Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 6 Facts You Need to Know

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Disneyland, Disneyland Parks, Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

How much do you know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? Well, hold onto your hats, because we’re sharing six explosive Big Thunder Mountain Railroad facts that you need to know!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of Disney’s most beloved theme park attractions, whisking visitors away on a high-speed train ride through a gold mine. The roller coaster, which has been replicated in Disney Parks around the world, comes with immersive storytelling and thrilling moments. We’re sharing six fascinating facts about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Facts

Six Names to Remember

Each of the trains on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has its own unique name, adding a personal touch to the ride experience. These names are not just for decoration; they contribute to the overarching theme and lore of the attraction. Each of the trains has a different name, each being a testament to your bravery for boarding this dangerous ride: U.R. Courageous, U.R. Daring, U.B. Bold, I.M. Fearless, I.M. Brave, and I.B. Hearty.

The next time you board the ride, see if you can spot the name of the train you’re taking through the mountain. Hopefully, it will give you some extra courage as you travel down the “dilapidated” tracks!

The Prospector’s Voice May Sound Familiar

When you board the train to travel through the twisting tunnels of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a rambunctious prospector gives you spirited safety advice for your ride. This lively voice belongs to Dallas McKennon. As a prolific voice actor, Dallas performed a lot of work for the Walt Disney company throughout his lifetime. You’ll see his name in the credits as the voice of various minor characters in Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and 101 Dalmatians. 

His most famous roles were Art Clokey’s clay creation Gumby and the original Tony the Tiger. You can also hear Dallas throughout the Disney Parks, appearing in EPCOT’s American Adventure as Ben Franklin and The Country Bear Jamboree as Zeke!

Look Out for Hidden Mickeys and More

True to Disney’s tradition of including “Hidden Mickeys” throughout its parks, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features several of these subtle silhouettes. Sharp-eyed riders can spot them integrated into the landscape and structures, making each ride a fun scavenger hunt. Look closely at the groups of cacti for the shape of his head. As you near the end of the ride, you can see three gears conjoined to form his signature silhouette.

Another fun addition to look out for is one you’ll have to look closely for! There’s an old man in a bathtub wearing pink long johns, located near the side of the track during your ride. See him happily lounging in a claw-footed bathtub, which sometimes even spins when you pass by. Blink, and you’ll miss him!

Plenty of Explosive Touches

The entrance queue for this renowned railroad features many props and displays you can interact with while standing in line, the most exciting being a series of controls that activate explosives. As you pass through the Explosives Magazine room, you’ll snake your way around crates upon crates of dynamite emblazoned with the label “Western River Explosives,” referencing the never-built Western River Expedition attraction.

Behind those stacks, if you look below the windows that open up to the mountain beyond, you’ll notice a row of nondescript cranks and plungers. These are actually detonators that will cause blasts of smoke and flashes of light to erupt along the track outside. So, if you want to make fellow parkgoers’ rides more exciting, take a moment to detonate some (fake) explosives while you wait in line!

Inspired by Natural Landscapes

The design of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was heavily inspired by the real-life landscapes of the American Southwest, particularly the red rock pillars found on the Utah-Arizona border. These were formed over millions of years of slow wind and rain erosion This inspiration is evident in the ride’s rugged terrain, echoing the natural beauty and grandeur of these iconic formations.

Big Thunder Mountain Can Help You…Pass Kidney Stones?

In a fascinating twist of medical advice, a research study suggested that a thrill-seeking journey aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad might just be the ticket to easing the passage of kidney stones. This unconventional remedy gained attention after a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association proposed that the jerky, high-speed movements of roller coasters could facilitate the natural expulsion of these painful stones. The rationale lies in the coaster’s erratic motion, which could help dislodge small kidney stones stuck in the urinary tract, offering relief and potentially averting the need for more invasive treatments.

Certainly, an interesting reason to ride the wildest wide in the wilderness!

 

Posts by Aaron Widmar

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Aaron Widmar is a lifelong fan of the artistic and emotional power of animation to tell stories. He was raised on Disney VHS tapes as a child and even as an adult still loves re-watching his favorites. Aaron is a professional writer in a variety of fields, including the automotive industry. Although he and his wife Vicki don’t travel to Walt Disney World as often as they’d like, he can escape to the Disney-themed room of their house whenever he needs creative inspiration.
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Authored by
Aaron Widmar

Aaron Widmar is a lifelong fan of the artistic and emotional power of animation to tell stories. He was raised on Disney VHS tapes as a child and even as an adult still loves re-watching his favorites. Aaron is a professional writer in a variety of fields, including the automotive industry. Although he and his wife Vicki don’t travel to Walt Disney World as often as they’d like, he can escape to the Disney-themed room of their house whenever he needs creative inspiration.
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