When will Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopen at Disney World?

Why did Disney World’s Magic Kingdom close the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

UPDATE (February 19th, 2022): The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has been reopened today after it was temporarily closed earlier this week.

ORIGINAL STORY (February 15th, 2022): The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is temporarily closed.

Why is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad closed?

As announced last December, Disney World would be shutting down the popular roller coaster starting February 14th for scheduled routine maintenance. And based on photos released by Walt Disney World News Today earlier today, entry points to the ride are blocked with walls, preventing guests to enter. There are also themed signs found around the attraction, which say: “Notice mine closed!”, “Mountain goat infestation!”, and “Seeking miners with herding experience”.

While it’s a bit surprising that Disney World decided to close the ride on Valentine’s Day, ComicBook.com noted that the period between the holidays and the start of spring breaks has always served as an opportunity for Disney Parks to improve or repair their various attractions, especially those rides that have been operating for several years, to help ensure they continue to run smoothly.

Fortunately for parkgoers, the temporary closure of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad won’t last long. The ride is only set to receive refurbishments for five days, so it will be open again to the public beginning February 19th.

This isn’t the first closure of the ride at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom this year. The attraction was unexpectedly closed on January 19th but opened soon after.

The four versions of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park.
A photo of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park. This is the first version of the attraction to open.

Aside from Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the Disneyland Resort in California, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris also have their own versions of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The version at Disneyland was the first one to open. It has been operational since September 1979.

The one at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom first welcomed guests in November 1980, while the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attractions at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris opened in July 1987 and April 1992, respectively.

What movie is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad based on?

A lot of Disney Park attractions are based on movies, but the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is not one of those. The ride was conceived by Imagineer Tony Baxter with ride design engineer Bill Watkins. The idea for the attraction came from Baxter’s work on fellow Imagineer Marc Davis’ concept for the Western River Expedition, a western-themed pavilion at the Magic Kingdom.

The Western River Expedition was designed to look like a gigantic plateau that contain several rides, including a runaway mine train roller coaster. But because the pavilion as a whole was deemed too costly following the 1973 construction and opening of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Baxter proposed severing the mine train and building it as a separate attraction, which eventually became the first Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad scary?

With a top speed of 58 km/h, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad can be overwhelming for some young and old guests. But the ride in general is not intended to be scary. In fact, unlike many roller coasters, the ride doesn’t have any inversions.

Is Big Thunder Mountain good for kids?

Kids that are at least 40-inches tall are allowed to ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But because it’s a fast roller coaster with many bumps, twists, and tight turns, the attraction is not recommended for children who easily get motion sickness. The ride also passes through a dark area that could scare little ones, but despite this, a lot of kids still love it.

If you’re not sure if your kids would love the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you may want to let them try a smaller coaster first, like the Barnstormer.

Is Thunder Mountain scarier than Space Mountain?

Space Mountain
A photo of Space Mountain at Disney World. Often compared to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, this attraction is an indoor attraction.

Space Mountain is a roller coaster in the dark. So, guests who are not particularly fond of darkness may find this attraction scarier than the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But when it comes to speed, it’s fair to say that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is more frightening than Space Mountain, as the latter only has a top speed of 44 km/h.

Compared to other Disney Park attractions, both roller coaster rides are pretty tamed. Neither of the two rides has an extremely big drop like that of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!, which is considered by many as the scariest ride at Disneyland.

Do you get wet on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?

While most parts of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad route are dry, there are a number of portions with geysers and mists where you may get a little wet. But with the attraction’s top speed of 58 km/h, you will likely dry off before the ride ends.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad video

To make yourself more familiar with the ride, watch the video below:

[4K] Big Thunder Mountain Coaster - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World
Sources: Walt Disney World Today, ComicBook.com
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