Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a mine train roller coaster that can be found in Frontierland at almost all Disney parks. The original opened at Disneyland park in 1979 and can now be found at Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. We will be discussing the Magic Kingdom version in this review.
Though the back story differs from park to park, the main theme is the same. Gold was discovered in the late 1800’s on Big Thunder Mountain and a mining town was settled unknowingly on sacred Indian land. A tragedy soon fell upon the mountain and the town was quickly abandoned. This varies from park to park (flash flood, earthquake or tsunami). Shortly after, the trains were seen racing around the mountain by themselves. The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was established at the old mining camp so that tourists could tour the mountain via the haunted trains.
“Hold on to your personal belongings, especially them hats and glasses – cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”
Your haunted mine train will whisk you through bat infested caves, under a waterfall and past the flooded town of Tumbleweed. There are a few short drops, but the thrill factor on this ride is owed to sharp turns and several parts of spiraling track. Keep an eye out for wildlife. There are goats, turtles, rattlesnakes and opossums, just to name a few.
There is no wrong time of day to experience Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The daytime view allows you to appreciate the mountain’s “natural” beauty. The Magic Kingdom design gives a nod to Arizona’s Monument Valley and you’ll find yourself convinced you are racing through a real mountain. After dark, the ride takes on a different feel. The lighting effects give the ride a spooky twist. If you time it right, you’ll be able to catch a view of the fireworks as you ride.
Height restriction: must be 40”
Duration of ride: 3:25 minutes
Fastpass+ available: Yes, and recommended
May be too intense for small children
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a must do for me. If I am in the park all day I will try to ride during the day and again at night – and if the line is short I am known to ride multiple times in a row. Definitely some of the best theming at Disney.
Big Thunder Mountain is a nostalgic ride for me. While it isn’t the craziest of roller coasters, it is still a lot of fun. I make sure it is on my list on each trip to Magic Kingdom.
Be sure to get a Fastpass+ for this attraction to avoid longer wait times during the busy season
Ask to sit in the back row for a slightly more intense ride
The standby line has a few things to play with. Look for a dynamite plunger – it triggers a reaction (water, an “explosion”) near the passing trains