In The Parks: Last Ride on Big Thunder at Disneyland

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, In the Parks

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Published on January 04, 2013 at 4:03 am with 41 Comments

Get to Disneyland now if you want one final holiday fix.  Starting Monday morning, Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world will be going down for the removal of their popular holiday overlays and you only have this final weekend to enjoy them before the next holiday season. And, since the rumor is that Christmas will be a special ticketed event next year, this may be your final chance to catch the wonderful Christmas fireworks and parade without paying extra for them. Also, Big Thunder Mountain will be going down for a major refurbishment on Monday that is scheduled to last until October 2013.  That is three major E tickets all going down at once.  But there is still plenty to do and to look forward to in the park.  The Fantasy Faire village construction is coming along and is well on schedule for a Summer opening.  We also look at the minute progress visible for the Fantasyland Theatre.  But beware, if you do decide to hit the parks this weekend expect big crowds as well.


This weekend is your last chance to take a spin on Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before it goes down for a major refurbishment and changes which will last through most of the year.  The high-speed, Tony Baxter designed, roller coaster will benefit from a full reconstruction of the track, a reconfiguring of the load/unload station, and a rebuilding of the iconic Rainbow Ridge townscape facing the queue.  Included in the refurbishment will be key story elements which are part of a new television series based on the attraction.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s last operating day will be Sunday January 6th.  The refurbishment will last for approximately 10 months and will begin this Monday (January 7th).


In the meantime, we have more pictures from the construction site of the upcoming Fantasy Faire Village Princess meet and greet.  The design pulls greatly from the Bavarian village style Fantasyland 1983 redo and looks as if it will be quite charming.

The canvas over the stage is being installed.

The facades are quite detailed.

Looks a bit like the entry to the Pinocchio ride, doesn’t it?


As part of the awkwardly titled campaign, Limited Time Magic, Disneyland is presenting, “A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Review”  This homage to the classic original stage show will run Thursdays through Mondays from January 10th to February 4th.  Guests interested in seeing the show during its run will have to reserve their seat by visiting the reservations podium in front of the Golden Horseshoe on the day of the show.   A cast member will issue a ticket for their preferred showtime based on availability.  But, of course, there is also a special dinner package available for Annual Passholders at $35 a pop. That $35 includes corn chips in a souvenir Golden Horseshoe boot mug, ham and roast beef sandwiches, raisin and carrot salad, potato salad, and berry fruit salad.

Inspired by the world-famous Frontierland show that Walt Disney himself began in 1955, A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue features a variety of songs and dance numbers from past productions and is an homage to fun-filled, family friendly musical entertainment.

In other words, this isn’t exactly like the old Golden Horseshoe show, but rather a show inspired by it.

Are you planning on attending this show?


New light posts were installed near the Fantasyland Theatre that reflect the ongoing celestial theme and rustic atmosphere.  Just this morning Disney Parks Blog has announced the Mickey and the Magical Map show for the Fantasyland Theater. It is slated for late may/early june.


Starting today and running through Sunday, Disney will be holding the second annual Three Kings Day celebration in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area from 10am-6pm.  The area will feature Latin themed music, food and characters ready for special photo opportunities.


While the New Years holiday brought lower than anticipated crowds to the resort, the following days have seen a resurgence.  Wait times on Wednesday this week were hefty for the e-ticket attractions.

80 minutes for the Matterhorn?!?! Holy moly!

Adventureland is always horrible when it’s crowded. The pinch point at Indy and the Treehouse tends to block things up.

The holidays will mercifully end this weekend and things should simmer down for a while.

Even when the park is packed, there are still quiet spots to be enjoyed.


Rumor has it that Innoventions will be closing in February to make way for a new, yet to be announced attraction.  Here’s to hoping that the space won’t sit unused for years again.

Go get your trip to future’s past in now.


The Disney parks have ushered in 2013 with crowds and pending construction. Happy Three Kings Day everyone. We’ll see you in the parks!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • whamo

    No BTMRR! Arrrrrgggg! That’s one of my favorite rides.

  • Malin

    The closure of Big Thunder if only until October will be a major blow to Disneyland. Innovations on the other hand is a positive and we can only hope will be the future location of an attraction that will appeal to more then just a couple of hundred Guests each day. It won’t be missed and very few will be sad to see it leave. Bring on Iron Man.

    • Disneylandfan85

      How will Big Thunder’s closure until October be a blow to Disneyland?

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Norman

    BTMRR will benefit from a great renovation; Like the Mattahorn before it, the ride will be fresh. I don’t know how the TV series plot points will look on the ride. Lets hope it is not that intrusive.

    Hopefully, the rumours are ture about Innovations. Tommorrowland is dsperate for a large scale E ricket ride. Lets hope it happens.

