FANDOM


(Disneyland Paris version)
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|land = [[Frontierland (Disneyland)|Frontierland]]
 
|land = [[Frontierland (Disneyland)|Frontierland]]
 
|designer = Tony Baxter
 
|designer = Tony Baxter
|manufacturer = [[Walt Disney Imagineering]]
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|type = Steel Mine Train
 
|theme = Runaway mine train
 
|theme = Runaway mine train
 
|opened = [[September 2]], [[1979]]
 
|opened = [[September 2]], [[1979]]
|host = [[Wikipedia:Dallas McKennon|Dallas McKennon]]
 
|vehicle_type = Mine train
 
|vehicle_names = U.R. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Loco, I.B. Hearty, I.M. Fearless
 
|guests_per_vehicle = 30
 
|cars_per_vehicle = 5
 
|guests_per_car = 6
 
|duration = 3:21
 
|length = 2671
 
|attraction_height = 94
 
|track_height = 60
 
|speed = 36
 
|height_requirement = 40
 
|lift_count = 3 - two indoor and one outdoor
 
|custom_label_1 = Retired trains
 
|custom_value_1 = I.M. Brave (retired after 2003 incident)
 
 
|predecessor = [[Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland|Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland]]
 
|predecessor = [[Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland|Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland]]
|propulsion = Gravity, Chain Lift & LIM motors}}
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}}
 
{{Infobox Disney ride
 
{{Infobox Disney ride
 
|name = Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
 
|name = Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
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|park = [[Magic Kingdom]]
 
|park = [[Magic Kingdom]]
 
|land = [[Frontierland]]
 
|land = [[Frontierland]]
|manufacturer = [[Walt Disney Imagineering]]
 
 
|soft_opened = [[September 23]], [[1980]]
 
|soft_opened = [[September 23]], [[1980]]
 
|opened = [[November 8]], [[1980]]
 
|opened = [[November 8]], [[1980]]
|host = Dallas McKennon
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}}
|vehicle_type = Mine train
 
|vehicle_names = U.R. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty, I.M. Fearless
 
|guests_per_vehicle = 30
 
|cars_per_vehicle = 5
 
|guests_per_car = 6
 
|duration = 3:26
 
|length = 2780
 
|speed = 36
 
|height_requirement = 40
 
|lift_count = 4 - two indoor. one outdoor & 1 backstage
 
|custom_label_1 = Safety restraint
 
|custom_value_1 = lap bar
 
|track_height = 60
 
|attraction_height = 98
 
|propulsion = Gravity, Chain Lift & LIM motors}}
 
 
{{Infobox Disney ride
 
{{Infobox Disney ride
 
|name = Big Thunder Mountain<br>ビッグサンダー・マウンテン
 
|name = Big Thunder Mountain<br>ビッグサンダー・マウンテン
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|land = [[Westernland]]
 
|land = [[Westernland]]
 
|opened = [[July 4]], [[1987]]
 
|opened = [[July 4]], [[1987]]
|duration = 3:40
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}}
|height_requirement = 40
 
|sponsored_by = The Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company
 
|designer = Walt Disney Imagineering
 
|manufacturer = Walt Disney Imagineering
 
|guests_per_vehicle = 30
 
|cars_per_vehicle = 5
 
|guests_per_car = 6
 
|attraction_height = 98
 
|speed = 36
 
|lift_count = 3
 
|track_height = 60}}
 
 
{{Infobox Disney ride
 
{{Infobox Disney ride
 
|name = Big Thunder Mountain
 
|name = Big Thunder Mountain
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|park = [[Disneyland Park (Paris)]]
 
|park = [[Disneyland Park (Paris)]]
 
|land = [[Frontierland]]
 
|land = [[Frontierland]]
|manufacturer = Vekoma
 
 
|opened = [[April 12]], [[1992]]
 
|opened = [[April 12]], [[1992]]
|duration = 3:56
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}}
|height_requirement = 40
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'''Big Thunder Mountain Railroad''' is a [[Mine Train roller coaster|mine train roller coaster]] located in [[Frontierland]] at several [[Disneyland]]-style [[Disney Parks]] worldwide. The ride exists at [[Disneyland|Disneyland Park (California)]] and the [[Magic Kingdom]] at [[Walt Disney World Resort|Walt Disney World]] as ''Big Thunder Mountain Railroad'', and at [[Tokyo Disneyland]] and [[Disneyland Park (Paris)]] as '''Big Thunder Mountain'''. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is also the name of the fictional [[rail line]] the roller coaster depicts.
|lift_count = 4
 
|designer = Walt Disney Imagineering
 
|guests_per_vehicle = 30
 
|cars_per_vehicle = 5
 
|guests_per_car = 6
 
|track_height = 60
 
|speed = 36
 
|attraction_height = 104}}
 
'''Big Thunder Mountain Railroad '''(Big Thunder Mountain''' '''or simply Thunder Mountain''' '''for short) is a mine train roller coaster at [[Disneyland]] in [[Anaheim, California]], opened [[1979]]; [[Walt Disney World]]'s [[Magic Kingdom]] in [[Lake Buena Vista, Florida]], opened [[1980]]; [[Tokyo Disneyland]] in [[Wikipedia:Uryasu, Chiba|Uryasu]], [[Wikipedia:Chiba Prefecture|Chiba]], [[Wikipedia:Japan|Japan]], opened [[1987]]; and at [[Disneyland Resort Paris]]' [[Parc Disneyland|Disneyland Park]] in Marne-la-Vallée, France, opened [[1992]] (the only ride that opened together with the park). A [[Big Grizzly Mountain Coaster|similar attraction]] opened at [[Hong Kong Disneyland]] in [[2012]] in a land called [[Grizzly Gulch]] (which is part of the expansion).
 
   
 
==Theme==
 
==Theme==
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Although the details of the [[backstory]] vary from park to park, all follow the same general story arcs. Some time in the late 1800s, [[gold]] was discovered on Big Thunder Mountain in the [[American Southwest]]. [[gold rush|Overnight]], a small mining town became a thriving mining town (the name of the town varies from ride to ride. In the California ride, the town is known as Rainbow Ridge. In the Florida version, the town is known as Tumbleweed, and in Paris, the town is known as Thunder Mesa. Mining was prosperous, and an extensive line of mine trains was set up to transport the [[ore]]. Unknown to the settlers, the Mountain was a sacred spot to local [[Native Americans in the United States|Native Americans]] and was cursed.<ref name="Birnbaum">''Birnbaum's Disneyland Resort Official Guide 2003'', pg. 65, (c) 2003 Disney Editions</ref>
   
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is set in the American Southwest and follows the same general runaway train experience, though with varying back-stories and geological structure.
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Before long, the settlers' desecration of the mountain caused a great tragedy, which, depending on the park, is usually depicted to be an [[earthquake]] (in the Paris and California versions of the ride), a [[tsunami]] (in the Tokyo version of the ride), a [[flash flood]] (in the Florida version of the ride), which befell the mines and town, and the town was abandoned. Some time later, the locomotives were found to be racing around the mountain on their own, without engineers or a crew. The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was founded in the old mining camp to allow tourists to take rides on the possessed trains.
   
During the Gold Rush in the late 1800's, gold was discovered in Big Thunder Mountain and boomtowns sprung up nearby accordingly such as Rainbow Ridge ([[Disneyland]]), Tumbleweed and Dry Gulch ([[Magic Kingdom]]) and Thunder Mesa ([[Disneyland Park (Paris)|Disneyland Paris]]). A Mine Train system was established to transport the ore, but what the settlers didn't count on was that Big Thunder was sacred ground for local Indian tribes. The spirit of Big Thunder was not pleased with the gold being removed from the mountain and the towns and mining company suffered accidents from flooding (Magic Kingdom) and earthquakes (Disneyland, Disneyland Paris). The trains themselves began operating on their own, possessed by mischievous spirits. Though the towns promptly became abandoned when adventurous visitors still arrived to ride the haunted trains.
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In keeping with the theme, the station buildings on all four versions of the ride are designed to look as though they are the abandoned offices of a mining company from the mid to late 19th century. The mountains themselves are themed to the red rock formations of the [[Southwestern United States|American Southwest]]. The rock work designs in the California version are based on the [[hoodoo (geology)|hoodoos]] of [[Bryce Canyon National Park]] in [[Utah]]. In the Florida, Tokyo and Paris versions of the ride, the rockwork designs are based on the rising buttes that are located in Utah and [[Arizona]]'s [[Monument Valley]]. Special care was taken by the Imagineers to make it appear that the rocks were there originally, and the track was built around the rocks, unlike a number of earlier mine rides, which were built the other way around (by sculpting the rocks around the tracks).<ref name="Baxter Interview">{{cite web|title=Interview with Imagineer Tony Baxter|url=http://www.pizarro.net/didier/_private/interviu/baxter.html|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20120206025902/http://www.pizarro.net/didier/_private/interviu/baxter.html|archivedate=February 6, 2012}}</ref> The action of the ride takes place completely in the sagging, rotting tunnels of the mountain. In contrast to most [[steel roller coaster]]s, where the thrills come from the perception of flying through open air, the thrills on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are meant to come from the perceived instability of the mine and its threats of collapse. Sound effects of a typical locomotive operation are piped into the surrounding scenery to add realism to guests viewing the ride from observation platforms, including the steam whistle sounding, even though there is no whistle displayed on the locomotives.
   
