It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. It’s likely way cheaper to build 8 high tech animatronics than 80 medium tech like you see in Splash.Seems like Disney is moving away from attractions with lots of low-tech AAs (RotR notwithstanding) in favor of just a few high-tech AAs (hello Na'vi Shaman of Songs)+ screens. I'd love to see BOTH, actually- lots of little, low-tech AAs and a few, attention-grabbing lifelike ones (with maybe a subtle use of screens).
But the technology to run them is VERY different. The clicky-clacky of the electromechanical pneumatic/hydrolic systems have given way to the (quiet) whirring of electronics with tiny electric motors. The cost to build is much higher, but the cost to maintain the old AAs hardly seems worth it (hence a lot of broke-down mechanical AAs across the parks).
Splash Mountain has lots of AAs. There's no way they're going to maintain those AND add a new high-tech system for new AAs. There's also no way they're going to recreate all the old AAs but with modern technology. So I'm thinking a lot of those old AAs are destined for the scrap pile.
Which means that, overall, most of the more recent projects are middling experiences with 20 or 30 seconds of high points. They don’t even build sets and environments like they used to.
It’s sad, but that’s the era we’re in. Hopefully the next era is more like the ones of years past.