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Fun Find Friday

February 28, 2014

Location: Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

Yee-haw! Welcome to this rootin' tootin' edition of Fun Find Friday where we'll be heading off to the wildest ride in the wilderness, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! Last year the attraction's queue went through a refurbishment to make it interactive. In addition to explosives, mine cameras, and more, several different posters were added to help enhance the story including this one:

Thunder Mesa

While some of the cities found on the Butterfly Stage Line poster are real, the second line destination is what we will be focusing on today: Thunder Mesa to Rainbow Ridge. So what's the back story between these two towns? It's a long history that goes hand in hand with the Magic Kingdom.

When the park was first opening, Pirates of the Caribbean was nowhere in the plans due to the reason that it could already be found on the West Coast. The theory was guests on the East Coast wouldn't be interested in an attraction that took place in the Caribbean (which was just a short car ride away). In addition to that, since many guests most likely wouldn't be able to travel out West, they may as well have a large portion of the Magic Kingdom dedicated to the wild Frontier.

The centerpiece of the land would be the Western River Expedition attraction which would focus on multiple attractions that were all intertwined. The attractions would focus on a water ride that would pass through an attraction focused around a runaway mine train which in turn would pass by an attraction featuring stage coaches. When the park first opened, guests were confused on why Pirates of the Caribbean wasn't present when they had heard Walt discuss his plans for the attraction shortly before he passed away.

Due to the demand for a Pirates attraction, the idea of the Western River Expedition attraction was scratched and Pirates of the Caribbean was put into the plans (eventually opening up two years later). So what does this have to do with Thunder Mesa and Rainbow Ridge? Thunder Mesa was the name of the fictional town the entire Western River Expedition would be set in (and also the name of the fictional town found in Disneyland Paris) while Rainbow Ridge is the name of the fictional town where Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is set in at Disneyland in California!


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