=== Original Storyline ===
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==History==
When the scrapped [[Discovery Bay]] project was being developed by [[Tony Baxter]], a storyline was developed for Big Thunder Mountain that was never heard until a [[D23]] conference.
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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was designed by [[Walt Disney Imagineering#Imagineers|Imagineer]] [[Tony Baxter (imagineer)|Tony Baxter]] and ride design engineer Bill Watkins. The concept came from Baxter's work on fellow Imagineer [[Marc Davis (animator)|Marc Davis]]'s concept for the [[Western River Expedition]], a western-themed pavilion at the Magic Kingdom, designed to look like an enormous [[plateau]] and contain many rides, including a runaway [[Mine Train roller coaster|mine train roller coaster]]. However, because the pavilion as a whole was deemed too expensive in light of the 1973 construction and opening of [[Pirates of the Caribbean (theme park ride)|Pirates of the Caribbean]], Baxter proposed severing the mine train and building it as a separate attraction.
   
T''he highly imaginative tale includes the legend of a young inventor, named [[Jason Chandler]], who lived in a town called International Village during the peak gold rush years in the Big Thunder region-circa 1849. According to the chronicles, “…the young inventor devised a drilling machine with the capability of boring into the very heart of Big Thunder Mountain. There, the veins of gold ran so deep, it was rumored they could produce a mother lode that would bring a man enough wealth to last a hundred lifetimes and more.''
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The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad project was put on hold again in 1974 as resources and personnel were being diverted to work on constructing [[Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)|Space Mountain]] in [[Tomorrowland]], but this delay may have ultimately produced a smoother ride as the use of computers in attraction design was just beginning when the project was resumed. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was one of the first Disney rides to utilize [[computer-aided design]].<ref name="Baxter Interview"/> The attraction first opened at Disneyland in 1979, and the Magic Kingdom's larger version in Florida opened in 1980. Tokyo Disneyland's version opened in 1987 and Disneyland Paris opened with its version in 1992. The Paris version's layout and structure were mostly based on the Florida version of the ride, but with several significant differences.
   
''But a cave-in occurred on Big Thunder, burying 26 miners alive. They would have drawn their last breath then and there, had it not been for the inven¬tor and his laughable drilling machine. He burrowed down into the Earth’s core, rescuing the miners from certain death. It should have been a moment of joy and celebra¬tion, but as the men scrambled to the arms of safety, a massive earthquake shook the ground and a cavernous maw opened up, swallowing the inventor and his machine whole. “The miners, as well as the citizens of the village, struggled day and night against the mountain, trying to dig the young man from his living tomb. But they never saw him, or another nugget of gold, again. Big Thunder had taken its vengeance not only on the miners, but on their wealth as well. The mountain had gone bust, and it became just a matter of time before only ghosts resided there.''
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The revised European ride takes the form of a large island in the center of the [[Rivers of America (Disney)|Rivers of the Far West]], accessed from its riverside station by tunnels underneath the water. The attraction in Disneyland Paris is the only Big Thunder Mountain to have been an opening-day attraction at its park. [[Hong Kong Disneyland]] does not have a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction (or a western-themed [[Frontierland]], for that matter). However, [[Grizzly Gulch]] has a theme similar to Frontierland. The main attraction, [[Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars]], carries a similar theme to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
   
Jason Chandler's concept and name was eventually revived and became a member of the [[Society of Explorers and Adventurers]], unknown if the story is still true or not.
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===Timeline===
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* Early 1970s: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is conceived by Imagineer Tony Baxter for Walt Disney World, but it is put on hold due to the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean.
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* 1974: The project is put on hold again due to the construction of Space Mountain.
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* 1979: Construction begins on the ride at Disneyland.
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* September 2, 1979: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad officially opens at Disneyland.
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* November 15, 1980: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad officially opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
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* July 4, 1987: Big Thunder Mountain officially opens at Tokyo Disneyland.
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* April 12, 1992: Big Thunder Mountain officially opens at Disneyland Paris along with the park.
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* January 7, 2013: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closes at Disneyland for a refurbishment, to include an entire replacement of new track (similar to the Space Mountain refurbishment), new trains, new scenery, and new effects.
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* March 17, 2014: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopens at Disneyland.
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* November 2, 2015: Big Thunder Mountain closes at Disneyland Paris for a year-long refurbishment. Its reopening is scheduled for December 17, 2016.
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* August 8, 2016: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closes at Magic Kingdom for a 4-month refurbishment. Its reopening is scheduled for November 19, 2016.
   
=== "Miner Sam" Storyline ===
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===Tributes to predecessor===
Another story popped up in a book known as ''"The Miner Details of Big Thunder Mountain." ''In it was a story on how a clumsy miner named Sam experienced the haunted train ride by accidentally falling in one of it's cargo crates.
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At Disneyland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was built on the land the [[Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland]] used to occupy. Several tributes to the former attraction are present in the Disneyland version. A scaled-down Western town sits adjacent to the queuing lines and tracks near the station. A [[Western saloon]], [[hotel]], assayer's office and [[mercantile]] appear among the buildings. This is the village of Rainbow Ridge, which used to overlook the loading platform of the sedate Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland. Many of the animal animatronics throughout the attraction are animatronic animals from the previous attraction. Other allusions to the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland include the Rainbow Caverns (glowing pools of water by the first lift hill) and precariously balanced rocks in the third lift hill tunnel.
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The name of the ride itself, "Big Thunder", was originally the name of a large waterfall the old mine train passed on its tour. "Little Thunder" was located nearby.
   
''Things got mighty busted up and rusted down inside Big Thunder, so Sam told me while sluggin’ from a dusty bottle of Old Imagineer. He was the last prospector inside that mine. Fact is, poor old Sam took a spill and done landed belly up in one of them ore cars. Next thing he knows, the car takes off like a skinny coyote after a plump hen! Off he went, a headin’ fer the mine. Seems like that old ghost mine came to life for Sam. He swears the rusted winch engine was a pumpin’ and a wheezin’ and just when he was thinkin’ he must have bats in his belfry, there was bats! Then he sat up to see what he could see in the dark, and there was pools of rainbow water and waterfalls, and plenty of them rocks the schoolmarm calls “stalactites and stalagmites.”''
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===Name===
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At the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland, the ride is known by its full name of "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad". The Tokyo and Paris versions would drop the word "Railroad" in favor of the name "Big Thunder Mountain". Tokyo Disneyland's Big Thunder, which is almost identical to the Magic Kingdom's, opened in 1987, five years after the park opened. At Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, the name of the ride is sometimes shortened to "Big Thunder Mountain", "Thunder Mountain Railroad", or even just "Thunder Mountain".
   
''The walls of the canyon kept comin’ in closer and closer at old Sam and he yelled until he couldn’t yell no more. All of a sudden, the car thunders into a pitch dark tunnel, with Sam holdin’ on fer dear life. Comin’ back out the other side, he spots a couple a danged skunks foolin’ with blastin’ powder, like to blow the top off a whole derned mountain! Little ways away, danged if’n there ain’t a Billy goat chawin’ on a stick of the stuff! But Sam didn’t have no time to worry about that, ‘cuz next thing he knows he’s whip-pin’ down Spiral Butte and headin’ right back down into Big Thunder Mine. Sam figgered he was goin’ in and never comin’ out this time, with all that rumblin’ and shakin’ and rocks comin’ down all around him. He closed his eyes tight but the next thing ya know he was outside and high-ballin’ down on the track again, right over the Bear River Trestle Bridge. That ore car finally squealed to a stop right smack dab in the middle of Big Thunder Town. Sam just sat up, brushed off the dust and said, “I ain’t had this much of a whoop and a holler since the Grub Gang hit town. I just barely got out with my hide!”''
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===Kidney stones===
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In the October 2016 ''[[The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association|Journal of the American Osteopathic Association]]'', a paper entitled "Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster" was published.<ref name="Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal"/> The paper's author, Dr. Wartinger, found that patients of his had passed kidney stones after riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World on vacation, including one who passed three stones on three separate occasions. The doctor then tested this result, with the permission of Disney, with a 3D model of a kidney by riding the ride over 20 times. The study found nearly 70% of the time, the kidney stone was passed, with results varying depending on which row they were in.<ref name="Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal">{{cite journal|last1=Mitchell|first1=Marc A.|last2=Wartinger|first2=David D.|title=Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster|journal=The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association|date=1 October 2016|volume=116|issue=10|pages=647|doi=10.7556/jaoa.2016.128|pmid=27669068|url=http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2557373|issn=0098-6151}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|last1=Willingham|first1=AJ|title=Little kidney stone? Ride a roller coaster, says study|url=http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/28/health/kidney-stone-roller-coaster-study-trnd/|website=CNN|accessdate=29 September 2016}}</ref> The study also found that the [[Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)|Space Mountain]] and [[Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith]] failed to cause this result.<ref>{{cite web|title=Got kidney stones? Ride a roller coaster|author=Michigan State University|url=http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2016/got-kidney-stones-ride-a-roller-coaster/?utm_campaign=standard-promo&utm_source=msufacebook-post&utm_medium=social|website=MSUToday|publisher=Michigan State University|accessdate=29 September 2016}}</ref>
   
