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Ride Guide – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
A classic Disney World ride and a definite must do for your Disney holiday, Big Thunder Mountain is a great coaster. Set in Frontier Land of the Magic Kingdom, it is set at one of the furthest places in the park from the main entrance and very close to Splash Mountain. If these two rides are high on your priorities when you visit the Magic Kingdom, then it is definitely worth heading to this area early. You can either walk or take the steam train which goes around the circumference of the park, the first stop after Main Street Station is Frontier Land. Due to the two big ticket rides being so close together, it is definitely worthwhile using the Fastpass system to try to ride one ride, while holding Fastpasses for the second one.
Set in an abandoned gold mine in the American Southwest, the mine trains of Big Thunder Mountain were discovered running themselves . . . dare you ride them?
As with every ride in Disney, the theming is superb. Descending through the station, you climb into your train car, sitting side by side on a bench seat with a lap bar as a restraint. As you pull away from the station you head through a few twists and turns inside some caverns of the mines. You slowly clank up an incline towards a waterfall at the top of the hill, pouring over the train. As you come out from under the waterfall, you head outside and into a series of fast turns and straights past some of the abandoned mine. The track has been excellently designed to give a real feeling of being on a rickety train track, especially over a bone shaking section where the train wobbles from left to right.
There is a second ascent outside, climbing to the highest point in the ride and offering great views down and an opportunity to wave towards any friends and family that may be watching for you. More twists and turns beckon!
Slowing down to head back into the mines the train gains some height again for the second and gentler section of the ride. As you climb uphill again, watch out, though, as the tracks look like they have been ripped apart! Do you make it back to the station? Well . . . you’ll need to ride to find out!
The scenery of the Southwestern rocks is simply beautiful, and the ride looks like it has been built right into the landscape of the mountain. This is just simply something Disney does so well. Even if you take the Liberty Bell steamboat ride and can see the back of the ride, the theming is continued right throughout.
This is not the most raucous roller coaster, so good for the more timid coaster rider and does not involve any loops, corkscrews or inversions, so a great introduction to more serious coasters for younger riders.
Minimum Height – 40 inches (102 cm)
FastPass – Yes
Single Rider – No
Location – Magic Kingdom, Frontier Land, near Splash Mountain
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