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  1. #1

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    Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    1. Building Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for it's opening in 1979 cost as much as it did to build all of Disneyland for its 1955 opening! The real antique mining equipment on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction alone cost over $300,000.00, most of it at antique stores and flea markets.

    2. This attraction has unfortunately been the ride with the most injuries in Disneyland. In January, 1998, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad inflicted a serious injury to 5-year-old David Fackler's left foot, necessitating toe amputations. Then in September, 2003, one guest, Marcelo Torres, was killed and 10 others injured when the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster had a serious accident. Again, in July, 2004, a Canadian family was taken to the hospital after two trains collided in brake zone 4 of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. A Cal-OSHA report later determines that cast member James Nerrie had precipitated the accident by improperly removing a train from service.

    3. The sun, which is at it's highest and hottest point at noon, heats and melts the grease on the bearings of the wheels of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to its thinnest point as the day wears on, and thus the train goes faster in the afternoon. The ride's average speed it about 30 MPH, but can reach speeds of up to 35 MPH, -- faster than Space Mountain. If you sit in the back of the train, the ride feels even faster!

    4. Each of the six trains on the Big Thunder Mountain railroad are named. The names of the trains are: I.M. Brave, I.M. Fearless., I.B. Hearty, U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, and U.R. Courageous.

    5. Big Thunder Mountain is the longest attraction open at this site. In 1955 the area it's sitting on opened as the home of the Stagecoach, Conestoga Wagon and the Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules. In 1956 the location expanded into Disneyland's Living Desert (based on the True-Life Adventure film of the same name) and The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train opened. In 1960, the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train was transformed into Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland. At that time, the Stagecoach and Conestoga Wagon went away, but the Pack Mules remained. Pack Mules Through Nature's Wonderland closed in 1973. In 1979, Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland closed and construction began on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

    6. Listen to the safety spiel as you board your train... "Howdy, folks! Please keep your hands and arms inside the train, and remain seated at all times... 'cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!" That voice is that of Dallas McKennon, who also provides the voice of Benjamin Franklin at Walt Disney World in Florida.

    7. Items found in the ride are an engine and other parts used in the film "Hot Lead and Cold Feet" starring Don Knotts and Jim Dale, which was released about the same time the attraction opened.

    8. While riding the train back to the station (and in the waiting area), guests can hear conversations coming from the upper windows of the Rainbow Ridge buildings, which were part of the original Mine Train attraction. An old Mine Train can also be found near the back side of Tom Sawyer island.

    9. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering's Tony Baxter, who also helped design such rides as Star Tours, Splash Mountain, and the Indiana Jones Adventure. Tony worked in high school selling ice cream at Disneyland before moving to Imagineering.

    10. Mr. Baxter's original proposal called for Big Thunder Mountain to be part of a new land called Discovery Bay. This area would have contained several different elements; such as an attractions based on "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" and "Island at the Top of the World". Its look was to be inspired by the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Welles, and it was to be built in the area now occupied by Big Thunder Ranch and the Fantasyland Theater. Although Discovery Bay was never built at Disneyland, Baxter and others reworked it into Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris; several items in the New Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom were also inspired by this concept.
    Last edited by RobotMirror; 05-21-2006 at 09:35 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Good post .

  3. #3

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogberto
    1. Building Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for it's opening in 1979 cost as much as it did to build all of Disneyland for its 1955 opening! The real antique mining equipment on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction alone cost over $300,000.00, most of it at antique stores and flea markets.

    6. Listen to the safety spiel as you board your train... "Howdy, folks! Please keep your hands and arms inside the train, and remain seated at all times... 'cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!" Does that voice sound familiar? If you have ever visited the great moments with Mr. Lincoln ride, it should. It is that of Dallas McKennon, who also provides the voice of Benjamin Franklin.
    Actually the old mining pieces are original mining equipment that was used in the mines of Bodie California (A ghost town thats now a state park).

