As Disneyland's third roller coaster mountain addition, Big Thunder
Mountain Railroad has been a guest favorite since it debuted in
1979. But did you know
When Steven Spielberg was working on the mine car chase scene in
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he sent his sound designers
to records the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
There's 2671 feet of track, about a half mile and takes guests on
a three minute ride with speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
The Disney Imagineers gave the trains clever names including: U.B.
Bold, I.M. Brave, U.R. Courageous, U.R. Daring, I.M. Fearless and
The mountain itself stands 104 feet high and sits on two acres.
It was based on Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park.
The concept came from Marc Davis, who planned a western river expedition
for Walt Disney World. Although the attraction was never realized
in WDW, the runaway mining car portion was strong enough to stand
alone and was built in Disneyland. Interestingly, although it was
originally planned for WDW, Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
attraction was built first!
In the earlier days of Disneyland, there existed a different mining
car attraction, the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. The
small Big Thunder town on the attraction is the site for the departure
station for that older attraction.
The colorful springs and pools on Big Thunder also pay homage to
the older attraction in that same spot, Rainbow Caverns Mine Train.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad took seven years to design and two
years to construct, to the tune of $16,000,000. It took longer to
create than the entire park and nearly cost as much.