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  1. #1

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    The story of Splash Mountain

    Splash Mountain has always puzzled me a little. I rode it for the first time in...1996, I think? Maybe '97. It was the WDW version - actually, it's still the only real WDW attraction I've experienced, since I was sick the whole visit. But that's another story! Aaanyway...I had just a little bit of experience with Song of the South in the form of a cassette tape that told some of the stories, but that was a long time ago. So I've spent a lot of time wondering about the story of the attraction.

    Now that I've seen the animated segments of Song of the South on YouTube and spent a fair amount of time studying photos/videos/blueprints of the attraction, I feel like I've got a better handle on things, so I figure I'll try to write out the story so y'all can correct any mistakes or omissions in my understanding.
    We start out in the queue in some sort of barn or what have you, more or less corresponding to the "real world" in the film. The queue and loading area are a transition into the animated world of Br'er Rabbit and company, where we begin the ride by floating around the briar patch and various character's homes. The visible mountain itself is Chickapin Hill, the home of Br'er Fox, who's determined to catch Br'er Rabbit, often in spite of the stupidity of Br'er Bear.

    Eventually, we slide down Slippin' Falls (the first drop) and end up in the bog, where things are generally cheerful in nature. Br'er Rabbit is leaving his home in the briar patch to find his laughing place. Amidst various miscellaneous characters from America Sings, we see Br'er Bear dangling under a tree; Br'er Rabbit has tricked into taking his place in Br'er Fox's trap. At some point, he gets away, and wants to join Br'er Rabbit in his laughing place, but Br'er Rabbit tricks him again and instead points him in the direction of a number of beehives. We drop down and down, past the bees, and into the laughing place.

    Naturally, things are even cheerier here. Everyone's singing and laughing except Br'er Bear, who's got a noseful of bees to deal with. Generally strange displays surround us - these have no basis in the film, nor do many of the characters - and everything seems to be going great until Br'er Fox manages to snare Br'er Rabbit by causing him to lash out at a frustratingly silent doll made of honey. (Tar was deemed too racially charged due to its dark color.) In their burrows deep inside Chickapin Hill, the rabbits and opossums lament Br'er Rabbit's fate.

    It's off to Br'er Fox's home in the hill, where the trapped Br'er Rabbit is going to be cooked for dinner...until he cleverly uses reverse psychology by pleading with Br'er Fox not to throw him back into the briar patch. The ruse is successful, and we experience Br'er Rabbit's fortuitous fall back into his thorny home. After floating through the outdoors a little more, much like the start of the attraction, we see everyone celebrating Br'er Rabbit's return, as well as the antagonists' fate in the jaws of a hungry gator.

    Oh yeah...and there are vultures.
    Have I missed or misinterpreted anything? Thanks!
    Last edited by Datameister; 11-04-2008 at 03:07 PM.


  2. #2

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    I think you left out the vultures, I love those guys. Sounds about right to me otherwise.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
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  3. #3

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    I think you left out the vultures, I love those guys. Sounds about right to me otherwise.
    Meh, I figured they were just generic harbingers of death that didn't do much besides increase the ominousness of the scene...not that I don't love them! I'll add 'em in, just for you, though.


  4. #4

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Data, your interpretation of the Splash Mountain storyline is spot-on. I especially love the explanation for honey, that "racially charged" tar.

    Having an unofficial DVD copy of Song of the South helped me come to the same realizations you did about, for example, the traps that Br'er Bear is stuck in. Even knowing that the log tree mountain is Chickapin Hill is something unknown by ordinary guests.
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  5. #5

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    I've never seen Song of the South, but have always wondered how the critters got the paddleboat at the end of the ride.
    Quote Originally Posted by fo'c's'le swab
    I still can't figure out where that strap goes.

  6. #6

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanda Woman View Post
    I've never seen Song of the South, but have always wondered how the critters got the paddleboat at the end of the ride.
    Well Song of the South won't explain that part; the paddleboat finale scene was a scene created especially for Splash Mountain that just "makes sense" given the subject material, even though it's not in the movie itself in any fashion.
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  7. #7

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Yeah, they're not that important to the story, but I like how they talk to you and make you feel like you're part of the story. It's a little bit of old school in a more new school attraction.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    Yeah, they're not that important to the story, but I like how they talk to you and make you feel like you're part of the story. It's a little bit of old school in a more new school attraction.
    Absolutely. It's nice to be "included" in the events in the attraction, and the vultures help a lot.


