Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul
Disneyland’s fast-chugging attraction will close for at least nine months.
By SARAH TULLY / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
ANAHEIM – Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will undergo its biggest project in more than three decades when the ride closes Monday for at least nine months.
The Frontierland ride, which mimics a runaway mine train through an Old West canyon, will close so crews can begin a makeover that will last until fall. A reopening date has yet to be announced.
The renovation will cost $4 million, according to documents filed with the city.
During construction, crews will replace tracks, install new ride vehicles and paint part of the mountain, which is designed to look like Utah's Bryce Canyon. Improved lighting and sound also will be added, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. Workers will build a larger unloading and loading area.
Disney has not released any details about possible changes to the show itself, but the track route will remain the same.
Some fans said they will miss the ride, but understand that it's time for a makeover.
"It's my favorite of the mountain rides," wrote Michelle Nakaji of Rialto. "And although the mountain itself looks great, all of the effects, animals, and etc. really need some updating to keep up, aesthetically, with the rest of the resort! Hope the 10-month downtime is well worth it."
Starting Monday, the Big Thunder trail that guests take to get from the ride area to Fantasyland will close for 11 days. Then the trail will be shut down most weekdays, except for holidays, through early April.
Visitors will see a large crane in the park between mid January and early April.
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