    Also I believe that Dallas McKennon also did the voice for the original 'Natures Wonderland' as well.
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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Big Thunder was also originally designed for WDW, but was built and opened in DL first.

  5. #5

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Quote Originally Posted by OogieBoogie
    Actually the old mining pieces are original mining equipment that was used in the mines of Bodie California (A ghost town thats now a state park).

    Also I believe that Dallas McKennon also did the voice for the original 'Natures Wonderland' as well.
    I thought rumor was that if you take anything out of Bodie, bad things would happen until the object was returned? Maybe that is what they say to get people to stop stealing.

    Anyway, I really liked the fact about the conversations that can be overheard.

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Quote Originally Posted by OogieBoogie
    Actually the old mining pieces are original mining equipment that was used in the mines of Bodie California (A ghost town thats now a state park).
    According to the imagineers notes and sources, not all of them came from Bodie. They searched all over for the pieces used in the attraction.

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    I'm awaiting the TJL treatment on these threads.
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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Love the thread - I'm just more excited to go to DL!!!

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Also, at one point, at the bottom of the stairway you take to the load area are a bunch of crates. At one time, one of these crates was plainly labelled "Baxter Mining Supplies". I am pretty sure it was a tribute to Tony Baxter as this was his first ride design.
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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler
    I thought rumor was that if you take anything out of Bodie, bad things would happen until the object was returned? Maybe that is what they say to get people to stop stealing.

    Anyway, I really liked the fact about the conversations that can be overheard.
    Bad things will happen, but it will not be paranormal in nature. The state will come after you. Everything there is protected by the state as part of a landmark.
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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Item # 2... somehow it seems extremely uncool to list the names, especially in such close relation to each other, even though (especially since) the accidents were directly unrelated. You're an attorney, right? If you're going to list accidents in your series of "factual" threads, then some context on each would be more than appropriate.

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    As you leave the station and enter the first mine, above your head is a horse shoe positioned up (the right way) for good luck. But as you enter the last mine (earthquake, mine collapse scene) the horse shoe is upside down and that's bad luck.
    ...

  13. #13

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Quote Originally Posted by speederscout
    Item # 2... somehow it seems extremely uncool to list the names, especially in such close relation to each other, even though (especially since) the accidents were directly unrelated. You're an attorney, right? If you're going to list accidents in your series of "factual" threads, then some context on each would be more than appropriate.
    Why is it extremely uncool? I'll be happy to edit the post if there's a violation of the TOS of this board, somehow, but the names are public record and are not, at all, confidential. Seems to me it would be more misleading to not distinguish between two separate incidents. Your use of "factual" in quotes leads me to believe you don't think that any part of this was fact, and I'm not clear on what additional context I can provide that would make this posting "cool", to use your words. Let me know specifics.

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    This site contains the following peice of trivia:

    The Big Thunder Mountain concept comes from the Disney movie "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" starring John Davidson, set in North Dakota. Much of the music in the que building comes from this movie. The movie deals with family vs. politics during the close presidential race between Grover Clevland and Benjamin Harrison. It will remind you a lot of the Bush vs. Gore election. Big Thunder Mountain was a scene in this classic Disney movie. I haven't found it a video store in a long time, but you may find it at Virgin Records at the Downtown Disney West Side. Neat movie to watch.
    UPDATE: Mark Thompson 09 JUL 01
    Is this true (the fact that the concept comes from the movie, not the stuff about Grover Cleveland, Al Gore or the video being hard to find.)

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    Re: Ten things you MAY not know about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie
    This site contains the following peice of trivia:



    Is this true (the fact that the concept comes from the movie, not the stuff about Grover Cleveland, Al Gore or the video being hard to find.)
    I also found that information (and the site) while I was researching my "10 things...", but I find it hard to believe that the entire attraction was based upon that movie, which has nothing to do with the attraction itself. I couldn't vouch for the credibility of what sounds like a made up story, so I didn't include it. It didn't make the "top 10", you could say.

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