Part flume and part indoor “dark ride,” it’s preposterously fun, justifiably packed all the time, and proof of what Disney can do when its creative (and budgetary) engines are firing on all cylinders. You track the Br’er Rabbit character through some Deep South sets and down several plunges in Chick-a-Pin Hill—the most dramatic drop, five stories at 40mph (faster than Space Mountain), is plainly visible from the outside. You will get wet, especially from the shoulders up and particularly in the front seats, but are not likely to get soaked because boats plow most of the water out of the way. I never tire of this 11-minute journey because it’s so full of surprises, including room after room of animated characters (as many as Pirates has), seven drops large and small, a course that takes you indoors and out, and some perfectly executed theming that begins with the gorgeous outdoor courtyard queue strung with mismatched lanterns at many heights. You’ll see Chip ‘n’ Dale’s houses there, and hear them chatter to each other from within.
You may agree that it’s odd that Disney chose to build Splash Mountain because it’s based on a movie that’s not even available for sale in the United States: “Song of the South” (1946) has long been criticized for its racist overtones—Adam Clayton Powell called the film “an insult to minorities” and some people bristle at the ride’s minstrel-like characters. Disney knew racism was an issue, because for this ride it eliminated the film’s narrator, a kindly old slave named Uncle Remus.