Magical Blogorail: Disney Ride Secrets – Big Thunder Mountain

Every ride has a ‘sweet spot’ where everyone wants to sit. Especially roller coasters! Where should you sit on Big Thunder Mountain? And what other secrets does this attraction hold?

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing some of the secrets you’ll find while enjoying Disney attractions.

So what isn’t a secret about this iconic Walt Disney World attraction? The official site says: “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a speedy rollercoaster-type attraction designed with your entire family in mind. However, some parts of this attraction are bumpy and, in some instances, take place in the dark.”

Obviously, this isn’t the fastest or wildest ride in the Magic Kingdom. But what it lacks in thrills it more than makes up for in fun and theming. However, if you want the biggest possible thrill on the Big Thunder Mountain railway, here is how to get it:

Big Thunder Train Cab

TIP: Don’t Sit Up Front

When I rode this attraction for the first time, I assumed that the best place to ride would be directly behind the ‘engine’. But when I asked the loading Cast Member if we could ride up front, he told me that if I wanted to really feel the drops, I needed to ride in the back. He directed us there and… he was right!

Why? On the main drop, the coaster train slows, and the front starts down the drop before the cars are released. So the first two cars don’t experience the full length of the drop. But the last car, still slightly behind the crest of the hill when the drop begins, gets the full effect!

So whereby with other coasters the front cars are the best, with Big Thunder Mountain, it’s the rear that gives the best ride!

But there is one more tip I can share to help you get the most out of this attraction. As mentioned earlier, Big Thunder Mountain is heavily themed, so you will want to see everything. But how can you do that whilst whizzing around the track? You can’t. Therefore…

Big Thunder Mountain Vista

TIP: Ride Other Attractions

The picture above was taken from the Liberty Belle Riverboat while plying the Rivers of America. This allows you a leisurely look at the majestic spires of the mountain.

Big Thunder Ride Vehicle

You can also watch the ride vehicles go by and listen to the screams of the riders.

You can also see the mountain from the other side if you take a ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad:

Big Thunder SceneryBig Thunder Store

You will have less time to see things from this perspective as the train moves a little faster than its lake-going counterpart. But most of the small details are on this side, so be sure to sit of the right side of the train cars for the best views and photo opportunities.

I’ll let you discover the rest of the secrets on your own when you ride Big Thunder Mountain for yourself!

For more Disney ride secrets,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red  | Disney Ride Secrets Loop:

Vertical Disneyland

As promised, here are a few vertical shots I took at Disneyland in 2013:

Disneyland 103

Here the subject, Big Thunder Mountain, sits almost dead center of the vertical frame. You are basically drawn to it as your eye flys over the rooftops, down the path, and directly to the base of the mountain. I thought the leaves at the top right really helped to sell the distance of the mountain from the camera.

Disneyland 241

Vertical shots work best for really tall subjects, like this tower. I liked that it isn’t really centered in any way but still comes across as the main subject.

Disneyland 95

So again, the Matterhorn mountain is dead center of this shot. A tall item can work in a horizontal format as well as long as it is far enough away, but I prefer the vertical format for my tall subjects.

Having the busy elements of the lower third in shadows adds interest without competing with the main subject, and I thought the sky added a majestic quality to the overall composition.

Back Side of Disney’s Big Thunder

I’m always looking for a different way to photograph the same things. Anyone can, and does, photograph Big Thunder Mountain from the front side. But this view is very cool. Do you know where you need to be to get this shot?



You need to board the Lilly Belle Riverboat and enjoy the cruise around the river until you pass Big Thunder Mountain. Then just wait until you hear the screaming and get ready to snap your action shot!

Who has more fun than photographers?

Magic Kingdom Metal Lunch Box

Guest Blogger: Nick Maglio

I love lunch boxes. They remind me of the (relatively) carefree days of my youth. I had a metal lunch box, of course, but confess, it wasn’t a Disney lunch box! As an adult I’ve made up for this by buying as many reasonably priced boxes as I can get my hands on. I got this one on eBay several years ago.


This box is pretty exciting! Mickey, Donald and Pluto enjoy Space Mountain, which seems to have broken free of the attraction building, and has flown past Cinderella Castle, as a pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean prepares to take aim and shoot the errant craft down! Whew!

Then there’s the back, which is, arguably, even more dramatic. Mickey’s nephews, Morty and Ferdie, while trying to get away from an escaped elephant from The Jungle Cruise, are running right into the path of the runaway train over at Big Thunder Mountain, while the Haunted Mansion caretaker looks on! I hope those crazy kids will be okay!

This is all too much for me! Let’s calm down by taking a ride on It’s a Small World

The image continues all the way around the sides of the box

The inside is actually pretty clean

From the thermos, it looks like Mickey is okay and enjoying the fireworks, thank goodness. It was  some day!

1979, Walt Disney Productions

By Aladdin Industries Incorporated, from Nashville, Tennessee.

For more metal lunch boxes, please enter Lunch Box into the “Search” box at the upper right corner of the blog.