Welcome back to Disneyland Paris at 25.
Take off your hats and glasses because this here is the wildest ride in the universe!
Of course, I’m talking about Big Thunder Mountain, the runaway train that takes us through the gold mines of Thunder Mesa.
After swooping underneath the Rivers of the Far West, riders emerge on the island to discover that the tunnel is being flooded with water, whilst the second is about to collapse and another is filled with bats! What occurs is a wild and fast ride that beats no other!
Gold is at the heart of the attraction as well as Frontierland itself. Set at the backdrop of the Gold Rush (1849-1885), people flocked to Henry Ravenswood’s town of Thunder Mesa to profit from its wealth. However little did they know that a Thunderbird protects the riches of the mountain, and that if a miner wants to take the riches, the Thunderbird beats its wings triggering a thunderbolt and earthquake. In 1860 the Thunder Mesa Mining Company was struck by the curse of the Thunderbird, causing the death of Henry Ravenswood and his wife, as well as inflicting damage to the gold mine as it collapsed in a shower of rubble and timber. For security reasons, the gold mine closed and the company ceased trading.
However we guests still love to jump on the mine trains, explore this mountain, and experience its thrills!
With the trains reaching a maximum speed of 50 km/h, this is not your average, timid rollercoaster. It is better, attracting young and older riders with its brilliant combination of family-friendly thrills and masterful detailing. Despite Disneyland Paris’s addition of four more roller coasters throughout the park, Thunder Mountain retains its timeless nature and appeal, bringing in more guests now than ever before.
Situated on the island in the middle of Rivers of the Far West, Thunder Mountain is the focal point of Frontierland, able to be seen from anywhere in the immediate vicinity. Unique in its position, it provides guests with a thrill not experienced at any other Disney park – a tunnel from the mainland out to the island that due to the track system, makes the attraction the fastest out of them all. Engineers were not originally convinced it would work but due to the persistence of the Imagineers and the current reality of the Euro Tunnel’s construction, they managed to build the attraction we see today.
I am not usually a fan of roller coasters, in fact I am a complete wuss when it comes to a lot of thrills, however Thunder Mountain is the exception. Out of every attraction in the park, it has to be mine and my family’s favourite. It is fun, exciting, and exhilarating, and it is usually ridden at least four times each trip. As one of the most popular out of all the park attractions, instead of queuing we always use the fast pass, ride it during EMH if possible, or take advantage of my sister’s green pass (obviously when she is with us otherwise that would be completely unethical and unfair).
We did have a couple of problems with the attraction and my sister’s pass on our last trip, mainly due to the mechanical problems it was having, but that still doesn’t dampen how we feel about it.
The safety spiels for quite a few of the Thunder Mountain attractions were recorded by voice actor Dal MacKennon. As many of them have been re-recorded over the years, Disneyland Paris is now the only park that still plays the original spiels.
The original Big Thunder Mountain was the first major project of Imagineer Tony Baxter, opening at Disneyland in 1979.
In December 1992, a French woman by the name of Madame Deguerce offered her collection of 200 cactus plants to Disneyland Paris. The cacti took their place in front of Big Thunder Mountain at least for the duration of the milder seasons.
23,000 litres of paint were used to give the mountain range its authentic ochre glow.
For more information on the backstory of Thunder Mountain, the legend of Thunder Mesa and even Phantom Manor, check out this fantastic site.
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!