() — Walt Disney World’s iconic Splash Mountain attraction has officially closed, but dedicated fans are doing their best to keep parts of it forever.
Throngs of people packed Orlando’s Magic Kingdom theme park on January 23 to see the end of the ride, dressed in all sorts of Splash Mountain gear and willing to wait more than four hours for one last soggy ride.
As more politically minded Disney fans celebrated the event by discussing the reasons for the attraction’s closure (which is based on the infamous 1946 Disney film “Song of the South”), others took to buying, selling, trading and showing off all manner of Splash Mountain memorabilia.
Splash Mountain’s water, in particular, drew a lot of interest on eBay and Disney-themed online communities. Disney insiders who spoke to suspect that most are joke ads, which is not unusual. (For example, a Cheeto with a slight resemblance to Harambe the Gorilla that reportedly sold on the site for nearly $100,000 in 2017.)
Anyone looking to truly secure some of that holy water should beware: Several of the “Splash Mountain Water” ads have the same image, even though they were listed by different sellers. One of the ads asks for an initial offer of $5,000. Another ad, clearly mocking the trend, offers a “Great Value Bag of Splash Mountain Bath Water.”
has contacted eBay and the Disney Parks for comment.
Regardless of whether the water sales are real, there are two very important truths:
1. Disney regulars become emotionally attached to the park’s attractions.
2. Disney water is different.
Maybe it’s because of the levels of chemicals needed to kill the biological horrors spewed out by the 57,000 estimated daily visitors from the park. Maybe it’s the decades-old patina that marinates in the recesses of the old, empty-eyed animatronics on attractions like It’s A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. But the water of the Disney attractions It is a phenomenon among the fans, many of whom swear they could identify that sweet smell of bromine anywhere in the world. People are even selling Pirates of the Caribbean-themed water candles on Etsy, which seems like a safe alternative to a jar of dubious water.
For those whose Disney sanctuaries require a slightly different offer, eBay also posted an uptick in other items they are one man’s trash, but a Splash Mountain fan’s treasure. Walt Disney World attraction has been sponsored by Ziploc since 2018, and offered nifty 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 is astronomical for the individual Ziploc bag market. Replicas of the sets from the ride’s (very long) line went up for auction in the days around the ride’s closure, as did cast member badges, old paper passes, plastic cups and pressed pennies.
If this seems like a lot to you -too much, perhaps-, it’s because you don’t know Disney World well.
According to attendees, the scene around the attraction, located in the West Frontierland-themed area of Orlando’s Magic Kingdom park, was part celebration, part funeral and completely packed.
Clint Gamache, founder of the theme park news site ThrillGeekHe attended the festivities. Throughout the day, she saw stuffed dolls of Splash Mountain characters lined up along the bridge leading to the attraction, left as tributes by fans. She also saw groups wearing homemade Splash Mountain T-shirts with phrases like “Last Splash,” an unsurprising twist on the vast cottage industry of custom-made Disney travel clothing.
“Splash Mountain merchandise at the park has been out of stock for months,” he told . “As soon as they announced the closure of the ride last year, people bought as many items as they could.” While some collectors no doubt got carried away by nostalgia, there is a decidedly mercenary side to the loot from the Disney Parks, that can reach extravagant prices in the second-hand markets.
Gamache says he’s been around other attraction closures, noting that Splash Mountain’s final day seemed to have less official fanfare than, say, the closing of the iconic Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2017.
But there was no lack of sentimentality.
“Nostalgia is the biggest thing for Disney,” he says. “There are so many people who have so many memories associated with a certain attraction. When, later on, the attraction closes, all that nostalgia and all those emotions come back.”
As the day progressed, Gamache says, small groups of people would stop to watch the ride and applaud the logs as they climaxed.
The shirts, the celebrations, the stories… everything is absolutely normal when it comes to fans of the Disney parks. A single character in an attraction can inspire endless stories and products. Splash Mountain was one of the longest and most fun rides at Walt Disney World, with a duration 10 to 11 minutes filled with music and animatronic antics from Br’er Rabbit and his nemeses, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. All those characters appear in “Canción del Sur”. The film has been heavily criticized for decades for what the NAACP once called “dangerously glorified image of slavery”.
The Orlando attraction is scheduled to reopen in 2024 as a “The Princess and the Frog”-themed attraction called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Disneyland’s Splash Mountain attraction in Anaheim, California will close later. No plans have been announced for the Tokyo Disneyland version.