Oh the glorious days of Disney Television Specials. That was an era that has since been long lost. The most we get now is the Disney Parks Christmas Special, but even that lacks heart and now just serves as artists performances that ends up being dry and not memorable.
So now let’s take a step back into the 1980s and those golden days and the premiere of the newest attraction at the time and Splash Mountain and ERNEST GOES TO SPLASH MOUNTAIN. This was a time when Disney heavily promoted new attractions in such a way you felt you needed to get there to see them. It was also a time of new attractions that were based on actual Disney productions, not purchased property. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Star Wars Land, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, but Disney is lacking that true Disney feel and its more a turn toward a Universal Studios Feel. But back to the topic at hand and Splash Mountain.
Splash Mountain is an attraction based on the characters from Disney’s 1946 Live Action / Animated Classic Song of the South. It is here we follow Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, Brer Fox and more as we journey on a dark flume ride with songs, characters and ultimately dropping down a waterfall into the briar patch. In essence it is a true Disney experience at the parks. So it is no surprise that at the time they wanted to promote this newest addition and they got the help from the funny man himself Ernest P. Worrell (aka Jim Varney) to take a test ride down the falls.
The build up is simple, Ernest prepares to be one of the first to ride Splash Mountain as a test subject and along the way they discuss how the attraction was made, how Walt Disney Imagineering came up with the idea, and what to expect. Ernest continues to make us laugh, smile, and take us into the time of simple humor that didn’t need to be rude, crude, or mean, just down home simple fun.
I vividly recall seeing this special, along with many others at the time, and even set my VCR to record it. In recent years I have even transferred over many of these specials to DVD and Digital for my own library of lost gems to show my children and a new generation.
So take a trip back to a simple time, great television, and gather as a family to watch the uncovering of the newest Disneyland Attraction.