History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

Today in Disney History: Big Thunder Mountain Opened at Walt Disney World

It’s “The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!”

On September 23, 1980, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park. The concept for this ride, which was originally part of the planned Western River Expedition, was created in the early 1970s. Construction was held in favor of Pirates of the Caribbean and then Space Mountain, but was ready for the public in 1980 as part of Frontierland.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a mine train coaster that takes riders through the American Southwest, where gold has been discovered. The rockwork was based on the rising buttes of Monument Valley in Arizona. It’s easy to see the reference – nice work Imagineers!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is absolutely one of our favorite rides at Walt Disney World. It’s great any time of day, but night rides are extra magical! For a shorter wait and a great view, try riding during Happily Ever After (the nighttime fireworks show).

Have you rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? What’s your favorite ride at Magic Kingdom?


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