You can tell this website does really well with search engine optimization, can’t you? We’re headed out to Magic Kingdom on July 18th and also May 31st. A lot of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad pictures are from May 31st. I’ve really just been a huge jerk not “sharing” them with you, but truth be told, I wanted to gather better pictures and more information on how wait/FASTPASS return times were looking since its lengthy refurbishment concluded back in late May. Was the wait worth it? Probably not. But not everything works out.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of the biggies, and barring any technical difficulties, almost always sees more riders than any other attraction on property.
Disney announced on October 6, 2011 that Big Thunder would be going down for refurbishment from January 9th through May 27th, 2012. Many improvements were made (or they tried to make), including repairing the geysers, replacing the track, repainting/refurbishing the mountain, set pieces, buildings, etc. and completely redoing the queue.
We’ll start from the beginning and work our way through the queue. First up, the standby and FASTPASS return entrances were switched. This allows FASTPASS returners easier access to both loading bays and seemingly shortens the length of the standby line. It’s not uncommon for Big Thunder to look much more backed up than it used to, thanks to a reconfiguration of the switchbacks inside. Wheelchair/ECV users still board using a separate entrance near the exit.
Water again flows effortlessly down from the tower above.
Clarkdale was an Arizona mining town founded in 1912 by William A. Clark. If you have the guts, you can ride the “real” Verde Canyon Railroad from Clarksdale. It’s more than a little neat.
Looking up, we can expect to see a lot of mining equipment as we walk the queue.
Some nice views for those of you willing to turn around.
You’ll have time because FASTPASS is huge here. It wouldn’t surprise me if they distributed a thousand or more an hour.
Security keeping a watchful eye on the Frontierland railroad station next door. Hey pardner, this is a high tech saloon.
The entire queue has been reworked. I thought I had read that it was going to be wheelchair accessible, but that’s not the case.
The queue isn’t enclosed, but it’s supposed to be air-conditioned. I’ve never been in it when it was working properly. It’s still really hot.
Air should come through those speaker-looking-things on the ceiling. I think.
Disney is going to tease that you can walk right inside the station, down the stairs, and board your runaway train. I can assure that we have a very hot, very sweaty ways to go.
Maybe they should have used more modern air-conditioning components.
Nothing that even looks this old and rusty could possibly function properly.
Brad wants to know what’s in the box. And also, a door to nowhere. Not sure what government approved that.
Barring any significant meltdowns, the returning choo-choos should reassure wary kids that it’s safe to ride.
The attraction itself is beautiful. Disney needs about eight more of this type of immersive ride around property.
GET OUT OF HERE BAR! Never thought I’d say that.
Be careful if the geysers are running because this is right before the ride ends. You can theoretically get stuck here for a while if it takes a while for another train to load/unload.
I’m not sure how common it is, but the geysers weren’t working when I rode on July 18th.
FASTPASS returners arriving on the right and the stopped standby queue lined up on the left through the opening.
There’s often discussion about what the best “first coaster” is for kids. Barnstormer is often the recommendation, but Big Thunder Mountain Railroad might be a better choice. While Barnstormer is much shorter, it’s also wilder and jerkier. Depending on the size of the adult, it may not be possible for the child and the adult to sit next to each other. On Big Thunder, you may be able to get an adult on each side of the child. Since the refurbishment, Big Thunder is a lot smoother than it used to be. However, the caves are dark and one of the lifts is especially loud. At four minutes, it’s also significantly longer than the 90-second-or-so Barnstormer, which really only has about 45 seconds of action.
No smoking in the queue please.
This one says:
Gen. Mine Supplies
Sorry, I have a degree in History, which is (not) coincidentally why I don’t have a job. You can read all about the Burtons here and still tour the Tropico mine and mill to this day.
On our way down to the station. With the air-conditioning less than working, I wouldn’t be in the standby line here between 11am and 9pm over the summer.
Luckily, air-conditioning on the walkway down to the trains seems to work a lot better. It’s actually incredibly comfortable once you make it this far.
Including the walk to the loading bay, budget about 15 minutes to experience the attraction if you’re using FASTPASS. Summer afternoon peak waits have been in the 60 to 100 minute range.
