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Safety concerns for Disneyland’s Splash Mountain

LA Times

Original Article »

January 22, 2008

Disneyland has raised the height requirement for the Splash Mountain log flume ride to one of the highest levels in the amusement park industry out of concerns for rider safety.

The “temporary height restriction” for the front seat of Splash Mountain has been raised from 40 inches to 60 inches so the Anaheim theme park can “evaluate options to improve comfort and safety,” Disneyland spokesman Rob Doughty said in a written statement.

MiceAge columnist David “Darkbeer” Michael reported that small children who sometimes duck under the front of the hollow log have been injured. Disneyland’s Doughty said no specific incident triggered the “short term” change on the restraintless ride.

No other attraction at Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure has a height restriction over 54 inches, the same requirement for the most extreme amusement park rides, according to Roller Coaster Database.

“A five-foot height requirement on anything less than an extreme roller coaster is absurd,” said Robert Niles, who runs the Theme Park Insider website that tracks amusement park accidents.

Based on the Disney movie “Song of the South,” Splash Mountain takes riders through faux swamps, inhabited by animatronic characters that cavort and sing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” before sending them 50 feet down a 45-degree drop at 40 mph.

Built in 1989, the Disneyland attraction can accommodate four to six riders who straddle bench seats in a single file. The Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland versions of Splash Mountain, both built in 1992, feature log flumes that seat eight riders in four separate rows.

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