context – think Haunted Mansion’s stretching room or Tower of Terror’s library. With Splash Mountain, however, much of the context you need for the attraction is conveyed on-ride as part of this extended intro.
On the whole, you really don’t see this type of pacing designed into an attraction now-a-days. Whether that’s a result of complicated storylines, throughput demands, or budget constraints, you just rarely see attractions devoting ride minutes to subtle, on-ride context-building.
And that, along with the added benefit of a longer ride-time, is why’s it’s one of my top reasons to love Splash Mountain.
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