November 27, 2015

Making a Splash in the Magic Kingdom

As mentioned in Sunday's post, when Michael Eisner came aboard the Walt Disney Company, the Florida parks began an expansion that was so vast in scale and scope, it has never been duplicated since. Even the Magic Kingdom's very charming and beautiful, much celebrated, New Fantasyland had nothing on what had been accomplished before. 

Imagineer Tony Baxter had been working on a log flume attraction using Song of the South characters. As Eisner was taking his sons through Imagineering one day, this concept caught their eye and was soon on its way to being built in both Disneyland and Florida's Magic Kingdom. As CEO, Eisner wanted to increase the teen appeal in the Disney parks, bringing in Star Wars, Michael Jackson, and soon the Indiana Jones franchise. 

I won't debate the thematic break of bringing the Old South into the midst of the Wild West, nor will I discuss how building this attraction was the final kiss of death to Marc Davis' brilliant Western River Expedition seeing the light of day, but I will say Splash Mountain is still one incredible attraction. 

As the concept art depicts, it's clearly a thrill ride, but it is also part dark ride, and even more, part musical extravaganza echoing the Disney theater shows of the past . Filled with very lovable Audio-Animatronic characters, its a family friendly attraction that appeals to the entire family. An instant, enduring classic!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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