Last night I did something… pretty dumb. I had the night off and wanted to do something different than just the normal park day. I had heard of people riding Splash Mountain countless times at night because of the almost nonexistent lines when the temperature decreases below 65 degrees and the sun sets, and I was interested in what countless log rides would be like.
So, armed with a bag filled with an entire extra set of clothes and a stubborn attitude, I hit the park. I got to Disneyland at around 4 p.m., and at that point Splash had a 30 min wait because it was decently warm outside. I rode a bunch of other rides and grabbed a Matterhorn FastPass for 9:15. After my ride with Harold I figured it was time to head towards Splash, and to be honest, I was a little nervous. I knew I’d get wet and I was already pretty chilly in the sweatshirt I was wearing, but no way was I going to call it quits before I even started.
I hit the restroom under The Hungry Bear restaurant (the closest restroom to Splash Mountain) and changed out of my jeans into a pair of shorts, and covered my sweatshirt with my rain jacket. With that, I figured it was as good as it’s going to get so I got in line. To clarify something, I’m sure that a poncho would have been the most effective way to keep myself dry, but I was too cheap to buy one.
There was pretty much nobody in front of me in line, less than ten people, so the attractions cast member gave me my own log. Important note here, if you go in a log by yourself you’re always in row three, because that keeps the log balanced.
Then, I was off on my first adventure through the briar patch! I got on my first log at around 9:45 p.m. It was delightful, of course, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. When I got back into the station, I was in for a nice surprise. I was under the impression that after every ride I would need to exit the ride and go back through the queue, but they were only running one of their two loading stations. That means that for every two logs that are pulled into the loading station, only one gets filled.
After my first time through, my log stopped at the second loading station, where nobody was getting on, so I was allowed to stay in. The second time through was just as good as my first, but this time I was pulled into the first loading station so I just exited and re-entered the standby line.
My third and fourth time through the attraction, I got more wet than the first two runs. If you’re not very familiar with Splash Mountain, there are three drops. One near the beginning, one into the Laughing Place, and the last large drop with the photograph. Contrary to what you would think, the drop where you get the most wet is the second one, as you go into the Laughing Place. The drop is U-shaped, sloping down and then coming back up, and it causes an enormous tidal wave over the front of the log.
Luckily, in the third row, the wave mostly missed me. But for some reason during my third and fourth runs my head got soaked on that drop. That may have been because of the way I was sitting during the splash.
Every time I went down one of the three drops, I hunched my body over my bag. There are no lockers to hold your things like there are at Grizzly River Run in DCA, so I had to take my phone and my dry clothes with me for all of the ride throughs. This system worked pretty well for me… until my 5th run.
Getting in line for the 3rd time, there were a few more people than there had been previously. Thus, they put me in a log with five other people. Originally I was slotted to be in the third row again, but the couple in front of me had a mini freak out about being in the front. Who do you think offered to take that spot for them?
With the knowledge that I was about to get utterly soaked, I led a log during my fifth run. And yes, on that second drop the entire tidal wave consumed pretty much everything I own, there was nothing I could do. Prior to this the only things that were getting wet were my legs and my head, which was manageable. At the end of that soak, we got pulled into the second loading bay.
I knew nobody was going to use the log, so when everyone got out I asked the Cast Member if I could hop from the first row to the third, and she let me!
Run 6 is when I started to really feel some pain in my rear end. Those log seats are FIRM, and are not meant for long term sitting. It got to the point where after an hour in I would raise my butt off the seat before the logs bumped into each other because it hurt so bad.
I did this for you guys.
The rest of my runs after my fifth were alone. Around the 7th run is when some of my fingers started to go numb. On my 8th run was when my body started shivering uncontrollably. At that point though I was already so close to double digits that I knew I would just have to power through.
These later runs were during Fantasmic, and it was an unexpected bonus to see a little bit of the backstage portions of the show from the track that runs next to the Rivers Of America after the last drop. I saw two characters on a raft before they went ‘on stage,’ and saw Sorcerer Mickey shooting off fireworks from behind. This was one of the many weird quirks I encountered during my journey that made it all worth it.
