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  1. #1

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    Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    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.

    [MORE AT THE LINK]

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Can't wait to see the finished product! However, I will not be getting my hopes up for a brand-new attraction. Judging by the results of the recent multi-month Indy rehab, we'll only be seeing improved effects, a different load area, and an improved ride experience. Oh, well. Maybe I'm wrong.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    $4 million. Wow!

  4. #4

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by explodingboy View Post
    $4 million. Wow!
    That's what I thought.

    Now I'm not an expert on the pricing of renovating attractions but doesn't the amount of $4 million seem like they are going to do a wee bit more than replace tracks, install new vehicles, paint part of the mountain, improve lighting and add sound. Or maybe all that does take about $4 million?

    I'm curious to see the result when it re-opens.

  5. #5

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by MANEATINGWREATH View Post
    Can't wait to see the finished product! However, I will not be getting my hopes up for a brand-new attraction. Judging by the results of the recent multi-month Indy rehab, we'll only be seeing improved effects, a different load area, and an improved ride experience. Oh, well. Maybe I'm wrong.
    With all due respect, I hope you are wrong! I'm hoping for something to make me feel like the closure is worth it. Improved lighting and sound is nice, but for a ride that doesn't exactly depend on these elements, I can't say I'm terribly excited. The article makes it seem like a very technical refurbishment and not one of cosmetics besides repainting.

    Quote Originally Posted by clara View Post
    That's what I thought.
    Quote Originally Posted by clara View Post

    Now I'm not an expert on the pricing of renovating attractions but doesn't the amount of $4 million seem like they are going to do a wee bit more than replace tracks, install new vehicles, paint part of the mountain, improve lighting and add sound. Or maybe all that does take about $4 million?

    I'm curious to see the result when it re-opens.

    $4 million doesn't seem like much to me, especially if it's including the cost of workers (I don't know anything about this kind of paperwork, so it might not). I imagine it'd cost a lot to widen load areas because everything seems quite compact in that area. Lighting elements can cost a lot if they're completely changing lighting systems and not just individual lights, the same with sound...but again, I don't know much about this sort of thing. I might be affected by the recent $1.2 billion figure!

  6. #6

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Rumor hazzit that the town of Rainbow Ridge will be rebuilt, from the (aging) foundation(s) up, so it could have a nice new / old timey, spiffy bright & shiny / run down, drab & dusty appearance when done...
    "I've got the heart of a child..." - I keep it in a box, next to my bed...

  7. #7

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Four million dollars is a lot of money! Let's hope for something great!
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  8. #8

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    $4 million is quite the amount. Hopefully the final product is worth it.
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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilQueen View Post
    Rumor hazzit that the town of Rainbow Ridge will be rebuilt, from the (aging) foundation(s) up, so it could have a nice new / old timey, spiffy bright & shiny / run down, drab & dusty appearance when done...

  10. #10

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    $4 million on a roller coaster? New coaster projects at other parks are routinely in the $20-$30 million range and those are non-themed.

  11. #11

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    2 million of it is for the loop they are installing!!!


    Ahh... tired jokes...









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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    I think BTMRR is the best themed "mountain" ride...I'm excited for this.

  13. #13

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilQueen View Post
    Rumor hazzit that the town of Rainbow Ridge will be rebuilt, from the (aging) foundation(s) up, so it could have a nice new / old timey, spiffy bright & shiny / run down, drab & dusty appearance when done...
    Bahahahah!

  14. #14

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    I'm looking forward to the refurb. I don't like roller coasters, but Thunder Mountain is great. It's wild enough to be exciting, but not so wild that I wonder why I went on it. Plus, the effects, all the way from the que to the very end are very well done.

    As a sort of side note though, yes, $4 million does indeed sound like a ton of money, but it's also roughly Bob Igers monthly salary.

  15. #15

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    Re: Disney begins $4 million Big Thunder overhaul

    If they add an animatronic Woody from Toy Story, I'll go ballistic!

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