Frontierland

Home to Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and one of its most popular quick services, most guests will spend a considerable amount of time in this land. Fortunately, both rides enjoy hefty capacities that makes it possible to visit them in the second hour of operation. You’ll also find two anytime attractions in Frontierland – the comfortable serenading of bears in Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer Island, where adventures await.

Pecos Bill is the principal quick service, now offering a limited menu primarily of burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Additional, more expensive items are available beginning at 4pm. Diamond Horseshoe once offered a lively evening show and table service fare, but its current iteration is rarely open and serves below average sandwiches and salads. Golden Oak Outpost is located at the Pecos’ side exit, serving snacks and chicken sandwiches. There’s rarely a line, making it a good stop for a Diet Coke. Westward Ho alongside the river serves snacks, in addition to corn dogs. Two to three carts also position themselves along the river across from Diamond Horseshoe, serving turkey legs, churros, and pretzels. Lines are usually shorter at similar stands around the corner in Liberty Square.

Of course, you’ll find several merchandise opportunities here too. Splash Mountain’s exit offers some attraction-branded merchandise, in addition to several shops in between Pecos Bill and Diamond Horseshoe that offer everything from freshly baked treats to limited edition pins.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

by josh on May 14, 2010

Opened: September 23, 1980

Location: In the very back of Frontierland near Splash Mountain

Extra Magic Hours: Evening

FastPass+: Yes – high priority. Consider using one of your three pre-selected FastPass+ or secure as a 4th or 5th at a kiosk as soon as possible.

Type: Roller coaster

Similar To: A tamer Expedition Everest

Requirements: Must be 40” or taller to ride

Scary Factor: Medium.  Big Thunder Mountain is tame for a roller coaster by just about any definition, but it still moves forward with a maximum speed of about 30 miles per hour.  There are no corkscrews, inversions, or significant drops.  If you adamantly “hate” roller coasters then this probably won’t be for you, but anyone who enjoys Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, or any similar roller coaster will enjoy Thunder Mountain.  If Expedition Everest is a 7/10 on the intensity scale then Big Thunder Mountain is about a 4, if that.

What to Expect: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s queue is long and winding, though interactive elements help reduce boredom during longer waits.  The ride is themed like you’re on a runaway train as it careens down Thunder Mountain without a conductor or crew.  Each train has five cars that can seat up to three people in each of its three rows, for a maximum of 45 people per train.  Most rows usually seat one or two people.  The emphasis is on the scenery and theme rather than exciting drops or turns.  Pay attention to the authentic mining equipment strewn throughout the ride and the 20 animatronic animals.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a good “beginner’s coaster” for people who aren’t sure what they can handle.  If this is too much for you, then you probably want to stay away from Disney’s other coasters.  If you thoroughly enjoy it, then you should enjoy Space Mountain and be ready to try Expedition Everest and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster.

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Country Bear Jamboree

by josh on May 14, 2010

Country Bear Jamboree

Opened: October 1, 1971

Location: Frontierland, in between Pecos Bill and Liberty Tree Tavern.  As you’re walking through Frontierland on your way to Splash or Big Thunder Mountains, you’ll see it on your left before arriving at Pecos Bill quick service.

Extra Magic Hours: Evening

FastPass+: No

Type: Animatronic theater show

Similar To: Enchanted Tiki Room, Hall of Presidents

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Zero

What to Expect: Country Bear Jamboree is another of the older audio-animatronic theater shows, this time featuring 18 bears, a buffalo, a raccoon, a stag, and a moose.  The bears put on a 13-minute show full of corny jokes, songs, and gags.  The theater is comfortable and air-conditioned. Refurbished in 2008, the Country Bears now have better audio and slightly improved animatronics.

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Splash Mountain

by josh on May 14, 2010

Opened: October 2, 1992

Location: In the back of Frontierland to the left of the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Extra Magic Hours: No

FastPass+: Yes – high priority. Consider making it one of your three pre-selected experiences.

Type: Log flume

Similar To: Unique, though the drop is similar to other log flume rides

Requirements: Must be 40” or taller

Scary Factor: Medium.  The “big drop” is clearly visible to all Disney World visitors and may make some guests apprehensive about riding.  It’s really not that bad though and if you could handle any of Disney’s other roller coasters or a similar attraction at another theme park then you should be fine.  The drop is a little over 50 feet at a 45 degree angle and is a lot more fun than it is uncomfortable or unpleasant.  Even people who adamantly “hate” roller coasters enjoy Splash Mountain.

What to Expect: There is a lot more to Splash Mountain than “just a drop.”  The ride is actually about 12 minutes long and follows the story of Br’er Rabbit as he attempts to leave the briar patch in search of his “laughing place.”  First, you’ll have to make it through the queue, which is mostly covered but not particularly interesting.  Once you make it to the front of the line, you will board the log flume which has four rows of two people, for a total of up to eight riders per log.  Once aboard, your flume will take you slowly through a series of scenes featuring more than 100 animatronic characters.

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Tom Sawyer Island Playground

by josh on May 14, 2010

Opened: May 20, 1973

Location: The raft to Tom Sawyer Island is located to the right before you arrive at the entrance to Splash or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Extra Magic Hours: No

FastPass+: No

Type: Exhibit and playground

Similar To: Unique

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Zero

What to Expect: Tom Sawyer’s Island is only accessible via a motorized raft that boards near the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Once on the island, visitors can explore numerous caves, a mine, two bridges, a working water wheel, and Fort Langhorn, a play area geared toward kids.  Benches are plentiful and the Island is a terrific spot to take a break while enjoying a treat.  Unfortunately, you’ll need to bring that treat with you.  Aunt Polly’s, the old ice cream and snack bar, has closed permanently.

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