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Vintage Walt Disney World: Big Thunder Mountain Debuts at Magic Kingdom Park

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Today in 1980, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Grand Opening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park in 1980

Covering over two acres and rising almost 200 feet above sea level, this iconic Magic Kingdom Park attraction was inspired by Monument Valley, Arizona.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park in 1980

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was the second mountain to rise into the sky at Magic Kingdom Park (behind Space Mountain and before Splash Mountain).
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park in 1980

Even today, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad continues to live up to the old miner’s proclamation of being “the wildest ride in the wilderness.”

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Comments

  • It is actually 197 ft. tall.

  • I love Big Thunder Mountain, it’s my favorite ride. I also share my birthday with it! I rode it the first time in 99′ I then rode it 4 more times in a row. The ride operator told be I should be a ride tester lol. I was sad that it was closed in May when I was down there.

  • One of my all-time favorites! Cool post – thank you!

  • I think that is the first time I’ve seen close aerial shot of BTMRR. It really shows you how BIG the ride actually is.

  • Fun ride. Quite possibly one of the worst queue lines in the 4 parks. Even when it’s not busy you end up doing a lot of unnecessary walking because the queue isn’t very configurable.

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