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Splash Mountain is an E-Ticket, family favorite, attraction found in 3 of Disney's Magic Kingdom style parks: Disneyland opened July 17, 1989; Tokyo Disneyland opened October 1, 1992; and Magic Kingdom opened October 2, 1992.
The ride presents scenes taken from the animated segments of the Disney film Song of the South, as riders pass by in their log flumes. It tells the story of the adventures of Br'er Rabbit, who leaves his briar patch home, where he was 'born and raised', in search of his "laughing place". However Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear are intent on catching and disposing of Br'er Rabbit. Once Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear have Br'er Rabbit all tied up, and are ready to burn him in a fire, Br'er Rabbit tells them they can burn him or skin him, but "please don't throw me in the briar patch". Intrigued by the thought of doing just what Br'er Rabbit says he doesn't want, the two throw him into the briar patch, and Splash Mountain riders too, plummet down a long hill, ultimately landing in the briar patch.
At the time it was built, Splash Mountain was one of the most expensive projects created by Walt Disney Imagineering ($75 million). Imagineer Tony Baxter wanted to attract guests to the often empty Bear Country land at Disneyland. According to Alice Davis (wife of the late Marc Davis), when Disneyland's America Sings closed in April 1988, production of Disneyland's Splash Mountain had gone way over budget. The only way to recover was to close down America Sings (which was receiving poor attendance) and use the characters from that attraction.
(America Sings replaced the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland in the early '70's; it used the same revolving stage concept and guests were presented with a sort of American History lesson through music--folk songs--rotating through different time periods of US history. All of the characters were audio-animatronic, there were lots of them, and they were all animals. If you were to look at a video of America Sings you would probably find yourself thinking "all these animals look so much like splash mountain." And now you would know why.)
Baxter and his team developed the concept of Zip-a-Dee River Run, which would incorporate scenes from the 1946 film Song of the South. The attractions name was later changed to Splash Mountain after then-CEO Michael Eisner's suggestion that the attraction be used to help market the new Disney film Splash. The characters from America Sings were used in many scenes, though all of the main characters were specifically designed for Splash Mountain.
This scene of sad rabbits, from the 'Wanderin' Boy' segment of America Sings, should look familiar to Splash Mountain fans.
It is now the last scene before ascending to the top of Splash Moutnain.
Link to a great article about the connection between Disney's America Sings and Splash Mountain: http://www.imagineeringdisney.com/blog/2010/7/3/america-sings.html