  9. #9

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by 2DieFR View Post
    Well Song of the South won't explain that part; the paddleboat finale scene was a scene created especially for Splash Mountain that just "makes sense" given the subject material, even though it's not in the movie itself in any fashion.
    This is true. They supposedly created the grand finale with the showboat as a device to fit all of the characters from America Sings in the ride that didn't correspond with the Song of the South characters and thus didn't fit into the rest of the attraction.

  10. #10

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    Cool Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Sounds pretty good to me and I haven't seen the movie. Thanks!

  11. #11

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by jfsebastian View Post
    This is true. They supposedly created the grand finale with the showboat as a device to fit all of the characters from America Sings in the ride that didn't correspond with the Song of the South characters and thus didn't fit into the rest of the attraction.
    That, and the showboat set piece itself was an America Sings scene and reused totally intact as far as I can tell.

    They wanted a new AA ride and had all these "Unemployed" AA's and surplus sets they could mine for reuse, and they did a lot of "Cut and Paste" to make them fit together in a new show and ride.

    From what I remember of a movie I haven't seen since I was a small child, the fact they managed to follow the basic theme of "The movie that can never be shown again" at all was a minor miracle. I'll forgive them the "Showboat Musical" scene at the end.

    Now if they could just re-release "Song Of The South" into theatres or on DVD the circle would be unbroken - but they chicken out every time the subject comes up and won't even consider it.

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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jfsebastian View Post
    This is true. They supposedly created the grand finale with the showboat as a device to fit all of the characters from America Sings in the ride that didn't correspond with the Song of the South characters and thus didn't fit into the rest of the attraction.
    That, and the showboat set piece itself was an America Sings scene and reused totally intact as far as I can tell.
    While they probably have nothing to do with one another, I've always liked the parallel between this scene and Fantasmic!'s Steamboat Willie segment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
    Now if they could just re-release "Song Of The South" into theatres or on DVD the circle would be unbroken - but they chicken out every time the subject comes up and won't even consider it.
    I have the Japanese laserdisc, so I've seen the movie more recently than most people in North America have. Maybe it's just me, but Disney's attitude toward a potential DVD release in this region seems kind of loony. In my opinion, the movie is no more "racist" than, say, the crows in Dumbo or Dopey's Asian gag with a cymbal on his head--big deal! It's really just the cartoon characters, too, unless one is offended by the fact that white people are in charge (primarily a woman, by the way) and black people are their servants (apparently freed slaves who now earn wages). If one can get past that, then the core of the story is the touching, even familial relationship between Uncle Remus (a wise old black storyteller) and a young white boy (the grandson of the owner of the plantation) who is trying to cope with his parents' marital strife and the absence of his father. If anything, I'd say that the movie is overtly anti-racist with far less to call into question than Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (which I also consider anti-racist), just for comparison.

    The Walt Disney Company itself is responsible for the aura of racism that supposedly surrounds Song of the South, and now it has become some kind of taboo for the studio. On the other hand, I don't know...maybe I'm just too simpleminded to understand, as most people have a tendency to see things that ain't there and believe things that ain't so....

  13. #13

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    I'm with you wholeheartedly on this, Robert. I hope this thread won't turn into a debate about the merits of Song of the South being kept off the shelves, but a little off-topic discussion never hurt anyone. From what I've seen...I can relate to the claims of racially-sensitive content, but it's really rather silly. Uncle Remus is the hero of the story, as far as I can tell. The cartoon characters are not-wholly-accurate depictions of a certain ethnic group...but since when are cartoon characters accurate depictions of any ethnic group? Yosemite Sam isn't exactly the most savory character - sorry, not Disney, I know - but he isn't being censored for fear of offending people from Yosemite or people who speak similarly to him.


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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    This is quite interesting. I've always been pretty familiar with the stories of the animated segments of Song of the South while riding Splash Mountain, so I've always wondered just how coherent the story is for someone with no background knowledge whatsoever.

  15. #15

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    Re: The story of Splash Mountain

    Can you still get 'songs of the south' on dvd?
    I really want it :[

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