Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Frontierland Magic Kingdom
"Hang onto your hats and glasses, folks, cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!" And with that, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened on September 23, 1980 and celebrated its Grand Opening on November 15, 1980.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is situated at the far end of Frontierland, past Splash Mountain.
The queue area takes you into the headquarters of the Big Thunder Mining Co. It was converted into an interactive queue in 2012, with more props and details to look at, to keep you entertained while you wait. There are cranks to turn and plungers that detonate blasting caps — you can even see the explosions along when you look out at the mountain! (See the video above for the entire queue and ride — with spoilers!)
You enter converted ore cars for your journey… but wait, there is NO conductor! Too late, you are off for a 3-1/2-minute ride into the wilderness!
The theming is a Southwestern landscape, reminiscent of the wind swept features found in Arizona's Monument Valley. Caves, grottos, a waterfall, big horned sheep, a spiral butte, dinosaur bones and sulfur pools are just part of the scenery you will encounter on your ride.
Speeds can reach 24-30 miles per hour so the centrifugal force as you round the turns will pull you from one side to the next.
There are no serious drops on this ride (nothing like Splash Mountain) but there are three good dips that can put some air between you and your seat.
The main butte is 197.6 feet above sea level and 100 feet above ground.
Enjoy the music of the old west with songs like: Big Rock Candy Mountain (1885), Blue Tail Fly, (1846), Red River Valley (1896), Oh My Darling Clementine (1884) and more.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a FastPass+ attraction and it is highly recommended that you use it during peak times.
Loose articles, hats, and glasses should be removed and secured.
Each of the six trains has an engine and five cars. For the "wildest ride" request a seat in the back rows. For tamer rides, request a seat in the front of the train.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is beautiful at night; be sure and ride after dark if you have the chance.
Visitors in wheelchairs should continue past the entrance and go into the exit of the attraction to look for a Cast Member for boarding instructions. You will need to transfer from your wheelchair to a train car.
If you look closely at the second-story room of the saloon, you'll see a party going on.
Hidden Mickey Alert – Three rusty gears laying on the grass as you reenter the station.
Hidden Character Alert – "In the Magic Kingdom, walk to the exit from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Behind the fence (on the left side as you exit the ride), between two metal carts and behind a cactus is a cutout in the reddish rock that resembles a side profile of Tinker Bell. (Thanks to Jamie Holz, for directions to this Hidden Character)." Click on photo for more detail.
Children must be at least 40" tall to ride.
Pecos Bill's counter-service restaurant is located nearby. Also, open seasonally is the Golden Oak Outpost.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted at Disneyland on September 2, 1979. It opened at in the Magic Kingdom on September 23, 1980. Opened in Toyko Disneyland July 4, 1987 and in Disneyland Paris on April 12, 1992.
The names of the six trains are: U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty and I.M. Fearless.
There are 20 Audio-animatronics throughout the attraction including chickens, donkeys, possums, a goat, a long john-clad resident spinning through the flood in a bathtub, and a rainmaker whose name is Professor Cumulus Isobar.
Genuine antique mining equipment can be found around the 2.5 acre attraction. These pieces were purchased at various auctions throughout the Southwest and include a double-stamp ore crusher, an ore-hauling wagon, and an old ball mill used to extract gold from ore.
Dallas McKennon recorded the "Hang onto Your Hats and Glasses" announcement that is played just before you leave the station. Dallas also provided the voice for Benjamin Franklin in Epcot's American Adventure.
The attraction covers over two acres and rises almost 200 feet above sea level. It was inspired by Monument Valley, Arizona.
Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter led the team for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a minor rehab in October 2007. Sound systems were enhanced along with minor painting and minor upgrades.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a lengthy rehab in 2012, including the addition of a new interactive queue.