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!


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Magical Blogorail: Imagineer for a Day

Mayor for a Day. Firefighter for a Day. Astronaut for a Day. All good choices, but for the Disney fan, it has to be Imagineer for a Day! Join me and my fellow Blogorailers as we exploit our opportunities to change whatever we want about the attractions and/or shows in the Disney parks!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. I’ve chosen to reimagine:


RocknRoller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

rock-n-roller-coaster

Currently, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is an enclosed launched steel roller coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort and at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris. As the attraction’s name suggests, the coaster features Aerosmith members, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, and Brad Whitford.

attraction-bling

Remember them? Many young people today don’t, and this is one reason I feel it’s time for a rethink! Even if the queue area is awesome.

The Florida attraction opened on July 29, 1999 and is located at the end of Sunset Boulevard. The coaster accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and that is something I would not change! Because riders experience 4.5 G as they enter the first inversion, more than an astronaut does on a space shuttle launch. Yeah. It’s that wicked!

But outdated. So what would I do to reinvigorate this attraction if I were an Imagineer?

F I R S T

Introduce a new theme

Out with Aerosmith and the music angle. Rather than mess with the beyond-awesome Twilight Zone Tower of Terror I would introduce a Marvel theme to this attraction instead. Universal Studios has made an art form out of fusing Marvel characters with cutting edge roller coaster technology and as a result has arguably kicked Disney’s butt in the thrill ride sector!

Adding to the obvious symmetry of this product placement is that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a movie-themed park. Marvel Comics movies are killing at the box office now and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. So a superhero overlay only makes sense.

S E C O N D

Reinvent the queue area

Out with the tacky video message. There are so many better and higher tech ways to engage an audience than a flat screen video presentation. The concept artwork for the Guardians of the Galaxy queue area planned for TOT would work here.

Or we could use Avengers Mansion as a template. Or Stark Industries. Or Dr. Strange’s Inner Sanctum. The list of available options are numerous and could be swapped out to freshen up the attraction as new Marvel movies are released. This would also give Disney the opportunity to promote new properties.

T H I R D

Add additional Photo Ops

One action shot is not enough! I love ride photos and this roller coaster has so many scream-inducing moves that more cameras to capture these moments would be cool.

Beyond that, we have the opportunity to create a Marvel hero meet-and-greet beyond anything we have seen in a Disney park to date! Face characters could interact with guests during times of peak capacity. More face characters could be waiting for guests after the ride, near the obligatory gift shop, to pose for pictures.

ride-vehicle

And that my friends is what I would do to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster if I were an Imagineer for a day! Of course, it would take slightly longer than a day to pull off such changes, but with a little faith and some pixie dust… it would still take longer than a day.

But I’m a patient man and would stick with it until it was done! Am I hired?

For more about Disney attractions we would like to see improved, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Imagineer for a Day Loop:

Disneyland Rollercoaster Tin Toy

I’ve always wanted one of these vintage Disney tin toys but have never been able to justify the cost. But today I found one at a reasonable price, although it has many condition issues. Let’s have a look:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 025

 Wonderful graphics!

This is a roller coaster that uses small individual cars which are drawn up the main ramp by a belt and then traverse the track using downward momentum alone.

Now let’s look at the whole toy:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 010

Disneyland Rollercoaster 011

So the first condition issue is the spring which has sprung:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 014

Also, the wind-up key is missing as is the conveyor belt used to move the cars up the main ramp:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 023          Disneyland Rollercoaster 024

And… the cars themselves are missing. But here is what they look like according to an eBay seller:

DL Rollercoaster Car top  DL Rollercoaster Car Bottom

But other than that, it is in beautiful condition and will make a very nice display piece!

Now let’s look at the graphics more closely and see the wonderful characters that are attending the fair today:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 012  Disneyland Rollercoaster 013

Disneyland Rollercoaster 015  Disneyland Rollercoaster 016

Disneyland Rollercoaster 017      Disneyland Rollercoaster 019

Nice pattern on the ‘floor’:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 020

And here is a final shot of the bottom of the toy:

Disneyland Rollercoaster 021

J. Chein & Co. was the manufacturer and the piece was likely produced between 1951 and 1953. I say this because Alice (in Wonderland) appears on the toy (July 28, 1951) but Peter Pan does not (February 5, 1953). Nor do characters from Lady and the Tramp (1955) or Sleeping Beauty (1959) and no characters from the 1960’s or later appear either.

