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Disney World Orlando Florida - Attraction: Big Thunder Mountain

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8 Reviews

In the midst of landscape designed to resemble Monument Valley sits the 197' butte that is the centerpiece of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Set during the gold rush days in the flooded mine town of Tumbleweed, this runaway mine car roller coaster features 20 Audio-animatronic figures including donkeys, chickens, possums, and the rainmaker himself, Professor Cumulus Isobar.

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    8 Reviews
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      08.12.2013 19:38
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      A good Magic Kingdom ride.

      Big Thunder Mountain is a ride in Magic Kingdom (Florida). There is also a version of the same ride in Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland California. This is one of the parks most popular rides and was first opened in 1980. It can be found in 'Frontierland' next to an attraction called Splash Mountain. As with all the rides in Magic Kingdom you don't have to pay to ride Big Thunder Mountain as the price for rides is included in the entry fee.

      You can't miss Big Thunder Mountain as it is set on a huge orange/red rock and as the ride is in constant use trains go by every minute or so. The story behind the ride is that a gold was discovered on Big Thunder Mountain way back in the late 1880's and a mining company soon got involved. They dug out tunnels and set up tracks for their mine trains unknowing that the mountain was in fact cursed by native Americans. Before long the mountain and nearby town got hit by flash floods and was abandoned. Many years later the mountain was discovered with the mine trains racing around the tracks without passengers or a driver. The train is also commonly referred to as 'the runaway train' for this reason. I must say, not much attention is paid to the back story, I only know about it because I read about it!

      The rock which the ride spirals around looks quite authentic (it's supposed to look like mid to late 19th century red rock formations of the American Southwest) but is quite obviously man made. The rocks (and the queueing area) are covered by old wooden barrels, empty wagons, lanterns, rusty wheels and cogs, cactus etc. The front of the train looks like an old steam train and has 5 carriages which hold 15 rows of seats. Each row of seats usually seats 2 passengers (but I think there might be room for 3?) which means up to 30 passengers can ride per train (or maybe up to 45 if my suspicions are correct).

      Big Thunder Mountain is a classic and very popular Disney attraction which means there are usually big queues for it. The queue can spiral round for hours. This is not a ride I would personally be happy queueing more than half an hour for, but is a classic and therefore a 'must do'. My advise would be to use the Disney Fastpass service. The Fastpass service allows you to jump right to the front of queues. You need to look for the Fastpass distribution machine which is situated near the entrance of the ride and pop your park ticket into the machine. You'll then be issued with a Fastpass ticket with a time to return to the attraction on it. When you return to the attraction you will enter a separate Fastpass entrance where queueing times will usually be less than 10 minutes (sometimes you can jump straight on the ride). Fastpasses come at no extra cost and you can use them as many times as you like. I definitely advise taking advantage of this service. Another way to avoid queues is to leave this ride until the very end of the day (or at the very beginning) - this is when people start leaving the park and all the rides have small or no queues.

      When you get to the front of the queue you have to line up at separate gates (according to which row of seats you will be sitting in), when the train pulls in and the other passengers get off the gates open and you can board the train. The restraint is in the form of a lap bar which automatically lowers. The train pulls away and goes inside a dark cave. The train then goes up a steep hill and as you reach the top of the hill it looks as though you are going to go through a small waterfall but instead the water goes down either side of the train and you don't get wet. There's plenty of twists and turns, plus many more hills and tunnels to go up and down (and the higher the hill the faster you come down again!). After the first minute it does seem a little 'samey' but is still lots of fun.

