Disney’s Splash Mountain is closed, but demand for souvenirs is increasing

Disney’s Splash Mountain is closed, but demand for souvenirs is increasing

(CNN) — Walt Disney World’s iconic Splash Mountain attraction has officially closed, but hardcore Disney fans are doing everything they can to preserve bits of the attraction forever.

Crowds crowded the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando to witness the attraction’s finale in the form of a log flume on Jan. 23, decked out in all sorts of Splash Mountain merchandise and ready to wait more than four hours for a final soak. ride.

While more politically minded Disney fans honored the occasion by arguing over the reasons for the ride’s closure (it’s based on the infamous 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South”), others moved on to buy, sell, trade and show off any Splash. Merchandise from the mountains they could get their hands on.
Splash Mountain water, in particular, attracted a lot of interest on eBay and Disney-themed online communities. Disney experts who spoke to CNN suspect most of them are jokes, which isn’t unusual. (Take a Cheeto that bears a passing resemblance to Harambe the Gorilla that reportedly sold for nearly $100,000 on the site in 2017.)

Anyone really wanting to get their hands on some of that sacred aqua vitae should beware: different listings for “Splash Mountain Water” have the same image, but have been offered by different sellers. One listing calls for a $5,000 starting bid. Another offering, clearly bucking the trend, offers a “Great Value Sandwich Bag of Toilet Water from Restroom by Splash Mountain.”

CNN has reached out to eBay and Disney Parks for comment.

Listings for

Ads for “Splash Mountain Water” on eBay.

From eBay

Regardless of whether the water sale is real, two very important truths remain:

  • 1. Disney regulars become extremely emotionally attached to park attractions.
  • 2. Disney water is just different.

Perhaps it’s the levels of chemicals needed to kill all the biological horrors caused by the park’s estimated 57,000 daily visitors. Perhaps it’s the decades-old patina that marinates in the nooks and crannies of the old, empty-eyed animatronics on rides like It’s A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. But Disney ride water is a thing among fans, many of whom swear they can recognize that sweet, sweet brominated scent anywhere in the world. People are even selling Pirates of the Caribbean water-themed candles on Etsy, which seems like a safe alternative to a pot of water with questionable origins.
For those whose Disney shrines require a slightly different offering, eBay also saw an increase in other items that are one man’s trash but a Splash Mountain fan’s treasure. The Walt Disney World location has been sponsored by Ziploc since 2018, and the ride provided handy little bags to keep people’s belongings dry. Those bags are now on sale online for as much as $40, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but astronomical for the single Ziploc bag market. Replica props from the sets along the (extremely long) ride line have gone up the auction block in the days surrounding the ride’s closure, as have cast member badges, old paper ride passes, plastic cups, and pressed pennies.

If it seems like a lot – maybe too much – then you don’t know Disney World very well.

According to attendees, the scene surrounding the ride, set in the Western-themed Frontierland area of ​​Orlando’s Magic Kingdom Park, was part celebration, part funeral, and completely packed.

Clint Gamache, the founder of theme park news site ThrillGeek, attended the festivities. Throughout the day, he saw plush dolls of Splash Mountain characters lined up along the bridge leading to the ride, left as tributes by fans. He also saw groups wearing homemade Splash Mountain shirts with phrases like “Last Splash,” an unsurprising iteration of the huge cottage industry of custom Disney travel wear.
“In-park merchandise for Splash Mountain has been sold out for months,” he told CNN. “As soon as they announced last year that the ride was closing, people bought up all the merchandise they could get their hands on.” While some collectors were undoubtedly led by nostalgia, Disney Parks swag definitely has a mercenary side to it, which can fetch outlandish prices on second-hand markets.

Gamache says he’s been to other ride closures, noting that Splash Mountain’s final day seemed to have less official fanfare than, say, the closure of the iconic Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2017.

Still, there was a lot of sentimentality to be seen.

“Nostalgia is the big thing for Disney,” he says. “There are so many people who have so many memories of a particular ride. When the ride stops along the way, all that nostalgia and all those emotions come back.”

As the day progressed into the evening, Gamache said small groups of people would stop to watch the ride and cheer on the logs as they took the attraction’s climax.

The T-shirts, the pageantry, the stories; they are all absolutely the norm when it comes to Disney Park fandom. A single character in a single ride can inspire endless stories and merchandise. Splash Mountain was one of the longer, more involved rides at Walt Disney World, with a leisurely 10 to 11 minutes of music and animatronic antics from Br’er Rabbit and his nemesis, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. All of those characters appear in “Song of the South”. The film has been widely criticized for decades for what the NAACP once called a “dangerously glorified image of slavery.”
The Orlando location is slated to reopen in 2024 as a “Princess and the Frog” themed attraction called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California is expected to close at a later date. No plans have been announced for the Tokyo Disneyland version.

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