Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Visit to Splash Mountain

Two years ago I went to Disneyland in January, in between the fall and spring semesters.  I was passing by on my way to a conference, and it was the second time I went to Disneyland by myself.  (By the way, if you are considering going by yourself but are dubious about the idea, as I was the first time, you should totally do it if you have the chance.  It's wonderful (and very relaxing) to be on your own schedule to do whatever you want all day long, whether that be sitting on a bench, taking a mid-afternoon nap, or going on "it's a small world" fifty times in a row.)

It should be mentioned that I don't really like roller coasters, or thrill rides in general.  I usually skip most of these when I visit a Disney park, but I had started going on a few in the previous years.  Weirdly, I found myself really loving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which is a "runaway mine train" genre coaster) during this trip, which is pretty much the last thing I would have expected. So I decided the time was right to try Splash Mountain, which is an ornately themed log flume ride based on characters from the movie Song of the South.  (Side Note 1:  Of course it's ornately themed; it's at Disneyland.  Side Note 2: Despite the fact that Disney introduced this major attraction using characters from the movie, it is still not possible to get this movie on DVD in the US.)  The flume ends with a huge drop into the "briar patch".  (The huge final drop is of course the reason why I had avoided Splash Mountain in my previous trips.)

But this trip, I decided  to give it a try, and I got into one of the logs one morning.  As proof, below are two pictures taken from the top, while the logs were queued up waiting to start down the first (short) drop of the attraction and begin the winding trip leading up to the harrowing conclusion:
The above picture gives a great view over the park, and has an interesting feature that I didn't notice until later.  On the left, you can see the black and gold smokestacks from the steamboat circling the Rivers of America.  And just at the top of the rightmost stack, you can actually see the roof of the hotel I was staying at.

In the second picture (below), we see the row of logs waiting to get through the first gate, because there was a minor holdup (which allowed me to take these pictures of course):
And finally, below you can see everyone being led out of the logs, and then taken backstage and outside again, because it turned out that the minor holdup turned into a major technical problem, and the ride had to be shut down:
So as it turned out, after psyching myself up to finally go on this attraction to see what it was like, I got up to the top and the ride shut down, leaving me to just walk down in the end.  Somewhat anti-climactic I suppose, but perhaps I just wasn't meant to go on this ride.

Oh, I guess you could count the fact that I went back later in the day for some reason, and actually made it down the big drop, as the picture below attests:
You can also of course note that this is clearly a picture of me on the attraction, because you can see that when I started down the drop, my eyes are firmly closed and I look prepared for imminent death.