=== Professor Cumulus Isobar ===
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==Ride experience==
In both Disneyland's and Walt Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain, a machine can be seen floating in the water titled "rainmaker," with Cumulus's name on it, providing that Cumulus Isobar is an inventor responsible for the town's flooded state.
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===Disneyland version===
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While the design of the Walt Disney World version of this roller coaster was done first, Disneyland's version was the first one to open.<ref>Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains Imagineering at Its Peak, Disney Editions, New York, 2007. pp. 60-75.</ref> The track layout was mirrored, placing the attraction to the right of Rivers of America, if viewed from the central hub. (In Walt Disney World, the attraction is located to the left of Rivers of America.) To better fit with the adjacent Fantasyland areas of the theme park, the original Walt Disney World design had to be replaced with something more appropriate for Disneyland. The Florida, Tokyo and Paris versions of the ride use sharp-edged mountains and the vibrant colors of Monument Valley, Arizona, while Disneyland's version was developed with more rounded features and muted colors resembling the Bryce Canyon hoodoos in Utah.<ref>Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains Imagineering at Its Peak, Disney Editions, New York, 2007. pp. 67-69.</ref>
   
===[[My Disney Experience]] Official Description===
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Upon entering the attraction, the queue winds through a narrow rock wall and passing by the tracks. The surrounding walls were originally created from 100 tons of gold ore from [[Rosamond, California|Rosamond]].<ref>{{cite book |author=Jim Fanning |title=Disneyland Challenge |year=2009 |publisher=Disney Editions |page=23 |ISBN=978-1-4231-0675-3 }}</ref>
Streak through a haunted gold mining town aboard a rollicking runaway mine train.
 
   
==Attraction Plot==
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Leaving the outdoor station, trains enter a bat-infested tunnel, make a right hand turn, then a left hand turn before climbing the first lift hill, which takes trains through a cavern full of stalactites. Leaving the lift hill, the train drops away to the right, then levels out and makes a left hand turn. The track then crosses under the second lift hill drop before making a right hand turn. The sounds of coyotes can be heard howling at the train as it dives into an underground cave. At the end of the tunnel, the train hits a trim brake, exits the tunnel, and climbs the second lift hill. At the top of the lift, an animatronic goat bleats at passing guests as the train drops away to the right, crosses under the lift hill, and rises up into a downward spiraling clockwise helix. Leaving the helix, the train shoots through a small canyon, then drops down into a mining camp, where it hits another trim brake. The train then makes a left hand turn, enters another tunnel, and climbs the third lift hill. As the train climbs the lift, the tunnel is dynamited, and artificial smoke is blasted in guests' faces as the train crests the lift and exits the tunnel. The train then drops to the right, towards the river, then makes a right hand turn and passes through a short tunnel. After crossing over the drop, the trains make a left hand turn as they pass through the ribcage of a T-rex skeleton, hit a trim brake, then make a right hand turn into the final brakes. The train then travels by the buildings of Rainbow Ridge as it returns to the station.
*Dash in and out of desert caverns and rumble through a haunted mine aboard a speeding train.
 
*Amid rugged bedrock and desert cactus, venture inside a nearly 200-foot mountain to the Big Thunder Mining Company, established in the early days of America’s Gold Rush. Traipse down into an abandoned mine shaft and discover a mysterious 5-car locomotive waiting to take you on a journey inside an abandoned shaft.
 
*Hurl forward into the darkness of the tunnel as the train’s wheels chug back and forth across a rickety track. Swoop around sharp turns and dip and drop into canyons and caves, darting through the ghost town of Tumbleweed.
 
*Peel under a booming waterfall, past rock formations, and dodge a rumbling boulder from an inexplicable landslide. Along your adventure, glimpse the remnants of a flash flood and behold a bevy of local critters—including bats, opossum and a goat—before hastily making your way back to the safety of the railroad station.
 
*Legend has it that a supernatural force dwells within the mountain. When gold was first discovered in the 1850's, a mining company was established. But soon, eerie things began to occur. Miners heard ghostly sounds, cave-ins became frequent and equipment mysteriously failed. Trains would take off and race through the mine and around the mountain driverless! Word got out that the mine was haunted and Big Thunder became another ghost town.
 
*Years later, when eyewitness accounts had faded into folklore, new prospectors resurrected the Mining Company and began blasting into the spooky mountain once again. But as the new settlers became aware, some legends turn out to be true.
 
   
==History==
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California's version of the ride is the only version of the ride to feature an outdoor station. All of the other versions feature an indoor station.
   
The first version of the attraction opened in 1979 in Disneyland after [[Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland|Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland]] closed. It is widely believed the roller coaster trains were reused from Nature's Wonderland. It is also well known that the Western Town at the end of the ride and the animal [[Audio-Animatronics]] were recycled from Nature's Wonderland.
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On January 7, 2013, the ride was closed for an extensive refurbishment that included a new track, trains, scenery, and new effects on the third lift hill. The attraction reopened on March 17, 2014.<ref>{{cite web|last=Glover|first=Erin|title=Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Reopen March 17 at Disneyland Park|url=http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/03/big-thunder-mountain-railroad-to-reopen-march-17-at-disneyland-park/|publisher=DisneyParks Blog|accessdate=March 7, 2014|date=March 7, 2014}}</ref> The new track was fabricated by [[Dynamic Structures]], the company that had previously rehauled the coaster track in [[Space Mountain (Disneyland)|Space Mountain]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Products|url=http://www.dynamicattractions.com/products.html|publisher=Dynamic Attractions|accessdate=October 28, 2013}}</ref>
   
The second version opened in Walt Disney World in 1980. The WDW version is based around Red Rock Canyon and provides a less tame experience. This time, it centers around a haunted mine in Big Thunder Mountain.
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===Magic Kingdom version===
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For the most part, the track layout of the Magic Kingdom's version is a mirror image of the Disneyland version.
   
Both the Euro Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland versions use the same Bryce Canyon setting as Disneyland but have different track layouts.
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Riders board the trains in an enclosed loading station on a hillside. Leaving the station, trains make a left hand turn into a bat-infested tunnel, make a slight right turn, and climb the first lift hill. At the top of the lift hill, trains pass under a waterfall and drop to the left. This is followed by a right hand turn, after which the track crosses under the second lift hill and drop. After crossing under the second lift hill drop, the track goes through a 270 degree clockwise spiral and passes through a short tunnel. Trains emerge from the tunnel and pass through the flooded town of Tumbleweed. The train passes over a decaying trestle (where the track is slightly banked from side to side), before entering Davy Jones Mine, where it hits a trim brake. Trains then make a left hand turn and climb the second lift hill.
===Tributes to Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland===
 
At [[Disneyland]], a scaled-down western town sits adjacent to the queuing lines and tracks returning to the station. A Western saloon, a hotel, the assayer's office and mercantile appear among the buildings. This is the village of Rainbow Ridge, which used to overlook the loading platform of the sedate Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. Disneyland's version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was built on the land the Mine Train used to occupy. Many of the Animal Audio-Animatronics throughout the attraction are the Animal Audio-Animatronics from the previous attraction. Other allusions to the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland include:
 
*The Rainbow Caverns - Glowing pools of water by the first lift hill.
 
*Precariously balanced rocks on the third lift hill.
 
*The Name of the ride itself - '''Big Thunder''' was originally the name of an enormous waterfall the train passed on the tour. '''Little Thunder''' was located nearby.
 
