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Making a case for Splash Mountain as Disney’s best attraction

Everyone has their favorite attraction at Walt Disney World® Resort. Whether it is because of nostalgia, thrills, the ability to relax or see a unique portion of the park, everyone’s favorite attraction is validated. I had found mine flipping often; it felt like after every trip I went on, I’d come home with a new favorite. That is until I began riding Splash Mountain® Attraction frequently.

What makes the ride side incredible is the way it seamlessly melds each piece of what makes other attractions so great into one. The attraction begins before ever embarking one of its vehicles, boasting one of the best queues on property. If the theming and atmosphere of the line don’t do it for you, don’t worry. The queue reaches its climax just at its end, where the walls of the line open up above where you board, opening the ride up to the outdoors. It’s a symbolic design decision that hints at much of the rest of the ride, as it blends the typical indoor view of the attraction with the sky that stretches over the rest of Magic Kingdom®Park.

The ride itself quickly becomes more than just another flume ride, as its storyline, which pulls and masterfully remolds some of the best and most wholesome parts of a deservedly-forgotten Disney film, brings guests into an entirely different world than the rest of the park. Its explosive finale, falling just after its climactic drop, has become one of the most iconic scenes of any Disney ride.

Its colorful paints match must of the rest of the theme parks, but its intricate story, woven of many different moving parts, make it unlike even the most-beloved storytelling attractions. It then becomes interlaced with varying degrees of thrills, and for someone who did not like heavy thrills as a child, this became my favorite part. It’s because the thrills on the attraction became part of a common conversation across everyone in the ride vehicle, both family members and strangers alike. It has become common practice to tease a first-time rider, and to laugh at the poor soul stuck in the seat that gets pressed against the waterfall after the infamous drop.

Fans of Must Do Disney, the park tour show that plays on every resort hotel television, know all too well the inside joke of “I’m gonna ride that puppy!” and can’t help but shout it every time they walk past. It’s common to see guests standing atop the bridge that overlooks the ride’s big drop, showcasing how the attraction has developed a culture completely its own. Its camera is the most famous ride camera in any theme park, having generated more internet memes on its own than most rides manage to accomplish together.

This is perhaps the ride’s greatest accomplishment, that through its near-perfect balance of storytelling and thrills, it managed to create its own community within a larger one at the Disney theme parks. For once, there’s an attraction that will be hard to top as my favorite.

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