On my tenth and final run, the Cast Members at the loading zone let me stay on a log that stopped in the first loading zone because they knew I had been doing it for so long. I could definitely tell that some Cast Members were slightly annoyed at me, because I kept staying on and often asked to hop into the second log after getting out of the first. But, there were many others who seemed to enjoy the marathon of wet that I was putting myself through.
During the final run I felt mostly relief, and also a lot of butt pain. I told a lot of the animatronics goodbye, at this point they seemed like real people to me. My last run ended close to 11:30 p.m.; my ten runs took an hour and 45 minutes. Once off the ride (the Cast Members asked if I was going again, I would have died if I did) I headed straight back to the Hungry Bear bathroom and changed out of all my wet clothes.
I can not recommend enough bringing a spare change of clothes if you ever attempt doing this. The walk out of the park and to my car still wasn’t the best because of exhaustion/wet hair, but having to do that in soaking wet shorts or jeans would have been absolutely miserable. Don’t even talk to me about the thigh chafing!
Things I learned During My Splash Journey
I have never been on a ride so many times in a row in my life, and I’d like to think that I learned a lot from the experience.
The first thing I learned is that it is completely normal for the logs to stop or slow down on the big lift hill before the last drop. The first time I experienced this was a couple weeks prior on a ride with Andrew and Melissa, and it caused a lot of confusion and fright. During my ten ride throughs the log either suddenly stopped, or slowed down on the hill 7 out of the 10 runs. It was always a little stomach lurching, because of the angle of the hill, but it became less worrisome the more it happened.
Another thing I learned is that Disney is not afraid to run an attraction at its worst. There are SO many animatronics and set pieces currently that are either missing, broken, or not working properly in Splash Mountain, and I would never have caught them all had I not rode the attraction back to back…. to back.
A couple examples of these: One of the geese in the first scene’s head was tilted to the floor, it looked like he was singing to his tummy! An alligator’s head in the final show boat scene was twisted completely sideways, while the rest of his alligator pals looked forward. One of the birds on the showboat wasn’t moving at all, and Brer Rabbit is completely missing from the scene where he gets caught by Brer Fox in the honey, but you can still hear his voice lines. Also, two PVC pipes can clearly be seen in the Laughing Place, I think they’re usually covered by… mushrooms? I’m not sure.
Unfortunately during my rides my phone was dead, so I couldn’t photograph any of these errors. Instead enjoy the picture below of a poor goose whose hat had slipped.
Usually Splash Mountain goes down sometime during January or February for a regular refurbishment, but I’m guessing because of the Haunted Mansion and Snow White’s Scary Adventures both being down, they decided against it. This made for a fun game of finding all of the errors during my time there.
There are so many things that happened that made this entire journey worthwhile. Here is a list of the highlights!
- Because the logs would regularly stop on the last lift hill, the log in front of me would erupt in screams of terror whenever it would happen. This would always give me a good chuckle.
- Some riders, upon leaving the loading zone after their ride would offer their ponchos to un-ponchoed riders getting in after them. It was a very kind gesture and the new riders excitedly took them. This restored some of my faith in humanity.
- Being told I was brave for taking the first row. I wasn’t brave the rest of them were just wimps.
- On my 8th run, the train rolled through while I was in the show boat scene. I waved at the passengers and they waved back. That was something that has been on my bucket list for a long time.
Should You Ever Do This?
I would say absolutely you should do this if you have the chance. There were definitely a lot of cons to it (wet, same ride over and over, walking the queue multiple times), but I feel like I have a new relationship with that ride that I have never had before.
I would definitely recommend finding a buddy or two to attempt it with, going alone gave me a lot of freedom to ride until I personally was done, but there ended up being A LOT of alone time in those logs.
Splash Mountain is usually one of the most busy rides in Disneyland, especially in the warmer months. If you have the chance, take advantage of the low wait times at night or on cold days and have yourself a bunch of zip-a-dee-doo-dah rides.
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