   
==Name==
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At the top of the second lift hill, trains drop to the left and cross under the lift hill, before rising into a 540 degree downhill counterclockwise helix, passing over a broken trestle. Leaving the helix, trains shoot up across a small hill, make a slight right turn, then drop through another tunnel and hit a trim brake. The trains then make a right hand turn into a tunnel and climb the third lift hill. As the train climbs the lift, an earthquake hits and makes the train cars sway from side to side (the effect achieved by slightly banking the track). Leaving the lift, trains emerge from the tunnel, crest a small rise, and drop to the left towards the Rivers of America. After traveling along a short section of straight track, the ride then makes a left hand turn through a short tunnel and crosses a short bridge. The train then makes a right hand turn, and passes through the ribcage of a T-Rex skeleton as it hits the final trim brake, makes a left hand turn past some geysers and hot springs, and rises into the final brakes. The train then coasts back to the station.
At the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland, the ride is known by its full name of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The Tokyo and Paris versions would drop the word "Railroad"''' '''in favor of the name Big Thunder Mountain. Tokyo Disneyland's Big Thunder, which is almost identical to Magic Kingdom's, opened in [[1987]], five years after the park opening. Also at Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland, the name of the ride is sometimes shortened to Big Thunder Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, or even just Big Thunder or Thunder Mountain.
 
   
[[Walt Disney Imagineering|Imagineers]] rethought the attraction for Disneyland Paris, creating a layout mostly based on Florida's version but with several significant changes to both the layout and the accompanying structure.
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The Florida version was allocated more space in the park, and so the Monument Valley-inspired ride structure assumes 2.5 acres, 25 percent larger than the Disneyland version.<ref>Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains Imagineering at Its Peak, Disney Editions, New York, 2007. p. 72.</ref>
   
The revised European ride takes the form of a large island similar to [[Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island|Tom Sawyer Island]] in the center of the [[Rivers of America (Disney)|Rivers of the Far West]], accessed from its riverside station by tunnels underneath the water. Just like [[Star Tours]], Disneyland Paris is also the only Big Thunder Mountain to open together with the park.
+
The Florida version is closed for refurbishment from August 2016 to November 18, 2016.<ref>{{cite web | last=Busdeker | first=Jon | title=Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom closed for 'refurbishment' | website=WESH | date=2016-08-09 | url=http://www.wesh.com/orlandomyway/orlando-theme-parks/big-thunder-mountain-railroad-at-magic-kingdom-closed-for-refurbishment/41120858 | accessdate=2016-09-21}}</ref>
   
[[Hong Kong Disneyland]] does not have a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction nor a western-themed land, for that matter. However, a land called [[Grizzly Gulch]]'' ''has been built with a theme similar to [[Frontierland]] and [[Critter Country]]. The attraction [[Big Grizzly Mountain Coaster]] carries a similar theme to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's theme. The attraction and the themed land opened in summer [[2012]].
+
===Tokyo Disneyland version===
  +
Big Thunder Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland is similar to the Florida ride, but there are some differences in the ride layout. After going under the second lift drop, the Florida version does a 270 degree clockwise drop, then passes through the town of Tumbleweed, a short mine, and makes a left turn onto the second lift hill. On the Tokyo version, the track goes around a turn to the left and dives into an underground cave, mirroring the California version of the ride. More significantly, the final segment of the ride is different. Instead of crossing back over the drop from the third lift hill, the track makes a 180 degree turn to the right before dropping out of a tunnel, through the Boneyard/geyser scene, into a short tunnel. The track then makes a right hand turn into the final brakes. The trains pass in front of the station building, and then turn back into the loading area.
   
== Ride Experience ==
+
===Disneyland Paris version===
  +
While primarily based on the Florida version, Paris's version is unique as it is situated on an island in the middle of the [[Rivers of America (Disney)|Rivers of the Far West]], where [[Tom Sawyer's Island]] would normally sit. It is also the only version of the ride to be an opening day attraction. The Paris version closed in November 2015 for a year long refurbishment and is scheduled to reopen on December 16, 2016; updates will include track replacements, the installation of mapping effects on the third lift hill (similar to the California version), and the installation of interactive games in the queue line.<ref>http://www.dlpguide.com/calendar/closures-refurbishments/</ref>
   
=== Disneyland version ===
+
Guests board the trains at a station on the mainland. Immediately upon leaving the station, trains dive into a tunnel that transports them under the Rivers of the Far West to the island where the ride is located. The train makes a right hand turn, and makes a quick steep rise before starting up the first lift hill. As trains climb out of the darkness of the underwater tunnel, [[stalactites]] and [[stalagmites]] can be seen growing next to the track. The sounds of [[bat]]s swooping up above can also be heard. At the top, a [[waterfall]] parting around the tracks suggests that the tunnel is flooding. Trains pop out of the tunnel, leave the lift hill, and drop around a left hand turn, pass through a small cave, then make a swooping right turn. If the trains are being dispatched timely, when the train goes through this curve, it will appear to make a near miss with a train in the 540 degree helix.
Leaving the outdoor station, trains enter a bat-infested tunnel, make a right hand turn, then a left hand turn before climbing the first lift hill, which takes trains through a cavern full of stalactites. Leaving the lift hill, the train drops away to the right, then levels out and makes a left hand turn. The track then crosses under the second lift hill drop before making a right hand turn. The sounds of coyotes can be heard as the train descends into a long, dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, the train hits a trim brake, exits the tunnel, and climbs the second lift hill. At the top of the lift, an animatronic goat bleats at passing guests as the train drops away to the right, crosses under the lift hill, and rises up into a downward spiraling clockwise helix. Leaving the helix, the train shoots through a small canyon, then drops down into a mining camp, where it hits another trim brake. The train then makes a left hand turn, enters another tunnel in which blasting is underway, and climbs the third lift hill. As the train climbs the lift, the tunnel is dynamited, and artificial smoke is blasted in guests' faces as the train crests the lift and exits the tunnel. The train then drops to the right, towards the river, then makes a right hand turn and passes through a short tunnel. After crossing over the drop, the trains make a left hand turn as they pass through the ribcage of a T-rex skeleton, hit a trim brake, then make a right hand turn into the final brakes. The train then travels by the buildings of Rainbow Ridge as it returns to the station.
 
   
California's version of the ride is the only version of the ride to feature an outdoor station. All of the other versions feature an indoor station.
+
After this turn, the trains pass under the second lift hill and its drop, making a slight hop, before making a left hand turn onto a trestle. The train runs along the Rivers of the Far West, across the water from [[Phantom Manor]], then makes a slight right hand turn as it approaches a mining camp and suddenly falls through a [[washout|washed out]] section of the trestle. The trestle drop also contains an [[on-ride photo|on-ride camera]]. After dropping down to the water level (with water jets on the sides of the track simulating a splashdown), the trains go around a left turn on an unstable portion of trestle, enter a mining camp, and begin to climb the second lift hill.
   
=== Walt Disney World version ===
+
As trains start up the lift hill, two tied down [[donkey]]s can be seen to the right side of the track, braying at passing trains, with an empty watering [[Bucket|pail]] in front of them. A [[goat]] can be seen pulling on a piece of clothing hanging on a [[clothesline]] to the riders' left, as the trains pass a parked [[steamroller]] and mine elevator, and travel under a water tower.
For the most part, Florida's version of the ride is a mirror image of the Disneyland version.
 
   
Riders board the trains in an enclosed loading station on a hillside. Leaving the station, trains make a left hand turn into a bat-infested tunnel, make a slight right turn, and climb the first lift hill. At the top of the lift hill, trains pass under a waterfall and drop to the left. This is followed by a right hand turn, after which the track crosses under the second lift hill and drop. After crossing under the second lift hill drop, the track goes through a 270 degree clockwise spiral and passes through a short tunnel. Trains emerge from the tunnel and pass through the flooded town of Tumbleweed. The train passes over a decaying trestle (where the track is slightly banked from side to side), before entering Davy Jones Mine, where it hits a trim brake. Trains then make a left hand turn and climb the second lift hill.
+
At the top of the lift, it is possible for guests to catch a glimpse of [[The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror]] at [[Walt Disney Studios Park]] on the horizon before the trains drop around a left turn and cross back under the lift hill. The prerecorded sound of screeching wheel flanges can be heard as trains go around the curve. As the train comes out of the drop and goes over another rise, it passes a sign warning of a broken trestle that is mounted to the water tower post (this warning sign can also be seen by sitting in the very last row of the train and looking backwards while going up the lift hill). Cresting the hill, trains cross over the broken trestle and spiral down through a 540-degree counter-clockwise helix.
   
At the top of the second lift hill, trains drop to the left and cross under the lift hill, before rising into a 540 degree downhill counterclockwise helix, passing over a broken trestle. Leaving the helix, trains shoot up across a small hill, make a slight right turn, then drop through another tunnel and hit a trim brake. The trains then make a right hand turn into a tunnel and climb the third lift hill. As the train climbs the lift, an earthquake hits and makes the train cars sway from side to side (the effect achieved by slightly banking the track). Leaving the lift, trains emerge from the tunnel, crest a small rise, and drop to the left towards the Rivers of America. After traveling along a short section of straight track, the ride then makes a left hand turn through a short tunnel and crosses a short bridge. The train then makes a right hand turn, and passes through the ribcage of a T-Rex skeleton as it hits the final trim brake, makes a left hand turn, and rises into the final brakes. The train then coasts back to the station.
+
Exiting the helix, the trains pass through a short cave and go over a quick airtime hill as they shoot down a canyon. As the trains drop through the tunnel and pass over a trim brake, a loud gust of wind is heard. Trains then make a right hand turn on another trestle that seems to creak under the weight of the train as they enter a tunnel with signs warning of blasting over the portal, and climb the third lift hill.
   
