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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Land Frontierland
Designer Walt Disney Imagineering
Manufacturer Vekoma
Theme Runaway mine train
Soft opening date September 23, 1980
Opening date November 8, 1980
Hosted by Dallas McKennon
Vehicle type Mine train
Vehicle names U.R. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty, I.M. Fearless
Vehicle capacity 45
Cars per vehicle 5
Guests per car 9
Ride duration 3:26 minutes
Length 2780 ft (847.3 m)
Maximum speed 30 mph (48.3 km/h)
Height requirements 40" (102 cm)
Number of lifts 3 - two indoor and one outdoor
Safety restraint lap bar
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (often shortened to Big Thunder Mountain or Thunder Mountain) is an indoor/outdoor mine train roller coaster located at Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It opened on November 15, 1980.

Summary

At Magic Kingdom, the track layout of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is almost a mirror image of the Disneyland version. The only differences are an enclosed loading station on a hillside, the replacement of Big Thunder with Tumbleweed, and an altered section of layout before the second lift hill. However, the Walt Disney World version was allocated more space in the park, and so the Monument Valley-inspired mountain assumes 2.5 acres, 25 percent larger than the Disneyland version.

In this version, upon entering the queue guests make their way up the hillside past old mining equipment to the station building. Once inside, the queue snakes through the upper level of the two level station where guests can view a panorama of the ride. The queue then travels down a gradual ramp, switches back, and reaches the loading station. After a wait, guests enter the 30-45 passenger trains. On the signal of a flashing green lantern at the head end of the platform, the train is clear to leave the station.

Leaving the station, the trains immediately enter a dark tunnel and make a tight left hand turn. After a short straightaway during which the sounds of bats can be heard, the trains make a slight right hand turn and climb the first lift hill. A series of caverns can be seen on the right hand side of the lift hill track. At the top, once again, it slows down and riders make a drop away to the left, before making a right hand turn and going over two hops while passing under the second lift hill and second lift hill drop. It is typical to make a flyby with another train during this section.

After going under the second lift hill drop (which is a point where it may be possible to see the riders on another train), the trains make a tight downwind spiral to the right into a short tunnel. Emerging from the tunnel, riders find themselves in the abandoned town of Tumbleweed. The Walt Disney World Railroad's track can be seen to the right of the guests. While passing through Tumbleweed, the track goes through several bunny hops, and the train seems to sway from side to side. The swaying is achieved by banking the track slightly. On the left, riders see the wagon of Professor Cumulus Isobar, whose rainmaking machine works too well, and a party being held on the second floor of the flooded saloon. On the right, one sees a remaining resident spinning around in a floating bathtub. In the early years of the ride, the flood waters in Tumbleweed were much more torrential than they are today.

After Tumbleweed, the trains pass through a short tunnel called Dave V. Jones Mine, make a left turn and climb the second lift hill. At the top, the train slows down and the riders drop away to the left and cross back under the lift hill as the trains rise up into a 540 degree downhill helix to the left, before going over another airtime hill before dropping back down. The trains make a right hand turn into a tunnel, and climb the third lift hill. An earthquake is in progress and the rocks seem ready to crush and bury the train. In the early years of the ride, the tunnel exit seemed to collapse with falling rocks. Cresting the lift hill, the trains slow down and exit out into the daylight, and drop away to the left heading for the Rivers of America, before they make a left hand turn through a short tunnel, crossing back over the drop, and then drop away to the right through the boneyard and geysers before hitting the final brake run and returning to the station.

Big Thunder Mountain was closed in January 2012 for repairs and renovations and reopened in June 2012. The queue was reconfigured, the town of Tumbleweed was fixed up, and the rock projection was somehow set to project rocks floating up and down at the same time.

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