      Big Thunder Mountain is a rollercoaster but does not have any loops and does not go upside down. It is not a scary ride but it does go quite fast - up to 35 miles per hour. The duration of the ride lasts around 3 minutes which is about average. The track is very windy and dippy which means the ride is quite jolty and can throw you around a bit, therefore the ride is not suitable for very young children (unless they are over 1.2 metres tall), elderly people, pregnant women, and those with weak hearts and back problems! The ride is best suited to adults, older children, teenagers and families. Extreme thrill seekers probably won't be too impressed. This is a good family ride (my daughter who's 6 years old loved it) and good for those who like thrills but not white knuckle rides! I have visited Disneyland Paris on a few occasions and I have to say the Paris version is very slightly better - it seems to climb (and drop) a lot more hills (plus there is a part where you speed through water!). Don't get me wrong though, the Magic Kingdom version is still good fun.

      I recommend riding this at least once if you are visiting Magic Kingdom.

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        02.01.2011 15:30
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        The wildest ride in the park

        Big Thunder Mountain is known as one of the "Three Mountains" in the Magic Kindom, Florida. (The others being Splash Mountain and Space Mountain). It is essentially a run away mine train type ride, that takes you through sharp turns, steep hills and drops and has some interesting scenery along the way.

        Big Thunder Mountain is one of the Magic Kingdoms most popular attractions and as a result can get pretty busy, especially in peak times. I would suggest wither getting their early or get a Disney fast pass to reduce your queuing time.

        The background story to the ride is that this was a thriving mining town that suffered from a Flash Flood. Some years later Mine trains were found to be running around the tracks on their own without a driver. As such the queue area is themed like an abandoned mining office. There are various artefacts on the walls to take your attention away from the long queue.

        Seats are generally for 2 people, but if your slim enough you can get 2 adults and a small child in one row. As soon as the riude starts you are thrown into darkness and the first of many sharp turns. You then go up a steep hill before the ride takes you through the mountains on a series of sharp twists and turns, hills and drops. The ride is pretty fast and can be quite bumpy but its all great fun.

        Although its hard to pay attention when the ride is wizzing about do try to look at some of the things around the ride track - for example near the end there is a man sitting in the batyh reading a news paper and when you climb up through the cave you will see lots of baths on the wall (you have to do this ride at night to see them I think).

        I think this is a really long ride for a theme park and it makes it well worth the queue. My favourite time to go on this is when it is dark. The ride is fast and bumpy and therefore may not be suitable for some people, but it is one of the most fun attractions in the park in my opinion.

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          12.04.2010 14:46
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          A must do ride as long as the queues aren't too long.

          Big Thunder Mountain is basically a runaway mine train type roller coaster. It doesn't go too fast and the drops aren't huge, the thrill comes mostly from the rattling, tilting and shaking as you travel through the fake abandoned mine.

          As with all Disney rides it is very well themed with lots of detail. If you can ride with your eyes open there's plenty to look out for including the elusive Hidden Mickeys. You will have to ride it quite a few times to see all the detail but it is, worth it.

          You board the train and sit in little carts like you would expect to see in a gold mine and after some banter and sometimes singing from the cast members the train sets off. On your journey you encounter falling rocks, an earthquake, various animals and, if you can spot him, a man in a bath. It is fairly tame and would appeal to youngsters and older people as the entertainment is more visual than from high speeds and thrills. A way of making it more exciting is to ride it in the dark. This ride doesn't scare me when I can see what's coming but I rode it in the dark one night and the anticipation had me screaming.

          It is a very popular ride so during peak times you may experience long queues. However, this attraction has the fastpass facility so you can pick up a pass then return at your allotted time and bypass the regular queue. I have only ever visited during quieter times of the year and the longest I have waited for this ride was half an hour. That seemed like a very long wait to me but sometimes people queue for up to two hours! It's a good ride but I wouldn't recommend waiting that long as the ride only lasts about three and half minutes.

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            25.02.2010 21:01
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            Go for it!

            Thunder mountain is a family rollercoater set in the frontierland section
            of the Magic Kingdom, Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida.

            Magic Kingdom is a childs heaven, but within it there are small elements of
            grown up fun.... And thunder mountain is one of them.