=== Tokyo Disneyland version ===
+
As the train starts up the hill, an unseen miner's voice can be heard yelling "[[Fire in the hole]]!" Midway up the lift, the tunnel is dynamited, and artificial smoke is blasted in guests' faces as the train crests the lift and exits the tunnel. The train crests a small hill, then drops to the left onto a straightaway alongside the river, speeding up as it enters the return tunnel. The train encounters a swarm of bats in the tunnel as it makes another sharp counter-clockwise turnaround and goes down a steep drop to cross under the water. The trains continue to accelerate through the dark until it pops out of the exit portal on the mainland. The train then coasts past the station, through the loading dock, and then turns around to reenter the station.
The Tokyo Disneyland version is similar to the Florida ride, but there are some differences in the ride layout. After going under the second lift drop, the Florida version does a 270 degree clockwise drop, then passes through the town of Tumbleweed, a short mine, and makes a left turn onto the second lift hill. On the Tokyo version, the track mirrors the California version of the ride, going around a left hand turn and descending into an underground cave, mirroring the California version of the ride. More significantly, the final segment of the ride is different. Instead of crossing back over the drop from the third lift hill, the track makes a 180 degree turn to the right before dropping out of a tunnel, through the Boneyard/geyser scene, into a short tunnel. The track then makes a right hand turn into the final brakes. The trains pass in front of the station building, and then turn back into the loading area.
 
   
=== Disneyland Paris version ===
+
==In other media==
While primarily based on the Florida version, Paris's version is unique as it is situated on an island in the middle of the Rivers of the Far West, where Tom Sawyer's Island would normally sit. It is also the only version of the ride to be an opening day attraction.
+
===In film===
  +
* The sounds of Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains were recorded and used as sound effects for the mine cart chase sequence in [[Steven Spielberg]] and [[George Lucas]]' 1984 film, ''[[Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom]]''.<ref>{{cite web|last1=Slater|first1=Tyler|title=Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park|url=http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/09/five-things-you-might-have-missed-aboard-big-thunder-mountain-railroad-at-disneyland-park/|website=Disney Parks Blog|publisher=Walt Disney Parks and Resorts|accessdate=8 December 2014}}</ref> Disneyland would later get [[Indiana Jones Adventure|its own ''Indiana Jones'' attraction]] in 1995, and the Walt Disney Company would go on to acquire the ''Indiana Jones'' franchise with its purchase of [[Lucasfilm]] in 2012.
   
Guests board the trains at a station on the mainland. Immediately upon leaving the station, trains dive into a tunnel that transports them under the Rivers of the Far West to the island where the ride is located. The train makes a right hand turn, and makes a quick steep rise before starting up the first lift hill. As trains climb out of the darkness of the underwater tunnel, stalactites and stalagmites can be seen growing next to the track. The sounds of bats swooping up above can also be heard. At the top, a waterfall parting around the tracks suggests that the tunnel is flooding. Trains pop out of the tunnel, leave the lift hill, and drop around a left hand turn, pass through a small cave, then make a swooping right turn. If the trains are being dispatched timely, when the train goes through this curve, it will appear to make a near miss with a train in the 540 degree helix.
+
=== Television series ===
  +
In January 2013, [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]] ordered a pilot based on the ride titled ''Big Thunder Mountain'', but the idea was scrapped sometime after.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/big-thunder-mountain-drama-mark-gordons-gothica-get-abc-pilot-orders/|title=UPDATE: Big Thunder Mountain Drama, Projects From Mark Gordon, Ryan Reynolds & Martin Campbell Get ABC Pilot Orders|author=Nellie Andreeva|work=Deadline}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/melissa-rosenberg-to-run-abcs-big-thunder-drama-pilot/|title=Melissa Rosenberg To Run ABC’s ‘Big Thunder’ Drama Pilot - Deadline|author=Nellie Andreeva|work=Deadline}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/jay-hernandez-joins-foxs-gang-related-ana-de-la-reguera-in-abcs-big-thunder/|title=Jay Hernandez Joins Fox’s ‘Gang Related’, Ana De La Reguera In ABC’s ‘Big Thunder’ - Deadline|author=Nellie Andreeva|work=Deadline}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/abc-pilots-2013-castings-matt-oberg-andrea-savage-zahn-mcclarnon/|title=ABC Pilot Castings: Andrea Savage Boards John Leguizamo Comedy, Matt Oberg Joins ‘Pulling’, Zahn McClarnon In ‘Big Thunder’ - Deadline|author=Nellie Andreeva|work=Deadline}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/scott-bakula-joins-tnts-bounty-hunter-pilot-abcs-big-thunder-casts-a-lead/|title=Scott Bakula Joins TNT’s Bounty Hunter Pilot, ABC’s ‘Big Thunder’ Casts A Lead - Deadline|author=Nellie Andreeva|work=Deadline}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/abc-pilot-big-thunder-finds-lead-cws-oxygen-abcs-influence-add-to-casts/|title=ABC Pilot ‘Big Thunder’ Finds Lead, CW’s ‘Oxygen’ & ABC’s ‘Influence’ Add To Casts - Deadline|author=Nellie Andreeva|work=Deadline}}</ref>
   
After this turn, the trains pass under the second lift hill and its drop, making a slight hop, before making a left hand turn onto a trestle. The train runs along the Rivers of the Far West, across the water fromPhantom Manor, then makes a slight right hand turn and suddenly falls through a washed out section of the trestle. The trestle drop also contains an on-ride camera. After dropping down to the water, (with water jets on the sides of the track simulating a splashdown), the trains go around a left turn on an unstable portion of trestle, enter an area populated with buildings, and hit the base of the second lift hills.
+
===Print media===
  +
In October 2014, [[Marvel Comics]] announced a five-issue series based on the attraction that will debut in early 2015.<ref name="BTMRComic">{{cite web|url=http://comicbook.com/2014/10/18/big-thunder-mountain-railroad-comic-coming-from-marvels-disney-k/|title=Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Comic Coming From Marvel's Disney Kingdoms Line|author=Russ Burlingame|work=comicbook.com|date=18 October 2014|accessdate=11 December 2014}}</ref> Part of Marvel's "Disney Kingdoms" line, the series will elaborate on the story behind the attraction and will feature input from Walt Disney Imagineering, including nods to elements of the ride.<ref name="BTMRComic"/>
   
As trains start up the lift hill, two tied down donkeys can be seen to the right side of the track, braying at passing trains, with an empty watering pail in front of them. A goat can be seen pulling on a piece of clothing hanging on a clothesline to the riders' left, as the trains pass a miners' dwellings, a parked steamroller and mine elevator, and travel under a water tower.
+
==Incidents==
  +
*March 10, 1998, Disneyland: A 5-year-old boy was seriously injured when his foot became wedged between the passenger car's running board and the edge of the exterior platform after the train temporarily paused before pulling into the unloading area. All of the toes on his left foot required amputation. This led to improvements to the ride, although the family maintains the park would not acknowledge this injury as the reason.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Saffian|first=Sarah|title=The Hidden Danger of Amusement Parks|journal=[[Redbook]]|date=May 2000|url=http://www.saffian.com/danger.htm}}</ref>
  +
*September 5, 2003, Disneyland: A 22-year-old man died after suffering severe [[blunt trauma]] and extensive [[internal bleeding]] in a [[derailment]] that also injured 10 other riders.<ref name=kabc>{{cite web |url=http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/news/090503_NW_Disneyland_ax.html |title= Theme Park Accident, 11 Injured |date=2003-09-07 |work=KABC-TV|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20030906154859/http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/news/090503_NW_Disneyland_ax.html |archivedate=September 6, 2003}}</ref> The cause of the accident was determined to be improper maintenance.<ref>{{cite news
  +
|url = http://pinellas.legalexaminer.com/wrongful-death/big-thunder-railroad-death-brings-big-admission-from-disney/
  +
|title = Big Thunder Railroad Death Brings Big Admission From Disney
  +
|publisher = Legal Examiner
  +
|date = December 4, 2005
  +
|accessdate = September 12, 2015
  +
}}</ref> Investigation reports and discovery by the victim's attorney confirmed the fatal injuries occurred when the first passenger car collided with the underside of the locomotive. The derailment was the result of a mechanical failure which occurred due to omissions during a maintenance procedure. Fasteners on the left side upstop/guide wheel on the floating axle of the locomotive were not tightened and [[safety wire|safetied]] in accordance with specifications. As the train entered a tunnel the axle came loose and jammed against a brake section, causing the locomotive to become airborne and hit the ceiling of the tunnel. The locomotive then fell on top of the first passenger car, crushing the victim.<ref>{{cite web|title=Verdict settlement for BTMRR|url=http://www.aitkenlaw.com/verdicts_settlements/disneys_big_thunder_mountain.html|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20090315051823/http://www.aitkenlaw.com/verdicts_settlements/disneys_big_thunder_mountain.html|archivedate=March 15, 2009}}</ref>
  +
*April 25, 2011, Disneyland Paris: Five guests were injured when a piece of scenery fell onto a passing train. One guest, a 38-year-old man, was seriously injured and transported to a Paris hospital, while the other four were treated at the scene.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/international/042511-five-injured-disneyland-paris-ride-ncx|title=Five injured on Disneyland Paris ride|work=MyFoxOrlando.com|date=2011-04-25|accessdate=2011-04-25}}</ref>
  +
*October 27, 2011, Disneyland Paris: Two cars derailed as one of the ride's trains passed slowly over a flat section of track. Two guests were slightly injured, and the ride was subsequently closed for inspections.<ref>{{cite web|title=Second accident at Disney train ride|url=http://www.connexionfrance.com/Disneyland-Paris-train-accident-hurt-Thunder-Mountain-13112-view-article.html|publisher=The Connexion|accessdate=28 October 2011}}</ref>
   
