5 Secrets and Facts About Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom

Big Thunder Mountain is an iconic attraction filled with hidden details, an intricate backstory, and several Hidden Mickey’s. Today we’re sharing five fun facts about the attraction!

1. Backstory

There is a legend about Big Thunder Mountain. The story begins in the little town of Rainbow Ridge in the 1800s, the time of the gold rush. When gold was discovered, miners constructed a rail system to transport the gold. Unbeknownst to the settlers, the mountain was cursed by the spirit of Big Thunder. The spirits caused earthquakes and floods, destroying the mines and causing residents to flee. (When you pass the flooded town on Big Thunder, this is why!)

The town became deserted, until years later, when explorers found trains speeding through the mines, with no passengers inside. Now the railroad is opened for thrill seekers who are willing to ride these possessed carts….At their own risk.

Tumbleweed Town Thunder Mountain

Courtesy of LivingDisney.co

2. Queue

There are tons of hidden details in the queue! As you first walk up to the ride entrance, look for the height measurer outside the queue. It’s an old railroad tie!

Railroad Tie Big Thunder Mountain

The lines for Thunder Mountain can be long, but with all the hidden details you’ll never be bored. Be sure to read the signs as you pass by. This sign is talks about the Company Store – but, look at the very bottom. It’s written by Costas A. Lott, which sounds a lot like “cost us a lot”. This is a little joke by the Imagineers referring to the cost of the project!

Sign in Thunder Mountain queue

Courtesy of EasyWDW

Another one of our favorite signs advertises Pecos Bill, the nearby quick-service restaurant. It says “belly up to the world famous “mile long” bar. “What does this mean? There used to be a bar style restaurant at Magic Kingdom that had mirrors on both sides to make it appear a mile long!

Mile Long Bar sign

3. Trains

Each of the trains has a different name on the front of it. As you’re waiting for your ride, take a look! You’ll get one of the six names: U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty and I.M. Fearless. 

U.R. Courageous Train Disney

Courtesy of Mouse Steps

4.  Hidden Mickeys

There are two Hidden Mickey’s in the attraction. Right after you go under the dinosaur skeleton, look to your side. You’ll see a Hidden Mickey made of gears on the side!

Thunder Mountain Hidden Mickey

Courtesy of Loren Favier, Flickr

The other Hidden Mickey is at the exit of the attraction. And, it’s actually not a Mickey. It’s Tinkerbell! Look to your left as you’re walking out and you’ll see her silhouette in the rocks. In this picture, it’s towards the bottom and looks like a crack in the rock that forms an H shape. The right side is her wings, and the left side is her body!

Thunder Mountain Hidden Tinkerbell

5. Construction

Big Thunder Mountain isn’t actually made of rock, despite the appearances. It was created with 6500 tons of steel, 90,000 gallons of water, 4,675 tons of mud to coat the structure, and 4,000 gallons of paint! Disney actually has specialists in their Imagineering department who are trained in making structures at the parks look realistic. These specialists work on attractions like Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure, Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom, and even to make the elephant tusk marks on the safari at Animal Kingdom!