            Its basically set around a huge sand coloured mountain - and the theme of the ride is a runaway mine train. The first carriage is right behind the
            front of the train, and each subsequent cart is a carriage. Passengers sit
            in twos, side by side, and are secured by a lap belt.

            This ride does not go upside down, but it does go in and out of dark
            tunnels and you do get shook about abit so be warned if your taking kids on it. It has a height restriction of 102cm though so if your child is tall
            enough to ride then its likely that they will like it.

            Because the magic kingdom doesn't really have any massive rollercoasters in it - the queue for this can be huge (think hours, not minutes) - however Disney do offer a fast pass scheme where you can insert your Disney ticket into a machine stood just outside the ride and it will give you and allotted time to return with minimal queuing. The only downside of this is that you have to actually go to the ride to get the fastpass, and in a park as big as the magic kingdom that can be completely out of your way.

            If you are hitting the magic kingdom - take some time for yourself and ride big thunder mountain!

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            24.01.2010 11:01
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            If you're looking for family fun with a bit high speed thrown in then its for you

            This coaster can be found in the Magic Kingdom, in frontier land, and is part of their 'mountain range' namely thunder mountain, splash mountain and space mountain.

            Big thunder mountain in terms of real coasters is quite tame, only reaching speeds of about 30mph, so is a great introduction to coasters, or when kids are getting tired of the kiddie coasters, but for me who has a fear of them all, I found this quite exhilarating, I screamed all the way round. Just to note, this does not go upside down, which I was quite relieved to find out. There are no huge drops that you would associate with regular coasters only mild dips, but its enough.

            The theme of this coaster is superb, its supposedly reminiscent of the old west, with turns and twist through caverns, mountains, avalanches and floods. That is if you keep your eyes open and stop the screaming, which I never managed to do.

            Try to get a fast pass if you can as queues can be quite long during the day. This gives you the opportunity to visit other attractions and come back at your designated time. Try riding at night for a different experience.

            To sum up, a great beginner coaster for all ages, but if you are looking for fast , furious and a whole load of upside down then try the coasters at universal studios.

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              10.01.2010 23:32
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              A real good little coaster

              Another great classic ride in Magic Kingdom in Disney World, Orlando, Florida, this is another must ride! Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is situated at the far end of Frontierland, past Splash Mountain.

              Big Thunder Mountain Railroad takes you through caverns and mountains etc all reminiscent of the Old West. There are caves, a waterfall, dinosaur bones and sulfur pools - just some of the scenery you will see on the ride.

              Speeds can reach up to 30 miles per hour. There are no big drops but a few little ones to get you off your seat! As a result, loose items such as hats, and glasses should be removed and secured.

              For the "wildest ride" request a seat in the back rows. For tamer rides, request a seat in the front of the train.

              As with all the classic rides, queues can get qute long so make sure to get there early or take full advantage of the Disney Fast Pass for this ride.

              Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is lovely at night so if you get a chance, try to have a ride after dark. When the parades or fireworks are on it gets a little less busy!

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              20.11.2009 00:24
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              I have been to Disney World Florida twice and plan to return this March, this will be one of the 1st things I go to, its just part of the Disney experiance and is something that everyone (even the rollar coaster scardy cats) can do together. Also I have been to Euro Disney 4 times where this ride is also present, and its just one of our familys favourite rides in the park.

              Big Thunder Mountain is located in Frontier land in Disney World Florida and has been there since the start of the 1980s, this ride lasts for about 3-4 minutes, and while you are on it you take a cart down into the gold mines.

              Its a great fun ride that is a big part of our Disneyland holidays, however one thing I dislike about this ride is the massive queue times, sometimes there is up to a 2 hr wait so its best to get a fast pass as even these queues can last up to an hour.

              This ride doesnt really feel very fast or scary, after doing a bit of research I found out it does a max speed of 30mph, there are no loops or inversions, there is however some darkness in some of the mines that you venture though though nothing that would disturb children too much.