At the top of the lift, it is possible for guests to catch a glimpse of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney Studios Paris on the horizon before the trains drop around a left turn and cross back under the lift hill. The prerecorded sound of screeching wheel flanges can be heard as trains go around the curve. As the train comes out of the drop and goes over another rise, it passes a sign warning of a broken trestle that is mounted to the water tower post (this warning sign can also be seen by sitting in the very last row of the train and looking backwards while going up the lift hill). Cresting the hill, trains cross over the broken trestle and spiral downhill through a 540-degree counter-clockwise helix.
+
== See also ==
  +
* [[Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars]]
   
Exiting the helix, the trains pass through a short cave and go over a quick airtime hill as they shoot down a canyon. As the trains drop through the tunnel and pass over a trim brake, a loud gust of wind is heard. Trains then make a right hand turn on another trestle that seems to creak under the weight of the train as they enter a tunnel with signs warning of blasting over the portal, and climb the third lift hill.
+
== References ==
+
{{Reflist}}
As the train starts up the hill, an unseen miner's voice can be heard yelling "Fire in the hole!" Midway up the lift, the tunnel is dynamited, and artificial smoke is blasted in guests' faces as the train crests the lift and exits the tunnel. The train crests a small hill, then drops to the left onto a straightaway alongside the river, speeding up as it enters the return tunnel. The train encounters a swarm of bats in the tunnel as it makes another sharp counter-clockwise turnaround and goes down a steep drop to cross under the water. The trains continue to accelerate through the dark until it pops out of the exit portal on the mainland. The train then coasts past the station, through the loading dock, and then turns around to reenter the station.
 
 
==Trivia==
 
 
*The Disneyland version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad replaced Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland, a sedate train ride through different animal habitats.
 
*The Florida version took 15 years to plan, tons of steel and concrete, hundreds of rock makers, 4,000 gallons of paint, and 900,000 gallons of water to create the realistic, red-rock buttes and mine buildings inspired by Arizona's Monument Valley.
 
*In [[Australia]]'s Disneyland Special [[The Wiggles Live at Disneyland Park]], Greg and Murray went on this ride twice. The first one they went on twice was [[Splash Mountain]].
 
 
==Incidents and Accidents==
 
===Disneyland===
 
*On September 5, 2003, a 22-year-old man from Gardena, California was killed after suffering severe blunt trauma and extensive eternal bleeding in a derailment that also injured 10 other guests. It was determined that the cause of the accident was improper maintenance. Fasteners on the left side up-stop/guide wheel on the floating axle of the locomotive were not tightened and safetied in accordance with specifications. As the train entered a tunnel the axle came loose and jammed against a brake section, causing the locomotive to become airborne and hit the ceiling of the tunnel. The locomotive then fell on top of the first passenger car, crushing the victim. The name of the train was I.M. Brave which retired after the accident. This accident prompted the removal of the floating axles from all versions of the ride.
 
===​Disneyland Park (Paris)===
 
*On April 25, 2011 at around 2:50pm, a fiberglass rock and some wood on the third lift hill fell on the train, injuring 5 people out of 25 who were in the train. One of them was a 38-year-old man who was severely hit on the head and was transported to the Beaujon Hospital at Clichy Sur Seine, France. The other four returned to the park on the same day. The men left the hospital a few days later. The ride was closed for investigations to determine the accident. Once the attraction reopened, the falling rock scene was removed from the attraction. The earthquake scene was thus disabled, and in 2016 was replaced by a blasting scene during the refurbishment.
 
 
==Gallery==
 
<gallery widths="200" spacing="small">
 
Big Thunder Mountain.jpg
 
Big Thunder Poster.jpg
 
Big Thunder Train.jpg|Featured on:Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
 
Btm perry.png|[[Perry the Platypus]] [[Vinylmation]] outside of BTM
 
BigThunder.jpg
 
Big Thunder Moutain Railroad.jpg
 
Big thunder mountain howling coyote Disneyland.jpeg|A howling coyote from the ride
 
</gallery>
 
 
==See also==
 
*[[Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars]], a similar attraction at [[Hong Kong Disneyland]] opened on July 14, 2012.
 
   
 
{{Society of Explorers and Adventurers}}
 
{{Society of Explorers and Adventurers}}
{{Kingdom Keepers}}
 
{{Disney Kingdoms}}
 
 
{{Disneyland}}
 
{{Disneyland}}
 
{{Magic Kingdom}}
 
{{Magic Kingdom}}
 
{{Tokyo Disneyland}}
 
{{Tokyo Disneyland}}
 
{{Disneyland Paris}}
 
{{Disneyland Paris}}
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{{Kingdom Keepers}}
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[[Category:Disneyland attractions]]
 
[[Category:Disneyland attractions]]
 
[[Category:Magic Kingdom attractions]]
 
[[Category:Magic Kingdom attractions]]

Revision as of 16:19, November 5, 2016

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a mine train roller coaster located in Frontierland at several Disneyland-style Disney Parks worldwide. The ride exists at Disneyland Park (California) and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Park (Paris) as Big Thunder Mountain. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is also the name of the fictional rail line the roller coaster depicts.

Theme

Although the details of the backstory vary from park to park, all follow the same general story arcs. Some time in the late 1800s, gold was discovered on Big Thunder Mountain in the American Southwest. Overnight, a small mining town became a thriving mining town (the name of the town varies from ride to ride. In the California ride, the town is known as Rainbow Ridge. In the Florida version, the town is known as Tumbleweed, and in Paris, the town is known as Thunder Mesa. Mining was prosperous, and an extensive line of mine trains was set up to transport the ore. Unknown to the settlers, the Mountain was a sacred spot to local Native Americans and was cursed.[1]

Before long, the settlers' desecration of the mountain caused a great tragedy, which, depending on the park, is usually depicted to be an earthquake (in the Paris and California versions of the ride), a tsunami (in the Tokyo version of the ride), a flash flood (in the Florida version of the ride), which befell the mines and town, and the town was abandoned. Some time later, the locomotives were found to be racing around the mountain on their own, without engineers or a crew. The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was founded in the old mining camp to allow tourists to take rides on the possessed trains.

In keeping with the theme, the station buildings on all four versions of the ride are designed to look as though they are the abandoned offices of a mining company from the mid to late 19th century. The mountains themselves are themed to the red rock formations of the American Southwest. The rock work designs in the California version are based on the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. In the Florida, Tokyo and Paris versions of the ride, the rockwork designs are based on the rising buttes that are located in Utah and Arizona's Monument Valley. Special care was taken by the Imagineers to make it appear that the rocks were there originally, and the track was built around the rocks, unlike a number of earlier mine rides, which were built the other way around (by sculpting the rocks around the tracks).[2] The action of the ride takes place completely in the sagging, rotting tunnels of the mountain. In contrast to most steel roller coasters, where the thrills come from the perception of flying through open air, the thrills on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are meant to come from the perceived instability of the mine and its threats of collapse. Sound effects of a typical locomotive operation are piped into the surrounding scenery to add realism to guests viewing the ride from observation platforms, including the steam whistle sounding, even though there is no whistle displayed on the locomotives.

