"Splash Mountain takes guests on a waterborne journey via a buoyant log through the backwoods, swamps, and bayous of the old South as it was depicted in the Disney movie Song of the South. Showcased in 15 scenes from the motion picture, whimsical music and the mischievous antics of 103 Audio-Animatronics figures provide a rich audio-vidual treat for guests as they experience thrilling lifts and drops in a fast water ride."
Press Release, 1989
Splash Mountain's history has a bittersweet beginning. According to Alice Davis, wife of the late Marc Davis, production of Splash Mountain had gone way over budget and the only way to recover was to close down America Sings and use the characters from that attraction. This hits very close to home for me, since America Sings was my favorite Disneyland attraction as a child.
Ground Raising for Splash Mountain began on April 24, 1987.
Monday, July 17, 1989 was the big day. The following information comes directly from the agenda handed out to all the press and invited guests:
Dedication Ceremony: At approximately 10:30 a.m., the Splash Mountain Dedication Ceremony will take place. Actor Jim Varney and twelve celebrity children will join Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Eisner, Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Mickey Mouse in turning on the water pump to create a big splash. Press guests will view the ceremony on video monitors at lower Hungry Bear Restaurant. The ceremony will take approximately 15-20 minutes, and, because space is limited, will be restricted to working press and invited guests only. Critter Country will be closed to the public until approximately 1:30 p.m., and the Disneyland Railroad will be closed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Press Conference: At approximately noon, a press conference in Country Bear Playhouse will begin after the press have ridden Splash Mountain. Scheduled to participate are Michael Eisner; Frank Wells, President and Chief Operating Officer; Dick Nunis, President, Walt Disney Attractions; and Marty Sklar, President, Walt Disney Imagineering.
Radio Remotes: Eight radio remotes will be located on the Mark Twain, which will be docked in Fowler's Harbor from Park closing on July 14 through July 18.
On Tuesday, July 18, 1989, Splash Mountain was officially open to the public.
Notice the "Opening January 1989". Splash Mountain was 6 months behind schedule.
In 2002, the ride seating was modified. Instead of the original 7-seater logs (requiring some people sitting between the legs of the person behind them) now each person had their own backrest, the only drawback that each log could now only seat 5.
In 2005, Splash Mountain received a refurbishment for Disneyland's 50th anniversary. In addition to a general refresh of paint and Audio-Animatronics, the ride seating was modified again. Each log can now seat 6 passengers, with a modified seat in the back to accomodate wider guests.