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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an indoor/outdoor mine train roller coaster located at Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Designed by Imagineer Tony Baxter and ride design engineer Bill Watkins, the concept for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad came from Baxter's work on Imagineer Marc Davis's cocept for the Western River Expedition in Magic Kingdom. The original expansion's plans looked like an enormous plateau that was to contain several rides, one of which would have been a mine train roller coaster. The concept as a whole was deemed too expensive, though, in light of the 1973 construction and opening of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Baxter then suggested going ahead with the mine train as its own attraction, separate from the rest of the axed expansion., but it was decided to have the attraction built first at Disneyland. It opened on September 2, 1979 in Disneyland's Frontierland. On January 7, 2013, Disneyland closed the ride for an extensive refurbishment that included a new track, trains, scenery, and new ending featuring special effects such as projection mapping and smoke effects. The attraction reopened on March 17, 2014. The new track was fabricated by Dynamic Structures, the company that had previously rehauled the coaster track in Space Mountain. (Read more...)

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