Rainbow Ridge Mining Town to be Refurbished During Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Update at Disneyland Park

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios


Earlier this month, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park closed for a major refurbishment that includes all-new track and updates to the mountain itself as well as other visual elements. One area receiving an update will be the Rainbow Ridge Mining Town. Dating back to 1956 and the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train attraction, Rainbow Ridge Mining Town is a classic feature of Frontierland.

When the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad refurbishment is complete this fall, Rainbow Ridge Mining Town will look very much the same as it always has. It is being refurbished with new materials, but many items from the original area will be reused such as props, signs and select doors, windows and shutters. Several other items are being turned over to the Disney Archives.

“The wildest ride in the wilderness” reopens fall 2013, so hold onto your hats and glasses until then!


  • Please tell me The Coyotes will remain, Coyote Canyon is One Of My Favorite areas on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

  • What will the new track be like?

  • I hope the Rainbow Ridge mining town doesn’t change too too much. That is one of my favorite places and one reason I go on the Big Thunder ride…I have pictures of my family and I in front of it and on the burros that were that there a long long time ago!

  • The town name of Rainbow Ridge really ties into the rainbow of colors in the layering of minerals on Big Thunder Mountain. Would be great to see the signage back on the old Mineral Hall which still exists.

  • Fantastic news, Disneyland!! Can’t wait to see it all spruced up!

  • I am really interested to know if the animals will all be there in the spots they are now…specifically the goat. My son and I have a tradition of always doing the “goat trick”. We name all the animals along the way and when we get to the goat we turn to look at it quickly while throwing our hands up in the air, usually yelling, “GOAT!!!”. The sensation you get is thrilling!! I hope we can continue this tradition.

  • I’m glad to see that much of Rainbow Ridge is staying. Though Disneyland is not a museum, it is still important to preserve what history is left as time drags on and swallows more and more of it up.

  • I’ve also heard that they might be getting rid of the goat & also might not replicate the weld in the spiral butte that causes the trains to slam to the left.

    I hope that neither of these things is true.

    Can you verify any of this information?

  • The town of Rainbow Ridge hasn’t existed since 1979 when it was renamed Big Thunder, per the population sign near the entrance.

    • You make a good point, Gregory; however, since so many Disneyland fans still call the area Rainbow Ridge, I thought calling it by that name would best describe the piece of the attraction to which I was referring.

  • Anna-Leigh, from what I’ve hear, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is scheduled to reopen at the end of October. Good luck in the Half-Marathon!

  • I was wondering if anything would be changed to the ride for its refurbishment. I am glad to hear that the town will be kept. I have to admit, that I have always wondered what the Rainbow Ridge attraction was like. Hope the work is done by October when I get there. 🙂

  • When do they plan to release a date for Big Thunder Mountain to re-open? I will be there for the Disneyland Half Marathon Sept. 1 and will be so sad if it is closed.

    • Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog, Anna-Leigh – I’ll post the date as soon as I can.

  • Thanks for the update Erin! Great to hear. 🙂

  • I will be there in March – so I will just have to go back in the fall for a trip on Ol’ Thunder! YEHAWW!!

  • I am also SO relieved and glad to find out that the mining town isn’t going to be removed. I love looking at and listening to it every time I go by it, it brings back so many wonderful childhood memories!

  • This makes me so happy! Like Matthew said, I too heard the rumor that it was going to be removed and I was very disappointed. It is so great to hear that such a neat part of Disneyland’s past is getting so much attention, and even neater to hear that some items will be kept safe in the Archives!

  • It is great to hear Rainbow Ridge is being refurbished and not removed. That little town has a lot of memories.

  • This is so AWESOME to hear! Can’t wait!!

  • There was a rumor that the mining town would disappear following this refurb.. glad to hear that is not the case. Thanks for clearing this up, Erin!

    • I’m glad it helped clear up any confusion!

  • My mom has the Big Thunder Mountain curse. The last 3 times we’ve taken her to a Disney park (Disneyland Paris, Disney World and now Disneyland) Big Thunder has been closed. 🙁 We’ll have to get her back this fall to ride it.

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