The eBay seller I mentioned above is selling this piece for $150.00 US in a more complete condition than the one featured in this post. I paid just $42.50 CAN but again with more condition issues. But for me I simply want it for display purposes.

To conclude, here is some information about the J.Chein company:

J. Chein & Company was an American toy manufacturer in business from 1903 through the 1980s. It is best remembered today for its mechanical toys made from stamped and lithographed tin produced from the 1930s through the 1950s. Founded by Julius Chein in a loft in New York City, Chein’s earliest toy production was a line of premiums for the Cracker Jacks snack line. The American Can Company provided the lithographic printing for Chein’s early output until 1907 when Chein opened their own full production plant in Harrison, New Jersey. With their new facilities, they were able to produce piggy banks, noisemakers and model horse-drawn carriages. They also manufactured a number of toys under license from such companies as King Features Syndicate and Walt Disney Productions, producing Popeye, Felix the Cat and various Disney character toys.

Canada’s Wonderland: Roller Coaster Foliage

The best part of roller coasters is the thrill-a-minute rush of the ride. The waiting in line I could do without, but every good thing seems to come with a price, eh?

Another great part of roller coasters is the image they create against the landscape:

Coaster Foliage

Can you hear the screaming?

The above shot is of a large wooden roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland. I love the natural feel of everything, as the wood construction of the coaster blends well with the trees and brush that obscure it.

Who’s up for a ride?

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?

56+

Guesses?

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?

Top 5 Things That Should be Added to Disney World

You’ve heard of the Bucket List. You’ve heard of a Wish List. Well, now get ready for the Disney version of both! Here is the top five things I would like to see added to Walt Disney World (and Disneyland too!) before my next visit:

Bring It On No. 5: Marvel Characters

Unfortunately, Universal Studios has this entire stable of Marvel superheroes under an exclusive contract for now. But I just feel that Disney could do them so much better! Universal Studios theming doesn’t quite match the Mouse, and this is no more evident than with its costumed characters. I mean please, Universal has Wolverine and the W-men driving around on ATV’s!

Cap America Key Chain 001

Universal has spruced up the costumes themselves, but they still don’t showcase the characters in true meet-and-greet glory a la Disney! Yet, I’m a bit conflicted about seeing Spiderman next to Goofy in the Parks, so that’s why this item is number five.

Bring It On No. 4: Better Night Entertainment

Ever since Pleasure Island closed, nightlife at WDW has been a little slim. Now, I’m not much into the all-night party, but I think Disney should have replaced the clubs and concerts with something else. After all, just because we like Mickey’s squeaky-clean image doesn’t mean we still don’t want to have fun!

Bring It On No. 3: Disney Movies in Resort Rooms

Have you ever been stuck in your room at a Disney Resort? Maybe one of your children needed a break, or someone was sick? This happened to me once, and let me tell you, what was on the TV got pretty boring after a very short time! And you can only watch the Parks info channel for so long!

Media Aladdin DVD Gift Set +

Why should I have to bring my own? And play it on my laptop??

Having Disney movies in the rooms, even if they were pay-per-view, would be a nice option in an entertainment pinch. DVD players in all rooms, even Value, would be appreciated.

Bring It On No. 2: More Thrill Rides

The only way that Disney pales in comparison to other Parks is in the thrill ride department. Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Six Flags and others, do seem to make mean roller coasters! I much prefer the over-the-top theming of the Disney Parks to just a cheep thrill, but I can see the attraction of a wicked thrill ride!

alamo_startrek_journeytobabel7

I still say Disney could up the ante by adding an Incredibles dueling coaster. Who’s with me?

Bring It On No. 1: Interactive Guest Events

I say this, and put it into the number one spot, without really knowing what I want! I enjoy the interaction of online Disney groups, such as those found on Facebook and other social media sites. And you always hear of ones planning to meet up at the Parks.

But what is there to do when there that would still keep you together? Perhaps more attractions that required multiple users to work together (such as in EPCOT). Or maybe having a lounge where Disney fans could just drop in to see whose around? I just don’t know. But it seems like a good idea.

What would you suggest? And don’t be shy! If you have your own item for the Disney Wish List, share it with us in the comments section. Perhaps Mickey will read it and it’ll become a reality during your next Disney vacation!