|Big Thunder Mountain viewed from the Mark Twain|
The recent Disney Parks Blog confirmation that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will close on January 7th for the most extensive refurbishment in its 33 year history has me itching to get to the park for one last ride on its original rolling stock...and one last brake run through the little town of Rainbow Ridge.
The ride will re-open in Fall of 2013 with brand new track (same layout) and a new fleet of trains (same overall look). The mountain will sport a refreshed paint job and (rumored) special effects enhancements. It seems as though the little mining town bordering the station approach, however, is to be removed. I'll miss it; it's a sweet reminder of the old Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland, but the buildings are completely out of scale with the passing trains. If the Imagineers replace little Rainbow Ridge with something better, I'll be a happy fan.
If, as rumored, the new trains feature individual seats (two across) with individual lap bars, the ride experience will loose the wonderful herky-jerky sliding from side to side that has been part of Big Thunder's thrill for over three decades. I'm sure, however, that the overall ride will be just as exciting as ever -- and, hopefully, even more of an adventure.
Pay your final visits to Big Thunder 1.0 while you can; next Fall brings a somewhat altered experience. Personally, I can't wait to to give Big Thunder 2.0 a try!