Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Guide to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Hold on to your hats and glasses because you’re in for a wild ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a thrilling roller coaster located in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. This runaway mine train takes guests on a high-speed journey through the rugged landscape of the American Southwest, complete with towering buttes, mysterious caverns, and plenty of twists and turns along the way.

As you make your way through the winding queue, you’ll find yourself transported to the heart of Gold Rush country, surrounded by the sights and sounds of a bustling mining town. Once aboard your train, you’ll embark on a fast-paced adventure that will leave you breathless and eager for more.

In this guide, we’ll explore every aspect of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad experience, from the immersive queue to the heart-pounding ride itself. We’ll also share some insider tips and fascinating facts to help you make the most of your journey through the wildest ride in the wilderness.

Key Information

Before setting off on your Big Thunder Mountain Railroad adventure, let’s review some essential information about the attraction:

  • Height Requirement: Riders must be at least 40 inches (102 cm) tall.

  • Suitable For: Thrill-seekers, older children, and adults. The high speeds and sudden drops may be too intense for younger children or those who are sensitive to fast motion.

  • Type of Ride: Roller coaster

  • Category: Thrill ride

  • Photography: Photography and video recording are not permitted on the ride.

  • Opening Date: November 15, 1980

  • Length: 2,780 feet (847 meters)

  • Top Speed: 36 mph (58 km/h)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride Experience

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a fast-paced roller coaster that takes guests on a thrilling journey through the rugged landscape of the American Southwest. The story behind the ride revolves around a cursed gold mine, where the spirits of long-dead miners are said to still haunt the caverns and canyons.

As you board your mine train and begin your ascent, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the towering buttes and red rock formations of the Southwest. But as you reach the top of the first hill, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary train ride. Suddenly, you’re plunging down a steep drop and rushing through a series of tight turns and sudden dips, all while the wind rushes through your hair and the sound of the train’s wheels echoes in your ears.

Throughout your journey, you’ll encounter a variety of thrilling elements, including:

  • Sharp turns and sudden drops that will leave you clinging to your seat

  • Dark caverns and mysterious tunnels filled with the echoes of long-forgotten miners

  • Rushing waterfalls and gushing geysers that add to the sensory experience

  • A final, high-speed sprint through the heart of the cursed gold mine

To give you a better idea of what to expect, check out this ride-through video of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

With its combination of high-speed thrills, immersive theming, and unexpected surprises, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a must-ride attraction for any thrill-seeker visiting Magic Kingdom.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Queue Experience

The queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an integral part of the overall experience, immersing you in the world of the Old West long before you board your mine train. As you make your way through the winding passages, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the sights and sounds of a bustling mining town, complete with weathered buildings, abandoned mining equipment, and plenty of hidden details to discover.

The queue begins in the heart of the mining town, where you’ll pass by the offices of the Big Thunder Mining Company and the remnants of an old locomotive. As you continue deeper into the queue, you’ll encounter a series of interactive elements and informative displays that shed light on the history of the cursed gold mine and the ill-fated miners who once worked there.

Throughout the queue, you’ll also find a variety of clever nods to the attraction’s theme, including wanted posters, discarded dynamite boxes, and even a few hidden references to other Disney properties. These details help to build anticipation and immerse you in the world of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, making the eventual ride experience all the more thrilling.

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad queue’s attention to detail and immersive storytelling is truly impressive. The queue sets the stage for the wild ride and helps create a rich and engaging experience that will leave you eager to hop aboard your mine train.

Tips for the Best Experience

To ensure that you have the best possible experience on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, consider the following tips:

  • Secure loose items: Due to the fast-paced nature of the ride, it’s essential to secure any loose items, such as hats, glasses, or phones, before boarding. Consider using the storage pouches provided on the ride vehicles or leaving these items with a non-rider.

  • Ride at night: While Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is thrilling at any time of day, the experience takes on an extra layer of excitement when ridden at night. The darkness adds to the sense of speed and makes the caverns and tunnels feel even more mysterious.

  • Keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle: To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, keep your hands, arms, and legs inside the ride vehicle at all times.

  • Be prepared for sudden movements: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features a variety of sharp turns, sudden drops, and unexpected twists. If you’re sensitive to fast motion or prone to dizziness, be prepared for these elements and consider sitting in the middle of the train, where the movement may feel less intense.

  • Use Genie+: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a popular attraction and can have long wait times during peak hours. Consider using Genie+ to minimise your wait time and ensure that you have more time to explore the rest of Frontierland.

Comparison to Other Disney Rides

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is often compared to other roller coasters at Disney parks, such as Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom or Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Like these attractions, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad offers a thrilling, high-speed ride experience that appeals to guests seeking excitement and adventure.

However, what sets Big Thunder Mountain Railroad apart is its unique theme and immersive storytelling. Unlike the futuristic thrills of Space Mountain or the mythical adventure of Expedition Everest, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad transports guests to the rugged American Southwest and immerses them in the world of the Old West. The attention to detail in the queue and the ride itself helps to create a cohesive and engaging experience that stands out from other roller coasters.

In terms of overall ride experience, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad strikes a good balance between thrills and accessibility. With a lower height requirement and a slightly slower top speed than some other coasters, it offers an exciting ride that can be enjoyed by a wider range of guests.

Our Rating

After considering the immersive queue, the thrilling ride experience, and the unique theming of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, we give this attraction a solid 7.5 out of 10.

The attention to detail in the queue and the ride is truly impressive, transporting guests to the heart of the Old West and immersing them in a world of adventure and excitement. The high-speed thrills, sudden drops, and tight turns make for a heart-pounding ride that makes you eager to hop back in line for another go.

The only reason we didn’t score Big Thunder Mountain Railroad higher is that some guests may find the theming a bit less engaging than other Disney rides, especially the improved version of the ride at Disneyland Paris. However, for those who appreciate classic roller coaster thrills and immersive storytelling, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a must-ride attraction that continues to delight and excite guests of all ages.

How to Find Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is located in the Frontierland section of Magic Kingdom. To reach the ride, follow these steps:

1 – Enter Magic Kingdom: After passing through the main entrance of the park, make your way down Main Street, U.S.A., towards Cinderella Castle.

2 – Enter Frontierland: From the central hub in front of Cinderella Castle, follow the signs or consult your park map to locate the entrance to Frontierland, which will be on your left.

3 – Navigate to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: As you enter Frontierland, follow the path to the right, past the Country Bear Jamboree and the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will be on your left, just across from the Splash Mountain attraction.

4 – Join the queue: Once you’ve reached the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, join the standby queue or proceed to the Genie+ entrance if you have a reservation.

Keep in mind that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a popular attraction and can have considerable wait times during peak hours. Consider visiting early in the day or using Genie+ to minimise your wait time and ensure that you have plenty of time to explore the rest of Frontierland.


Is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad scary?

While Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a thrilling roller coaster, it is not designed to be intentionally scary. The ride features high speeds, sudden drops, and tight turns, but does not include any horror elements or intentionally frightening scenes.

Can I ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad if I have a fear of heights?

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features several steep drops and elevated track sections, which may be challenging for those with a severe fear of heights. However, the ride does not reach the same heights as some other roller coasters, and the focus is more on speed and sudden movements than on extreme elevation changes.

Is there a single-rider line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?

No, there is no single-rider line for this attraction.

Can I bring my bag or personal items on the ride?

No, you must store all loose items, including bags, in the provided storage pouches on the ride vehicles or leave them with a non-rider before entering the queue.

Are there any health restrictions for riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? 

Due to the dynamic nature of the ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad may not be suitable for guests with certain health conditions, such as heart problems, high blood pressure, or back and neck issues. Always consult the safety information and restrictions before riding.


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