              This is a really great wild west themed rollar coaster and is reccommended if you get the chance to visit Disneyland, also you get your picture taken on this ride that you can then purchase for around $10 outside the ride, its a great souvienuer and comes in a lovely photo frame.

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              12.11.2009 19:06
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              fun but rough

              Big Thunder Mountain, Disney, Orlando.


              This run away train roller coaster ride can be found in Disney's Magic Kingdom to the back of Cinderella's castle which is the centre point of this amazing theme park come wonderland in Orlando, Florida.

              The park is divided into what Disney refers to as seven lands these are all based on different themes, Big Thunder Mountain is in Frontier land which is themed on the Wild West and Southern charms of old time USA.

              We have visited the park many times over the years and now find it very easy to navigate our way around and get the best out of it without ruining the day queuing etc, this is where Disney's Fast Pass system comes into its own. We make a point of getting into the parks as soon as they open and although there are thousands of others with the same idea you will benefit by beating the massive crowds that build up by mid day. Unless you can guarantee you are the first ones to reach this ride, go and pick up a Fast Pass as the queue are well hidden and can be huge.

              The Fast pass is a fantastic idea and simple to use, take your gate pass to the Fast Pass machine by the side of the ride entrance and simply put it in the machine which will give it straight back and issue another ticket for the ride with an allotted time slot of around 1 hour, this return time will depend how busy the ride is and later in the day they do run out on the most popular rides. You are then allowed to access the ride through a separate queue that often takes you less than five minute, compare that to the hours people are in the standard queue for and it you cant believe how few people use this system.

              After getting this ticket we normally go and do a less popular ride or show whilst waiting for our return time. A very big tip from me is when the time comes for the start of your return you can go and get another Fast Pass for another ride before you go on Thunder Mountain, not many people realise this and it works brilliantly as when you come off one ride you can repeat this around the park on Fast Pass rides and as we have found go on all the best rides without a single major queue.


              It is also worth knowing that Magic Kingdom is quietest on Wednesdays and Fridays, believe me this does make a difference I know a friend that went the same week we went a few years back and despite my advising him not to he went on a Monday (busiest as it is the first park everyone wants to visit on arriving in Orlando)
              And he said the queues and crowds made them leave early without seeing much, we went on the Wednesday used Fast Passes and enjoyed a great day without any major crowds.

              Well that's that out of the way now for the ride itself, you enter Big Thunder Mountain through a building that is based on an old abandoned mine filled with very clever scenery, if you were in the standard queue and it is busy you will be in here for along time and although it is shaded and dark in areas it is also very hot in summer even with the ceiling fans running. When you do get to the front of the queue you will notice there are two trains running, they go on the same track but load and unload on different sides to keep queue down.

              Upon boarding the train carriage (a small open top car) you will be seated in pairs and a lap bar is pulled down to stop you falling out. As the ride suggests a run away steam train then pulls you out of the mine building into the day light and then begins your thrills as you are plunged through a series of drops, swoops, and tilts which are quit severe, this ride is one of my wife's favourites and she love the big thrill rides and huge roller coaster's and although I enjoy it I must say it is a bit uncomfortable and it really does throw you from side to side and up and down quite hard at times.

              If you manage to keep your eyes open there are some great props and scenery to be seen as you scream your way around the mine, look out for the donkeys and what I think are Possums ? Hanging from an old tree stump. The train seems to build up a lot of speed as it hurtles out of control through the rocky mountain before finally slowing and returning to the mine station where with somewhat shaky legs you are asked to disembark.

              Although this isn't one of the scariest of roller coasters with no huge drops or inversions it offers some great thrills due to its tight turns and speeds as well as being a fun to look at as you ride.

              There are height restrictions of 3ft 4in / 101cm.

              I give it 6 out of 10 for thrills and the same for interest design and scenery.


              A great fun ride if a little rough on the back as it is not the smoothest.
              If you decide to ride take a Fast Pass.

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