Category Rank: 1
Park: Magic Kingdom
Park Rank: 2
Whoa! Splash Mountain? Number Two? (Yes, I know I just said Number Two, you can stop giggling like a 4th grader).
Yes, indeed. Splash Mountain gets this lofty rank on our list, and I am sure that this is unbelievably controversial. Maybe not as controversial as the mugs or the maps, but pretty controversial. Actually, maybe not controversial at all... it does take readership for a blog to be controversial.
Splash Mountain is a fun ride to be sure. Many people might not list it as their favorite slow ride, or their most nostalgic (Dumbo or It's a Small World, anyone?). Some might not consider it a slow ride at all, since it does have a plunge to certain death in it. And yet, here we are.
Let's tackle the question of thrill or not thrill first. There are thrill components to this ride to be sure, as the lines for it can be pretty ridiculous (and well-deserved, unlike the lines for Peter Pan). The ride features four drops to it, though only one I'd consider thrilling. The other three are just a little bigger than the drop in Pirates of the Caribbean, according to my non-scientific measurement. Still, most of the ride is indeed slow, and it is that portion of the ride that makes it onto this list. That is the nostalgic part, not the drop. In fact, consider this somewhat like the queues on the list as only being the part that is non-thrilling.
That part is, by itself, the best slow ride within Disney. As a slow log-ride, it tells the story of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear. And it is the only place you can get that story, by the way, since the Song of the South movie has been buried with Walt Disney. It is a pretty long ride that scales its way up the mountain, and of course there is some nervous trepidation over that last fall, but overall, the ride is much fun.
Along the ride, you get some nice views outside (where you can see the whole park) as well as the scenes of animatronics inside. But best of all is the song. The Splash Mountain medley is the best song on the Park Album, and you can help but hum along on your ride.
Okay, so it has a catchy song and a bunch of animatronics, big deal right? Why is this so good? This ride was the most memorable ride on our first night in the park (we ended up riding it several times, in addition to Big Thunder Mountain during the Extra Magic Hours). And again, that first night is the most memorable in our times at WDW. Splash Mountain is a classic story set to a classic ride, and is one of the few times where you actually feel like you get a story told with the ride (as opposed to a bunch of animatronics thrown together, like the new Little Mermaid ride).
It also symbolizes the theme of Southern Charm. It is a bit odd that I find this so warm and appealing, being that I'm not a southerner literally or figuratively. My whole personality is the opposite of the south. Yet, there is something about that charm, taking in the scenes of the bayou river slowly, listening to banjo music and hearing the frogs and insects. The entire feel of the Port Orleans Riverside resort comes to life in this one ride.
The feeling of relaxation is probably the one word that has emerged on this list more than any other. I think about how relaxing it can be on a slow ride like Splash Mountain. There is one item that brings me more relaxation, and it is number one on our list.