Thursday, March 15, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Recently I rode Splash Mountain and, after being stuck on it for an hour and a half, I decided to re ride and write down a majority of the things I saw that were wrong with the attraction.
First Lift Hill: Right from the beginning of the attraction problems are evident. After the safety spiel as you ascend the first lift hill you meet Br’er Frog on the left. Not only is he not synced to his audio, his mouth barely moves. All of his movements are short and jittery. Not a good way to start the attraction.
First Show Scene: This is the first indoor area and it comes in right after the first big drop (Slippin’ Falls). My first major problem here is lighting. This scene is supposed to take place on a bright sunny day in Br’er Country, So why is it so dark? Lighting for this scene, and much of the attraction, is not fulfilling its main purpose, which is to let you be able to see things! The things you can see are not much better. Many functions of the animatronics are broken, such as eye movement, resulting in droopy-eyed characters that frankly look pretty creepy.
The paint on the wall is dull and is in desperate need of a new coat. Lighting continues to be a problem as half of Br’er Rabbits house is totally lit up, and half remains in the dark. On your left side you see the Porcupine playing the drums on a turtle and a Raccoon playing a harmonica. The audio here is not synced with the rest of the ride, creating an echoing effect and destroying the illusion that all of the animals are singing together. Up ahead comes the illusion of Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear chasing Br’er Rabbit over the hill. This is accomplished by using a technique called projection mapping. Usually, it looks really awesome, but as of late, the image is blurry, not mapped properly (they’re running either through the solid hill or on the sky) and sometimes I even see snow! That’s right, snow. Like on your TV when there’s no signal. Snow. Then comes the little rabbit who says something like “Looks like Br’er Rabbit is in trouble again.” His speaker is totally blown so his audio has a demonic quality to it. It’s actually kind of terrifying. As you pass through this scene you hit the Br’er rabbit jumping effect, which is pretty cool, IF it’s synced to your boat. Every time I ride it he jumps either way early or I have to turn around to watch him do it.
The Cave: After the short beehive scene we find ourselves in the cave filled with stalagmites and stalactites….I think…Anyways, this room is my favorite because it has my favorite thing ever! Laminar jumping fountains! You can see these in many places in Walt Disney World, like outside of the Imagination pavilion at Epcot. These streams of water bounce all around the room and over your head, missing you by inches! Or do they? Nope they don’t. In fact, almost all of the water effects in this room currently do not work. On your right side you see some turtles who are supposed to be floating on a stream of water. This effect is just a hydraulic lift pushing the turtles up and down. A stream of water conceals the mechanisms so the integrity of the show isn’t ruined and illusion is maintained. Right? RIGHT?!
I guess not. After you pass these broken effects you start you climb up to the climax of the climb, Br’er Fox’s Lair. Now usually there is a really cool projection of Br’er Fox up on the wall behind Br’er Rabbit, much like the projection of Br’er Rabbit in the queue. Most of the time, the projection is off, and when it is on, its dim and out of focus.
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da: After your five-story plunge into the Br’er Patch, you enter the steam boat scene. The animatronics on this boat are never really articulate and as of late, I have noticed more and more failures of the singing swans. Many time I’ll see them and they’ll be in what I like to call “seizure mode”. Their eyes roll back and they violently shake. It’s not pretty. And finally as you turn the corner and look above Br’er Rabbits house, you notice that the moon is no longer luminescent.
Now you might be saying: “Wow. Alyx is WAY to picky!”. And you’d be right in saying that I have an eye for things that 90% of guests won’t even notice. But I hold Disney to a much higher standard than other parks I visit. To me, it is Disney’s job as a storyteller to not only create the illusion, but also to maintain it. Every one of these problems is fixable with a little effort on Disney’s part. As of the time of this writing, Disney has backed themselves into a corner regarding Frontierland. Right now, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is currently in a large refurb and won’t reopen until May of 2012. So that means they cannot really work on Splash until that time. Unfortunately this ride goes under the category of “Things Disney should fix, but its not really a priority because guests will ride it either way”, much like the Yeti in Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest. I just hope that Disney realizes how important these minor details actually are and put the time, effort, and money into fixing this attraction.