Disney fans are bidding thousands of dollars to buy ‘authentic’ water from the controversial Splash Mountain ride after it closed
Fans of the Disney brand are known for being among the most passionate in the world, but now the gang is willing to spend thousands of dollars on water that sellers are claiming was taken from the final days of the Splash Mountain ride.
The flume-style attraction closed at Walt Disney's World's park in Orlando on Jan. 23 with crowds watching to mark its final journeys. Those looking to turn a profit from the closure moved fast, gathering as much merchandise as they possible could.
The ride is being shut for what Disney has called a "reimagining" of the experience, though it has been criticized in the past for having racist undertones as it is based on the controversial film Song of the South. Walter White, the former executive secretary of the the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, previously said the film "helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery."
The film isn't available on Disney+, with Disney's CEO Bob Iger saying it is “not appropriate in today’s world.”
Following the closure of Splash Mountain—which has seen Princess Diana among its visitors—items from bags to bottles of "Splash Mountain water" to watches and pins have begun appearing on eBay.
The authenticity of many items remains to be seen. One listing shows slightly blurry pictures of a plastic water bottle filled with water. On it is scrawled: "Splash Mountain water, Disney World, last day." The 16.9-ounce bottle at the time of writing had a current bid of $10,100.00.
There have been 39 bids on the item from six bidders, upping the price from the original starting point of $9.99. Whether or not the offers are in jest, the seller has listed the item as nonreturnable.
Other batches of water make explicit claims to be the real deal. One bag of water with "Certified" scrawled on it in black marker even comes with an apparent certificate.
The certificate reads: "Sealed jar containing water and rocks from Disney Worlds Splash Mountain. Artifacts collected at approximately 3pm from the ride." It lists the location as coordinates of 28.534483° N -81.411835* W, which relates to a location in Orlando. The certificate adds that the water was "personally recovered with the assistance of a park employee."
Among the listings do appear to be some bogus sells. Many of the offers include the same picture.
Some items have already been sold. A quick look through the listings of shipped items includes a small tub of water from a seller in Florida, which sold for $202. It sold the day after the ride closed and was sent to the United Kingdom. Another listing is for an eight-ounce jar of water from the "last day" of the ride. It sold for around $40 and was shipped internationally.
Other merchandise relating to the ride is also being listed for big bucks. Eight preowned Splash Mountain figures being sold in Japan are on sale for just over $711. An empty resealable plastic bag featuring the words "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is on sale for $13 in brand-new condition.
Analysis from Google shows that worldwide searches for "Splash Mountain merchandise" spiked by 43 index points from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22. Meanwhile searches for "Splash Mountain water" inflated 47 points from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21. The vast majority of the searches were from within the United States.
The ride will be "reimagined," wrote Michael Ramirez, public relations director at Disneyland Resort in June 2020, adding it will now be based on the film The Princess and the Frog.
The change comes after a turbulent time for Disney, as the brand was embroiled in a row over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill last year. Disney’s CEO at the time, Bob Chapek, faced backlash for not condemning the bill. When he finally did, the move began a feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who launched a plan to take control of the governing board for Disney’s sprawling Florida property—and make the entertainment giant assume $700 million in outstanding debt.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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