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.