Behind the Wall: Update on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Work continues behind that tall, wooden fence in Frontierland at Disneyland park, as the major refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad nears its fall 2013 completion. Today, I’m excited to take you behind the walls for a peek at the progress so far!

Behind the Walls: Rainbow Ridge Mining Town at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park Behind the Walls: Rainbow Ridge Mining Town at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park Behind the Walls: Rainbow Ridge Mining Town at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

Disneyland Chief Photographer Paul Hiffmeyer had the opportunity to check in on Rainbow Ridge Mining Town last week, and brought back the shots above. As we told you back in January, this classic piece of the attraction has also received a major refurbishment, and you can see in the photos above that great care is being taken in the Rainbow Ridge restoration.

Elsewhere on the mountain, the new track has been laid and is in the process of being fully completed. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog; we’ll continue to bring you updates leading up to the reopening of the “wildest ride in the wilderness” in just a few months!


  • I also bought tickets for Halloween thinking it would be open! Any reasons given for the delay? Is there a new projected opening date? It’s one of our favorites. It’s the first roller coaster and “big kid” ride that my daughter, now 18, ever rode. I still treasure the picture we have of her after getting off the train, leaping into the air with pure joy.

  • Does anyone have an official word on how long BTMR will be closed? I checked the Disney site for refurbs and it was marked as back open Oct 30 and 31st but now it looks like it’s been added back on up until Nov 5th at least.

  • Please, please tell me the rumors about a delayed reopening aren’t true! We planned our trip around a fall reopening of Big Thunder since it is my boys favorite ride at the park. Please give us an update.

  • I would also love to hear if the rumors are true. I’m hoping they’re not and that the opening date will still be fall 2013.

  • Please comment on the rumors that BTMR will not re-open on October 30th. Our Disneyland trip early November is being planned around this. Is there a possibility Big Thunder is behind schedule and will not open on the 30th of Oct?

  • You are pretty Erin!

  • Will Big Thunder Mountain be a pretty ride when it is re-done?

  • Hi Erin!

  • Please Keep us updated on this one, I don’t want to book my trip, till I know it will be open, its our favorite.

  • Please have soft openings when I am there Sept 28th — Oct 3rd. OH PLEASE!!!!

  • Hi Thor!

  • Will the new trains be articulated?

  • Will there be a sneak preview for annual pass holders in the form of ERT (Exclusive Ride Time) in October?

  • Will Big Thunder Mountain have more comfortable trains than the Matterhorn?

    Thank you.

  • This has always been my favorite thrill ride at Disneyland! I can’t wait for it to reopen! I like the idea of new enhancements in the ride, too!

  • I live here, and was at DLand for a (rare for me) evening visit: my friend and I traded off choosing what we were going to ride next, and I KEPT saying “Thunder MTN”!!!! There is NOTHING like that attraction at night!!!!

  • I miss the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness, but am really happy it’s getting TLC. Can’t wait till it reopens!

  • I’m staying in the Thunder Mountain Room in two weeks and am so disappointed that this is going to be closed! It looks great though.

  • I would love it if the Lone Ranger and Tonto showed up on the all-new Thunder Mountain Railroad! Is that really happening???

    Disney Parks Anaheim are the best ever!

    • That’s interesting, David and Thor! I checked with my friends at Walt Disney Imagineering, who confirmed that the Lone Ranger and Tonto will not appear in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when it reopens. Sorry!

  • I heard a rumor (and I hope its true!) that the Lone Ranger and Tonto will be placed somewhere within the ride. True??

  • This is tied with Small World for my favorite attraction. I’m so hoping the refurbishment won’t take all the fun out of the ride like when the Matterhorn was re-done.

  • New track? Not sure if you can answer this but will the ride actually be routed differently or did it just get new tracks where the old tracks were? Will there be changes throughout the ride or will it just be reopened with a fresher look?

    p.s. LOVE this ride!

    • Cliff – The track is new, but it follows the same route that the previous track followed. There will be some enhancements when the attraction reopens this fall, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself.

  • Are there going to be new trains as well, and if so, when will we be able to see what they look like?

    • Yes! The trains are being refurbished as well. I hope to be able to bring you a look at them soon, so stay tuned!

  • Are they keeping the original graphic letter styles from before, and will they officially call the town Rainbow Ridge?

    • It is being refurbished with new materials, but Rainbow Ridge Mining Town (as the area will continue to be called) will look very much the same as it always has, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopens this fall.

  • is there a date set yet for reopening. A soft opening for the d23 expo would be nice!!!

    • All I know is fall 2013 at this point, but as soon as a date is set, we’ll have it here on the Disney Parks Blog!

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