February 4, 2013

Splash Mountain: A Tony Baxter Masterpiece

 Splash Mountain barn entry entrance Disneyland Resort
How many people have passed through the barn door entry to Splash Mountain since its 1989 opening? One thing's for certain: no one who enters this incredibly fun (and mega-popular) adventure leaves without some free Splash Mountain water as a souvenir.

I've always enjoyed the way the building provides a smooth transition from reality (well, Disneyland reality) into the ride's animated fantasy world. The queue winds through the convincingly real-looking barn setting while written quotes from the Br'er Rabbit tales foreshadow the adventure up ahead. Before guests know it, they've stepped from the barn into the "underground" rabbit burrow tunnel leading to the loading platform.

From that point on, it's a world of singing geese, evil plots, bees, laughing places and scary drops. The getting-soaked finale actually draws you more completely into the story; it's the price you pay for escaping the fox's lair!

Tony Baxter, the genius and magician behind Splash Mountian, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, The Indiana Jones Adventure, Disneyland's New Fantasyland and much, much more recently announced that he's moving from full-time Imagineering to more of a consulting and mentoring role. Tony, thank you for all the great memories, fun, thrills and true magic you've given the world. You have worked wonders and delighted and inspired millions of people. You are amazing.

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