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Video went viral yesterday from a woman named Skyelar Ingersoll who was visiting Walt Disney World for the first time with a group of friends when, just after Splash Mountain's big drop, the log became stuck and began to take on water. A Cast Member was on site quickly to assist in the glitch, and the cast member asks them to remain seated, but the group decides against that when the boat begins to take on more water, and eventually sinks. Check out the video below.
You can hear the voice of the Disney World cast member telling the people that getting out of the boat is a safety hazard, which is true, but then sitting in the sinking boat potentially is as well. While the water is actually only a foot or so deep, and so nobody is in danger of drowning, nobody really wants to sit in the water and get soaked either. Of course, if somebody were to fall while getting out of the boat at an unapproved location, injuries could potentially be much worse.
In case you've never ridden Splash Mountain, let me just assure you that the boat sinking is really not part of the ride. Whatever else might be happening, the boat is supposed to be, you know, a boat, and stay afloat even if other problems occur.
It's unclear at this point exactly what happened to cause the boat sinking. A number of ideas been floating around the Disney Twitter-sphere. Lap bars were added to the boats a number of years ago which made the weight distribution of the ride vehicle a little different, and so it just could have been a random weight problem. If the flaps that allow the vehicle to drain the water that it normally takes on became somehow blocked, the boat would obviously fill with water.
Last week Splash Mountain was completely drained of water for maintenance that had not been previously announced. It's possible the boat sinking was a lingering problem from whatever was being worked on then, or perhaps an indication that the work being done is incomplete.
Skyelar Ingersoll and her friends have been vocal in their displeasure with the initial cast member who asked them to stay in the boat, however, in an interview with OrlandoHols.com, Skyelar was much more complimentary of the other Walt Disney World cast members they spoke with after the incident. It's unclear what, if anything, the resort is doing for the group as an apology for the incident, but Walt Disney World frequently will throw some sort of accommodation at anybody who has been unreasonably inconvenienced.