- The sun, which is at it’s highest and hottest point at noon, heats and melts the grease on the tracks of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to its thinnest point as the day wears on, and thus the train goes faster in the afternoon. The ride’s average speed it about 30 MPH, but can reach speeds of up to 33 MPH, which is faster than Space Mountain! Be sure to sit in the back of the train if you want to the ride to feel even faster!
- Howdy, folks! Please keep your hands and arms inside the train, and remain seated at all times… ’cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness! Enter the Big Thunder Mining Company’s headquarters as you prepare for your wild train ride through the rocky Southwest on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!
- Listen to the safety spiel as you board your train… Does that voice sound familiar? If you visit the American Adventure in World Showcase, it should. It is that of Dallas McKennon, who also provides the voice of Benjamin Franklin.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad took its first wild ride in Disneyland on September 2, 1979. It opened a little more than a year later in Walt Disney World on September 23, 1980, was followed by Tokyo Disneyland’s premiere on July 4, 1987, and finally opened in Disneyland Paris on April 12, 1992.
- There are five ride cars pulled by one engine on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you want to look at the incredible theming and scenery, the front car is for you. Want a really wild ride? Take a seat in the back rows!
- Oh, and here’s a little tip… If you time it just right, you can get on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with little or no wait when the nighttime fireworks start in the Magic Kingdom. At almost 100 feet above the ground, you can get a spectacular view of the show from the top of the 197-foot mountain… right before your runaway train plummets down the steep drop!
- OK, if you had $17,000,000.00 in your bank account in 1979, what could you buy yourself? Let’ see… you could buy 113,333,333 stamps, 19,318,181 gallons of gas, and would have to work for about 6,093,189 hours (at $2.79 per hour) to make it! Or, you could just have one heck of a roller coaster built in your backyard. (More than $300,000.00 of that money was spent on authentic props and decorations alone!).
- Or, to put it another way, building Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in 1979 cost as much as it did to build all of Disneyland for its 1955 opening!
- Although the original Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, located in Disneyland, was inspired by the scenery at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Walt Disney World’s (as well the ones in Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Pairs) were created to resemble scenery in Monument Valley in Arizona.
- The story behind the attraction is that greedy gold prospectors where plundering the hills of Wyoming’s "Big Thunder Mountain," which at one time was sacred Indian burial ground. An ancient Indian legend warned of disaster if anyone tried to remove gold from the mountain. Ignoring the warning, the miners took the train down into the deep mines, where Indian spirits took control of the mine cars and spun it out of control. The miners were never heard from again. Some time later, an earthquake destroyed most of the mine, and as the disasters continued, the miners and visitors to the town of Tumbleweed quickly vanished. Now, only a few residents remain, but the legend of Big Thunder lives on.
- What town does the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction take place in? "The tiny town of Tumbleweed" is mentioned on The Disney World Railroad as you pass by Big Thunder Mountain, and you pass through the the deserted, flooded mining town during an earthquake.
- Each of the six trains on the Big Thunder Mountain railroad are named. The names of the trains are: I.M. Brave, I.M. Fearless., I.B. Hearty, U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, and U.R. Courageous.
- The real antique mining equipment on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction cost over $300,000.00.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
About Lou Mongello
Lou Mongello is a former attorney who left the practice to pursue his passion, and is now a recognized Disney expert, author, speaker, and host of WDW Radio. Learn more…