    Thanks Agian Norman


  • Disneylandfan85

    I’m disappointed about Big Thunder’s closure, so it looks like any trip to Disneyland might have to wait until November again, since it’s one of my most favorite rides ever. So I’m not sure.

  • daliseurat

    I was actually REALLY disappointed with the Holiday Fireworks and Parade this year. I would NEVER pay for the privilege of see just those and wouldn’t miss them. It’s a shame, because previously, I’ve seen better versions of both. If they want to make those exclusive they better amp them up significantly and come up with some additional nighttime entertainment.

    • Puck2DaHead

      It is the exact same firework show and parade this year as it has been the last several years. Maybe you are confusing other shows with these ones? I have always thought that the parade was just “okay”, but the firework show is one of the best in Disneyland’s lineup and surely trumps REMEMBER… and MAGICAL. Unfortunately, during the 50th anniversary, REMEMBER… was a far superior show. It was stripped down quite a bit.

    • amyuilani

      I have to agree with you about the parade. I love the Christmas parade, but this year I was distracted by the changes. I hate to be mean, but the snowflakes were….old. They were not unattractive by any means, but they were women in their 30s and older. While that’s not old, it’s certainly noticeable compared to the rest of the cast. I just hate when I am so distracted by the details that are off that I don’t get to take the time to enjoy the show.

  • DannyeF

    I would have called it “Momentary Magic” instead of “Limited-Time Magic.” And I agree with Trumpet, I hope the renovations on Big Thunder for the tv show are not overwhelming, especially if the show bombs. There is one in our family that loves Big Thunder, and we will miss it!

    • I would have called it “Magical Moments.” “Limited-Time Magic” sounds like a sale at Macy’s.

      We bought our tickets for the Golden Horseshoe Review dinner, but I’ve got to say that the price seemed pretty high for corn chips and a ham sandwich. Had to think twice about that before giving my credit card. Still, it’s the Golden Horseshoe Review, I just HAD to see it again!!!

      • FlubberZorro

        Not much worse than $25 for a Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou for lunch.

      • airick75

        Is “Limited Time Magic” really that bad a moniker? I didn’t think anything of it until I noticed a few put-downs on the fan sites. I’m for it!

  • Puck2DaHead

    This is the first I’ve heard about the Big Thunder show. Can you post any more details of the show by any chance? And is this show currently running? Thanks!!

  • WheresMickey

    Nice update!

  • Algernon

    The pictures look really good on my 3D monitor.

    For anybody wishing to visit the “old” Disneyland, you can get a 3D monitor with 2D to 3D conversion. There are some great old Peoplemover, Skyway, Submarine Voyage, Disneyland railroad, etc. videos you can watch on Youtube, and it’s almost like being there. Anybody who has any good videos from the 80′s and 90′s should put them up there for all to enjoy. Can’t wait until virtual reality comes about!

    I no longer go to the so called “real” Disneyland.

  • frollofan

    I noticed a mistake in the article, the Disneyland website shows that Small World isn’t going down till January 22, and not next Monday. Anyways, nice update.

  • DisWedWay

    I hope part of the Big Thunder refurbishing will do away with that trash can at the top of the stair that blocks the bronze Tony Wayne Baxter Iron Works plaque on the head of the horizontal compressor. I hope they also post a “Rainbow Ridge” Town sign near the establishments. Is the Dentist still operating upstairs, as I need a tooth pulled. I will be looking forward to seeing the revitalized rainbow of colors in the Big Thunder buttes after almost 34 years since opening. Should be a plus for the TV show.

  • eicarr

    Is it just me or does the central fantasyland theming of the theater seem out of place next to It’s a Small World and the Toontown train station. If they want to extend that fantasyland style to that far corner, maybe they should switch back to ownership/style of the train station back to Fantasyland since thats the land its’s actually in anyways.

    I’m starting to like the looks of the new Fantasyland expansion next to the castle though. It looks right at home and will fit in well, helping with the transition between lands. I was all against it at first, but the detailing makes up for the Carnation Plaza loss.

  • scarymouse

    Love the Thunder mountain update ,had no idea about the T.V. show (thanks Dusty for the link) interesting……Innovations should have closed years ago….bring back the old Golden Horsehoe Review and give billy a new home……Ironman!!!!!! Can’t wait for those updates! Happy New Year!

  • Disneykin Kid

    Can’t wait to see the Salute to the GHR, but wouldn’t want to lose Billy Hill. Is Kirk Wall playing Wally Boag’s part? I can understand the ‘salute’ part, they would have to update it for today’s audiences, the original had songs that mainly our parents generation would appreciate, like the Irish ballads.

  • martinjbell1986

    Excited for another E-Ticket ride, not so sure about the Iron Man theme though….