History

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was designed by Imagineer Tony Baxter and ride design engineer Bill Watkins. The concept came from Baxter's work on fellow Imagineer Marc Davis's concept for the Western River Expedition, a western-themed pavilion at the Magic Kingdom, designed to look like an enormous plateau and contain many rides, including a runaway mine train roller coaster. However, because the pavilion as a whole was deemed too expensive in light of the 1973 construction and opening of Pirates of the Caribbean, Baxter proposed severing the mine train and building it as a separate attraction.

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad project was put on hold again in 1974 as resources and personnel were being diverted to work on constructing Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, but this delay may have ultimately produced a smoother ride as the use of computers in attraction design was just beginning when the project was resumed. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was one of the first Disney rides to utilize computer-aided design.[2] The attraction first opened at Disneyland in 1979, and the Magic Kingdom's larger version in Florida opened in 1980. Tokyo Disneyland's version opened in 1987 and Disneyland Paris opened with its version in 1992. The Paris version's layout and structure were mostly based on the Florida version of the ride, but with several significant differences.

The revised European ride takes the form of a large island in the center of the Rivers of the Far West, accessed from its riverside station by tunnels underneath the water. The attraction in Disneyland Paris is the only Big Thunder Mountain to have been an opening-day attraction at its park. Hong Kong Disneyland does not have a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction (or a western-themed Frontierland, for that matter). However, Grizzly Gulch has a theme similar to Frontierland. The main attraction, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, carries a similar theme to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Timeline

  • Early 1970s: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is conceived by Imagineer Tony Baxter for Walt Disney World, but it is put on hold due to the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • 1974: The project is put on hold again due to the construction of Space Mountain.
  • 1979: Construction begins on the ride at Disneyland.
  • September 2, 1979: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad officially opens at Disneyland.
  • November 15, 1980: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad officially opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
  • July 4, 1987: Big Thunder Mountain officially opens at Tokyo Disneyland.
  • April 12, 1992: Big Thunder Mountain officially opens at Disneyland Paris along with the park.
  • January 7, 2013: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closes at Disneyland for a refurbishment, to include an entire replacement of new track (similar to the Space Mountain refurbishment), new trains, new scenery, and new effects.
  • March 17, 2014: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopens at Disneyland.
  • November 2, 2015: Big Thunder Mountain closes at Disneyland Paris for a year-long refurbishment. Its reopening is scheduled for December 17, 2016.
  • August 8, 2016: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closes at Magic Kingdom for a 4-month refurbishment. Its reopening is scheduled for November 19, 2016.

Tributes to predecessor

At Disneyland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was built on the land the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland used to occupy. Several tributes to the former attraction are present in the Disneyland version. A scaled-down Western town sits adjacent to the queuing lines and tracks near the station. A Western saloon, hotel, assayer's office and mercantile appear among the buildings. This is the village of Rainbow Ridge, which used to overlook the loading platform of the sedate Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland. Many of the animal animatronics throughout the attraction are animatronic animals from the previous attraction. Other allusions to the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland include the Rainbow Caverns (glowing pools of water by the first lift hill) and precariously balanced rocks in the third lift hill tunnel. The name of the ride itself, "Big Thunder", was originally the name of a large waterfall the old mine train passed on its tour. "Little Thunder" was located nearby.

Name

At the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland, the ride is known by its full name of "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad". The Tokyo and Paris versions would drop the word "Railroad" in favor of the name "Big Thunder Mountain". Tokyo Disneyland's Big Thunder, which is almost identical to the Magic Kingdom's, opened in 1987, five years after the park opened. At Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, the name of the ride is sometimes shortened to "Big Thunder Mountain", "Thunder Mountain Railroad", or even just "Thunder Mountain".

Kidney stones

In the October 2016 Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, a paper entitled "Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster" was published.[3] The paper's author, Dr. Wartinger, found that patients of his had passed kidney stones after riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World on vacation, including one who passed three stones on three separate occasions. The doctor then tested this result, with the permission of Disney, with a 3D model of a kidney by riding the ride over 20 times. The study found nearly 70% of the time, the kidney stone was passed, with results varying depending on which row they were in.[3][4] The study also found that the Space Mountain and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith failed to cause this result.[5]

Ride experience

Disneyland version

While the design of the Walt Disney World version of this roller coaster was done first, Disneyland's version was the first one to open.[6] The track layout was mirrored, placing the attraction to the right of Rivers of America, if viewed from the central hub. (In Walt Disney World, the attraction is located to the left of Rivers of America.) To better fit with the adjacent Fantasyland areas of the theme park, the original Walt Disney World design had to be replaced with something more appropriate for Disneyland. The Florida, Tokyo and Paris versions of the ride use sharp-edged mountains and the vibrant colors of Monument Valley, Arizona, while Disneyland's version was developed with more rounded features and muted colors resembling the Bryce Canyon hoodoos in Utah.[7]

Upon entering the attraction, the queue winds through a narrow rock wall and passing by the tracks. The surrounding walls were originally created from 100 tons of gold ore from Rosamond.[8]

Leaving the outdoor station, trains enter a bat-infested tunnel, make a right hand turn, then a left hand turn before climbing the first lift hill, which takes trains through a cavern full of stalactites. Leaving the lift hill, the train drops away to the right, then levels out and makes a left hand turn. The track then crosses under the second lift hill drop before making a right hand turn. The sounds of coyotes can be heard howling at the train as it dives into an underground cave. At the end of the tunnel, the train hits a trim brake, exits the tunnel, and climbs the second lift hill. At the top of the lift, an animatronic goat bleats at passing guests as the train drops away to the right, crosses under the lift hill, and rises up into a downward spiraling clockwise helix. Leaving the helix, the train shoots through a small canyon, then drops down into a mining camp, where it hits another trim brake. The train then makes a left hand turn, enters another tunnel, and climbs the third lift hill. As the train climbs the lift, the tunnel is dynamited, and artificial smoke is blasted in guests' faces as the train crests the lift and exits the tunnel. The train then drops to the right, towards the river, then makes a right hand turn and passes through a short tunnel. After crossing over the drop, the trains make a left hand turn as they pass through the ribcage of a T-rex skeleton, hit a trim brake, then make a right hand turn into the final brakes. The train then travels by the buildings of Rainbow Ridge as it returns to the station.

California's version of the ride is the only version of the ride to feature an outdoor station. All of the other versions feature an indoor station.

On January 7, 2013, the ride was closed for an extensive refurbishment that included a new track, trains, scenery, and new effects on the third lift hill. The attraction reopened on March 17, 2014.[9] The new track was fabricated by Dynamic Structures, the company that had previously rehauled the coaster track in Space Mountain.[10]

Magic Kingdom version

For the most part, the track layout of the Magic Kingdom's version is a mirror image of the Disneyland version.

Riders board the trains in an enclosed loading station on a hillside. Leaving the station, trains make a left hand turn into a bat-infested tunnel, make a slight right turn, and climb the first lift hill. At the top of the lift hill, trains pass under a waterfall and drop to the left. This is followed by a right hand turn, after which the track crosses under the second lift hill and drop. After crossing under the second lift hill drop, the track goes through a 270 degree clockwise spiral and passes through a short tunnel. Trains emerge from the tunnel and pass through the flooded town of Tumbleweed. The train passes over a decaying trestle (where the track is slightly banked from side to side), before entering Davy Jones Mine, where it hits a trim brake. Trains then make a left hand turn and climb the second lift hill.

At the top of the second lift hill, trains drop to the left and cross under the lift hill, before rising into a 540 degree downhill counterclockwise helix, passing over a broken trestle. Leaving the helix, trains shoot up across a small hill, make a slight right turn, then drop through another tunnel and hit a trim brake. The trains then make a right hand turn into a tunnel and climb the third lift hill. As the train climbs the lift, an earthquake hits and makes the train cars sway from side to side (the effect achieved by slightly banking the track). Leaving the lift, trains emerge from the tunnel, crest a small rise, and drop to the left towards the Rivers of America. After traveling along a short section of straight track, the ride then makes a left hand turn through a short tunnel and crosses a short bridge. The train then makes a right hand turn, and passes through the ribcage of a T-Rex skeleton as it hits the final trim brake, makes a left hand turn past some geysers and hot springs, and rises into the final brakes. The train then coasts back to the station.

The Florida version was allocated more space in the park, and so the Monument Valley-inspired ride structure assumes 2.5 acres, 25 percent larger than the Disneyland version.[11]

The Florida version is closed for refurbishment from August 2016 to November 18, 2016.[12]

Tokyo Disneyland version

Big Thunder Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland is similar to the Florida ride, but there are some differences in the ride layout. After going under the second lift drop, the Florida version does a 270 degree clockwise drop, then passes through the town of Tumbleweed, a short mine, and makes a left turn onto the second lift hill. On the Tokyo version, the track goes around a turn to the left and dives into an underground cave, mirroring the California version of the ride. More significantly, the final segment of the ride is different. Instead of crossing back over the drop from the third lift hill, the track makes a 180 degree turn to the right before dropping out of a tunnel, through the Boneyard/geyser scene, into a short tunnel. The track then makes a right hand turn into the final brakes. The trains pass in front of the station building, and then turn back into the loading area.

