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  1. #31

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by mansionman View Post
    Good points Semiquaver,but at the end of the day it is a rollercoaster with avery big theme. And yes thats what makes it great but like most on this thread ijust dont see the (haunted) part of this minetrain backstory or not.
    That is fine you would rather take BTM on face value. You are happy with that and derive pleasure from it. This thread is not to persuade you to believe in any particular backstory on any ride, but to give you, and anyone else in this forum, the opportunity to enrich (deepen, expand) your Disneyland experience by presenting a bit of theatrical backstory. The imagineers designed the ride with that history in mind, but the beauty of Disneyland is anyone can interpret the park, rides, and atmosphere anyway they please. You are apart of this particular play and how you choose to move through it is up to you.
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  2. #32

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    How did I miss this thread?
    I was on opening crew (CT) in '79. The town is called Big Thunder, many (but not all) of the same buildings from Rainbow Ridge were relocated and rearranged to make the town. The Tony Baxter version of the story is the one I recall being trained on.
    ... gold was discovered in Big Thunder country in the 1850s, shortly after the Gold Rush began near John A. Sutter's Mill in California, leading to the formation of the BTM Mining Company. But the locals believed Big Thunder Mountain and the land around it to be sacred, and a protective supernatural force dwelt deep within the mountain to protect it from anyone who might deface it in the pursuit of profit. At first, the mining operation went along without incident, but as the miners began using explosives to blast deeper and deeper into the unforgiving rock and laying tracks for the mine train they'd use to retrieve its golden bounty, the mountain's ancient fury was unleashed. Strange noises emanated from a newly opened mineshaft. The spirits of long-dead miners could be heard tapping on the boarded walls of abandoned tunnels. Cave-ins became common occurrences. And then the narrow-gauge engines began rolling out of the station with no human hands at the controls. Entire trains, most times packed with unsuspecting passengers, would race driverless, at breakneck speed, along the spiraling steel and wooden track. The miners began to concede that perhaps the locals were right all along. Maybe the mountain --and their mine -- was cursed. They abandoned their posts, the BTM Mining Company went bust, and soon Big Thunder became just another ghost town dotting the Old West.
    Here's another interesting bit of trivia:
    The name "Big Thunder" was in use at Disneyland for 20 years before BTMRR opened. It was the name of the large waterfall on Cascade Peak.
    Please visit my Big Thunder/Disney Inspired Model Railroad


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  3. #33

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    I remember when it opened and for a few years after, there use to be a lightening rod on the top of the Big Mountain and every thirty minutes or so, the rod (shaped like a lightening bolt would flash and then you would hear the thunder. Does anyone else remember this?

  4. #34

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by BigThunder View Post
    How did I miss this thread?
    I was on opening crew (CT) in '79. The town is called Big Thunder, many (but not all) of the same buildings from Rainbow Ridge were relocated and rearranged to make the town. The Tony Baxter version of the story is the one I recall being trained on.

    Here's another interesting bit of trivia:
    The name "Big Thunder" was in use at Disneyland for 20 years before BTMRR opened. It was the name of the large waterfall on Cascade Peak.
    Thanks for the post. It is good to know that story was used in the training process for BTM CMs. Hopefully it still is.

    Quote Originally Posted by eforest View Post
    I remember when it opened and for a few years after, there use to be a lightening rod on the top of the Big Mountain and every thirty minutes or so, the rod (shaped like a lightening bolt would flash and then you would hear the thunder. Does anyone else remember this?

    If that is true, it would be awesome and should be brought back ASAP.

  5. #35

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Big Thunder Mountain was first conceptualized as part of the "Western River Expedition" concept, and then spun off from that huge project as it would have been too expensive or big or some other nonsense. Anyway, perhaps all of the confusion on the true back story of BTMRR is due to the original theme developed as a part of WRE?

    I'm thinking perhaps the name of Tumbleweed and the native american storyline are leftovers from WRE. Can anyone confirm this or correct me?

  6. #36

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDGJ View Post
    Correct me if I am wrong, but Big Thunder Mountain was first conceptualized as part of the "Western River Expedition" concept, and then spun off from that huge project as it would have been too expensive or big or some other nonsense. Anyway, perhaps all of the confusion on the true back story of BTMRR is due to the original theme developed as a part of WRE?
    That's more or less the history as I understand it.

    It's been interesting to read the backstories of the earlier BTMs. I grew up with the Parisian version, in which the whole of Frontierland has a single backstory, linking BTM with Phantom Manor and the town of Thunder Mesa. It's a long and involved story (as you'd expect!) so I'll split it into parts:

    Part 1

    The story goes that ruthless businessman Henry Ravenswood was the first to come prospecting in this corner of the Western frontier. The Rivers of the Far West had long been known to panners and prospectors as a rich source of gold dust and nuggets, but Ravenswood was the first to trace the riches back to their source - a lonley mountain, standing in splendid isolation in the middle of the stream. A mountain the local Indian tribes called Big Thunder.

    Quick to dismiss the native superstitions of a guardian Thunderbird spirit sleeping deep inside the mountain, Ravenswood claimed the land and established the Big Thunder Mining Co. Within months, he was a millionaire and head of a thriving new mining town - Big Thunder Mesa.

    A wealthy land owner needs a house befitting of his status, so Henry set about building the most magnificent mansion in the West - Ravenswood Manor. Perched high on a hill overlooking the river and the mine, it served to remind the whole town who was in charge.

    To be continued...
    Quote Originally Posted by fizzog View Post
    Soundtracker you cheeky chipmunk

  7. #37

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    Part 2

    Ruthless he may have been, but Henry Ravenswood was not without his human side, and there was something far more precious to him than gold... his daughter, Melanie. His wife had died in childbirth, and for 19 years Melanie had been his only companion. She idolised her father, and he doted on her in return, wanting only the very finest in life for her. They lived together in the manor house overlooking Big Thunder and, for a time, all was well.

    But then the fairytale started to unravel. The mine was plagued by a series of strange and deadly accidents. Newly dug shafts collapsed overnight. Equipment broke down or went missing. The tracks that ferried the mine trains to and from the mainland twisted and broke. Worse still, the supply of gold appeared to be faltering. In the Lucky Nugget saloon, disgruntled miners could be heard muttering over their beers about the rumoured Indian curse. Those looking for an easy life abandoned the town and moved on. All too quickly, the Big Thunder Mining Co. found itself struggling to stay afloat.

    But worse was to come...
    Quote Originally Posted by fizzog View Post
    Soundtracker you cheeky chipmunk

  8. #38

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    I thought there was another story line dreamed up by Tony Baxter. Regarding a boring machine that dug into the mine and saved a bunch of trapped miners. But the operator was burried alive and haunts the mountain. That is why the weathered crates around the mine all used to say "Baxter Boring Company." I believe it was all written up in an old Disney News article from back in the 80's. Somebody help me out here.

  9. #39

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    Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    All I know is that goat munching on the dynamite causes the cave-in.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  10. #40

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    Smile Re: The Story of Big Thunder Mountain

    Quote Originally Posted by JFSebastian View Post
    This is the story behind the mountain as told in the book Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real.

    I was at the library last week and just checked this book out, as I was reading the original post I remembered this as well. so glad you had it handy enough to type it all out.....

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