Those who ride down the flumes of Splash Mountain might notice a new addition to the ride’s accoutrements – lap bars.
Splash Mountain is one of Walt Disney World’s oldest attractions, standing proudly in the Magic Kingdom for eighteen years. The ride itself sports 64 log flumes, which take the riders up and down the rides for a rapid thrill that usually ends in a soaking. It’s remained one of Walt Disney World’s most loved and popular rides, despite the influx of newer attractions that have constantly been vying for visitors’ attention over the years.
The new lap bars are intended to keep passengers in their seats throughout the course of the ride. While the ride itself has sustained relatively few injuries as a result of the lack of lap bars, there was one well-publicized incident in 2000 where a man tried to exit the ride before it stopped and was struck by a log flume going in the opposite direction. The man died from his injuries.
The main reason why Disney has waited so long to put lap bars in the Splash Mountain ride is mainly due to concerns about capacity and loading time. Before technology in ride safety had advanced to the point where it is today, lap bars would have slowed ride loading time and also lessened the ultimate capacity of the flumes. And as Disney World sees millions of visitors each year and Splash Mountain is a top attraction, time and capacity are of utmost importance.
However, Disney says that the new lap bars shouldn’t affect loading or capacity in any way, and will only help visitors enjoy the ride while being a little bit safer.