Disneyland Paris version

While primarily based on the Florida version, Paris's version is unique as it is situated on an island in the middle of the Rivers of the Far West, where Tom Sawyer's Island would normally sit. It is also the only version of the ride to be an opening day attraction. The Paris version closed in November 2015 for a year long refurbishment and is scheduled to reopen on December 16, 2016; updates will include track replacements, the installation of mapping effects on the third lift hill (similar to the California version), and the installation of interactive games in the queue line.[13]

Guests board the trains at a station on the mainland. Immediately upon leaving the station, trains dive into a tunnel that transports them under the Rivers of the Far West to the island where the ride is located. The train makes a right hand turn, and makes a quick steep rise before starting up the first lift hill. As trains climb out of the darkness of the underwater tunnel, stalactites and stalagmites can be seen growing next to the track. The sounds of bats swooping up above can also be heard. At the top, a waterfall parting around the tracks suggests that the tunnel is flooding. Trains pop out of the tunnel, leave the lift hill, and drop around a left hand turn, pass through a small cave, then make a swooping right turn. If the trains are being dispatched timely, when the train goes through this curve, it will appear to make a near miss with a train in the 540 degree helix.

After this turn, the trains pass under the second lift hill and its drop, making a slight hop, before making a left hand turn onto a trestle. The train runs along the Rivers of the Far West, across the water from Phantom Manor, then makes a slight right hand turn as it approaches a mining camp and suddenly falls through a washed out section of the trestle. The trestle drop also contains an on-ride camera. After dropping down to the water level (with water jets on the sides of the track simulating a splashdown), the trains go around a left turn on an unstable portion of trestle, enter a mining camp, and begin to climb the second lift hill.

As trains start up the lift hill, two tied down donkeys can be seen to the right side of the track, braying at passing trains, with an empty watering pail in front of them. A goat can be seen pulling on a piece of clothing hanging on a clothesline to the riders' left, as the trains pass a parked steamroller and mine elevator, and travel under a water tower.

At the top of the lift, it is possible for guests to catch a glimpse of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney Studios Park on the horizon before the trains drop around a left turn and cross back under the lift hill. The prerecorded sound of screeching wheel flanges can be heard as trains go around the curve. As the train comes out of the drop and goes over another rise, it passes a sign warning of a broken trestle that is mounted to the water tower post (this warning sign can also be seen by sitting in the very last row of the train and looking backwards while going up the lift hill). Cresting the hill, trains cross over the broken trestle and spiral down through a 540-degree counter-clockwise helix.

Exiting the helix, the trains pass through a short cave and go over a quick airtime hill as they shoot down a canyon. As the trains drop through the tunnel and pass over a trim brake, a loud gust of wind is heard. Trains then make a right hand turn on another trestle that seems to creak under the weight of the train as they enter a tunnel with signs warning of blasting over the portal, and climb the third lift hill.

As the train starts up the hill, an unseen miner's voice can be heard yelling "Fire in the hole!" Midway up the lift, the tunnel is dynamited, and artificial smoke is blasted in guests' faces as the train crests the lift and exits the tunnel. The train crests a small hill, then drops to the left onto a straightaway alongside the river, speeding up as it enters the return tunnel. The train encounters a swarm of bats in the tunnel as it makes another sharp counter-clockwise turnaround and goes down a steep drop to cross under the water. The trains continue to accelerate through the dark until it pops out of the exit portal on the mainland. The train then coasts past the station, through the loading dock, and then turns around to reenter the station.

In other media

In film

Television series

In January 2013, ABC ordered a pilot based on the ride titled Big Thunder Mountain, but the idea was scrapped sometime after.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

Print media

In October 2014, Marvel Comics announced a five-issue series based on the attraction that will debut in early 2015.[21] Part of Marvel's "Disney Kingdoms" line, the series will elaborate on the story behind the attraction and will feature input from Walt Disney Imagineering, including nods to elements of the ride.[21]

Incidents

  • March 10, 1998, Disneyland: A 5-year-old boy was seriously injured when his foot became wedged between the passenger car's running board and the edge of the exterior platform after the train temporarily paused before pulling into the unloading area. All of the toes on his left foot required amputation. This led to improvements to the ride, although the family maintains the park would not acknowledge this injury as the reason.[22]
  • September 5, 2003, Disneyland: A 22-year-old man died after suffering severe blunt trauma and extensive internal bleeding in a derailment that also injured 10 other riders.[23] The cause of the accident was determined to be improper maintenance.[24] Investigation reports and discovery by the victim's attorney confirmed the fatal injuries occurred when the first passenger car collided with the underside of the locomotive. The derailment was the result of a mechanical failure which occurred due to omissions during a maintenance procedure. Fasteners on the left side upstop/guide wheel on the floating axle of the locomotive were not tightened and safetied in accordance with specifications. As the train entered a tunnel the axle came loose and jammed against a brake section, causing the locomotive to become airborne and hit the ceiling of the tunnel. The locomotive then fell on top of the first passenger car, crushing the victim.[25]
  • April 25, 2011, Disneyland Paris: Five guests were injured when a piece of scenery fell onto a passing train. One guest, a 38-year-old man, was seriously injured and transported to a Paris hospital, while the other four were treated at the scene.[26]
  • October 27, 2011, Disneyland Paris: Two cars derailed as one of the ride's trains passed slowly over a flat section of track. Two guests were slightly injured, and the ride was subsequently closed for inspections.[27]

See also

References

  1. Birnbaum's Disneyland Resort Official Guide 2003, pg. 65, (c) 2003 Disney Editions
  2. 2.0 2.1 Interview with Imagineer Tony Baxter Archived from the original on February 6, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Template:Cite journal
  4. "Little kidney stone? Ride a roller coaster, says study". CNN. Retrieved on 29 September 2016.
  5. Michigan State University. "Got kidney stones? Ride a roller coaster". MSUToday. Michigan State University Retrieved on 29 September 2016.
  6. Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains Imagineering at Its Peak, Disney Editions, New York, 2007. pp. 60-75.
  7. Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains Imagineering at Its Peak, Disney Editions, New York, 2007. pp. 67-69.
  8. Jim Fanning (2009). Disneyland Challenge. Disney Editions, page 23. 
  9. Glover, Erin (March 7, 2014). "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Reopen March 17 at Disneyland Park". DisneyParks Blog Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
  10. "Products". Dynamic Attractions Retrieved on October 28, 2013.
  11. Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains Imagineering at Its Peak, Disney Editions, New York, 2007. p. 72.
  12. Busdeker, Jon (2016-08-09). "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom closed for 'refurbishment'". WESH. Retrieved on 2016-09-21.
  13. http://www.dlpguide.com/calendar/closures-refurbishments/
  14. "Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park". Disney Parks Blog. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Retrieved on 8 December 2014.
  15. Nellie Andreeva. "UPDATE: Big Thunder Mountain Drama, Projects From Mark Gordon, Ryan Reynolds & Martin Campbell Get ABC Pilot Orders".
  16. Nellie Andreeva. "Melissa Rosenberg To Run ABC’s ‘Big Thunder’ Drama Pilot - Deadline".
  17. Nellie Andreeva. "Jay Hernandez Joins Fox’s ‘Gang Related’, Ana De La Reguera In ABC’s ‘Big Thunder’ - Deadline".
  18. Nellie Andreeva. "ABC Pilot Castings: Andrea Savage Boards John Leguizamo Comedy, Matt Oberg Joins ‘Pulling’, Zahn McClarnon In ‘Big Thunder’ - Deadline".
  19. Nellie Andreeva. "Scott Bakula Joins TNT’s Bounty Hunter Pilot, ABC’s ‘Big Thunder’ Casts A Lead - Deadline".
  20. Nellie Andreeva. "ABC Pilot ‘Big Thunder’ Finds Lead, CW’s ‘Oxygen’ & ABC’s ‘Influence’ Add To Casts - Deadline".
  21. 21.0 21.1 Russ Burlingame (18 October 2014). "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Comic Coming From Marvel's Disney Kingdoms Line". Retrieved on 11 December 2014.
  22. Template:Cite journal
  23. Theme Park Accident, 11 Injured (2003-09-07) Archived from the original on September 6, 2003.
  24. "Big Thunder Railroad Death Brings Big Admission From Disney", Legal Examiner (December 4, 2005). Retrieved on September 12, 2015. 
  25. Verdict settlement for BTMRR Archived from the original on March 15, 2009.
  26. "Five injured on Disneyland Paris ride". (2011-04-25) Retrieved on 2011-04-25.
  27. "Second accident at Disney train ride". The Connexion Retrieved on 28 October 2011.


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