Located in Frontierland of the Magic Kingdom, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is hard to miss, even if you aren’ t looking for it. Designed to appear like Utah’s Bryce Canyon, the mountain is home to the “wildest ride in the wilderness.”
Originally planned for the early 1970’s, construction of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad did not begin until the late 70’s with Walt Disney World’s version opening in 1980, about one year later than its Disneyland counterpart. The delay in construction might have been a plus for the roller coaster as it ended up being one of the first rides Disney ever used computer-aided-design on.
Guests willing to board the ride enter an abandoned mining town called Tumbleweed located within the mountain. Legend tells that the mountain is sacred to the Native Americans, but the miners still pursued the gold riddled throughout it. Catastrophe strikes in the form of a flood preventing more gold from being mined.
With the spirits free to take over possession, the trains are seen to be racing around without crew. Now brave passengers are allowed to board the runaway trains which careen in and out of the hillside making for a very entertaining (but still surprisingly mild) ride.
All said and done, the ride consists of three main lifts which gives the ride vehicle (consisting of five cars each with three rows for seating and a engine and caboose) enough height to get up to 30 mph on its journey. The ride takes approximately 3:25 and goes 2780 feet.
The ride tends to be extremely popular so peak wait times can be quite long. Consider riding early in the morning or during parades which decreases the queue. Fasspasses are also available for the roller coaster.
Thanks to woodencoasterfan for providing the video shown above.