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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (everything you need to know)

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (everything you need to know)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an outdoor coaster known as “the wildest ride in the wilderness!”

It’s fun, fast, a bit bumpy, and a popular Magic Kingdom attraction for good reason.

Quick Facts

  • Location: Magic Kingdom, Frontierland
  • Height Requirement: 40 inches
  • Description: A great intro coaster for people who are working up the nerve to do bigger coasters. The theming is Old West style and there are lots of mountains and caverns to make your way through. There are no big drops like on scarier coasters, but there are some fun dips that can lift you out of your seat.
  • When to Visit: Second hour
  • Recommended: Yes
  • Tip(s): In the morning, it’s best to ride this one before Splash Mountain because it tends to get busier faster.
  • Genie+, Individual Lightning Lane Selection, or Virtual Queue: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is available with Genie+
  • Scheduled Refurbishments
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Everything You Need To Know About Big Thunder Mountain

Location

Big Thunder Mountain is located next to Splash Mountain. Here’s the location on the map.

big thunder mountain railroad map location

Height Requirement

The height requirement for Thunder Mountain is 40 inches. Be sure to check out our guides on WDW thrill rides and height requirements for attractions.

Rider Switch & Single Rider

Rider Switch is offered for Big Thunder Mountain. This is Disney’s system allowing guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little one.

As for a Single Rider Line (meaning you’d ride alone and enter this queue, instead of the Standby Line), it is not available for Thunder Mountain.

History

Big Thunder Mountain first opened at Magic Kingdom in 1980 and was inspired by Monument Valley in Arizona.

The attraction covers over two acres and rises about 200 feet above sea level. Big Thunder Mountain was the second mountain built at Magic Kingdom, with Space Mountain being the first and Splash Mountain third. 

Did you know that the ride is set during the gold rush days and takes place in the flooded mine town of Tumbleweed? It even features 20 audio-animatronic figures from donkeys, to opossums, to chickens.

thunder mountain opens at magic kingdom in 1980

Queue

The queue for Big Thunder Mountain is both outdoors and indoors. During those warmer days, the line can get very hot, so keep that in mind.

The line also splits when you reach a certain point. You can either go to the right or to the left. Cast Members load guests into the mine train-themed coaster on two different sides.

thunder mountain queue at magic kingdom

This does have an interactive queue, but the in-line activities weren’t added until 2013. Guests can walk through and see the Mining Office, the Explosives Magazine Room, and even be able to look down into the mine thanks to a series of lenses and mirrors. There are several hands-on mining-inspired activities.

Motion Sickness

Big Thunder Mountain is a fast coaster that also has many twists, tight turns, and bumps. It’s a ride that many people love, but it might not be a fan-favorite for everyone, especially when it comes to motion sickness. We have a guide on motion sickness that’s filled with information and tips, so feel free to check that out.

Ride Vehicles

Big Thunder Mountain’s ride vehicles have three rows of seating attached to each other. So, if you have a party of six, there’s a chance you’ll be able to sit in one vehicle together.

Each individual row can accommodate two adults and possibly even two adults and one small child. There’s a lap bar to pull down for safety.

Warning: this ride does get bumpy and sometimes you’ll slide back and forth and even bump into the person in your row.

big thunder mountain railroad ride vehicles

Is It Kid-Friendly?

Big Thunder Mountain is a fast roller coaster with many tight turns and bumps. There’s also a dark area you ride through with bats that could scare little ones, but there are also many children who love it.

You may want to try a smaller coaster first, like Barnstormer, before heading to Big Thunder Mountain. We have a full guide on several other things that might scare little ones at WDW.

PhotoPass/On-Ride Photos 

Your photo isn’t taken on Big Thunder Mountain.

If you want more information on this, be sure to check out our PhotoPass and how Memory Maker works guides.

Video

Here you can take a virtual spin on the wildest ride in the wilderness!

Other Fun Facts

  • Easter Eggs: While on the ride, there is a Hidden Mickey made of gears after you go under the dinosaur skeleton on the right. There’s also a Hidden Tinker Bell at the exit of the attraction. Look to your left, you’ll see an “H” crack in the rock and it’s actually Tink. You really have to look at it, but it resembles her profile and you can even see her bun on the top of her head.
  • Play Disney Parks: N/A
  • Movie Connections: None.