You can fit one to three people in each row. Unless you know the person next to you, you aren’t expected to ride with them because there’s nothing separating your bodies. Thus, no single rider.
Eeeeeeeeee!!! We’re going to pull at least .04 G’s. The mountains look like oversized termite hills from Kilimanjaro Safaris.
With a top speed around 30 miles per hour and no substantial drops, most anybody should be able to handle Big Thunder. The 40″ minimum height remains intact. Wear stilts.
Sissies (no doubt) riding the train from Frontierland over to Storybook Circus and then Main Street.
What do you know, we already have Inappropriate Sara imitators. At least this seven year old has the decency to keep more than one finger up. Can’t you see I’m trying to take pictures of GOATS? Or RAMS? Or SOMETHING? For the INTERNET? Some people have their priorities all mixed up.
Too bad text messaging and the Internet don’t exist or some of these runaway trains could tweet others that trouble looms.
Another look at the newly refurbished mountain. This is what it looks like.
Or with the colors and clarity turned up. It’s fun to see the Liberty Square Riverboat head past (upper right).
Otherwise, it should be what you remember from the good ol’ days when the attraction was fresh.
Quick, you distract the 70,000 cast members and I’ll steal the 24-bottle case of Over-The-Gums Irish Blend. I’SIDEMUHBELLAY would have been a better brand name.
The geysers at the exit are working.
A Kodak Picture Spot for how long? I wonder how much I would have to pay Disney to have easyWDW Picture Spots in really awkward places. Like in front of napkin dispensers and refurbishment walls. Ketchup dispensers? And there would be a cardboard cutout of me to pose with? Naw, like the Disney Parks napkins, those would get smuggled out by the million.
FASTPASS return times have been further out since reopening in May, but it still remains a lower priority than Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain (when it’s hot out). This is at 8:10pm, so FASTPASS is still under an hour out this late in the day. When I swung by at 5:56pm to pick up my FASTPASS, the return time was 7:30pm – 8:30pm.
At the same time, the last FASTPASSes of the day are being distributed at Splash Mountain with the 75 minute posted wait.
Tom Sawyer’s Island closes at “dusk,” which isn’t a particularly clear time. They had stopped transporting guests over when this picture was taken at 7:49pm and seemed to be transporting the last of the stragglers over to the main land. I would think the last boat would leave for Tom Sawyer right around 7pm over the summer and they would hunt you down around 8pm.
Speaking of Tom Sawyer’s Island, Harper’s Mill is spinning again.
Speaking of Splash Mountain, do you like to get wet?
You tell me bro.
Someone had asked about Splash Mountain merchandise. I’ve got a good look at the entirety of it in this post.
But here are a few more that fit into the Frontierland aesthetic.
Frontier Mickey and Chip/Dale.
Hats. The raccoon one would run you $12.95. I like the Jessie hat with the braids. Even if you wear both the Chip and Dale hats at the same time, it still isn’t going to turn you into “Magic Mike.” I “haven’t seen that movie,” so I don’t know if that’s a relevant “joke.”
This Henschel runs $41.95, which actually seems like a really good price as they look to run $40+ online.
It’s weird to see kids running around with these very long plastic guns. They run $17.95.
These Deputy Minnie shirts are on sale for $11.99, down from $16.95 inside the Frontierland Pin Store. Whatever its actual name is.
Along with Sheriff Mickey.
For some reason it doesn’t surprise me that moose spit soap is authentically Canadian. Or that their website is crazy. What the heck is a “gms product?” And why are there bubbles floating upwards making it impossible to read? Somehow I found this product listed and it assures us that moose spit is not an active (present) ingredient. A bar would run you $5 direct, so $6.95 isn’t bad considering.
Oh my. Whiskey barrel Pluto is available in Frontierland. That means he isn’t Canadian, right? So he’s purchasable?
Protip: Throwing pieces of your Turkey Leg at the birds won’t make them leave you alone. Mastertip: Hitting them with the Turkey Leg does. Also if you speak fowl, you can point to their legs, point to your turkey leg, and point to your eyes to scare them off. This always works.
We’ll hit the patched up Dumbos, Storybook Circus, and Main Street next.