Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, BTMRR for those who love acronyms, is the fastest ride in the west, pardners. Yee haw! Come on y’all, jump on and take a ride.

Warning: This is a rough roller coaster, probably one of the roughest of all the Walt Disney World roller coasters. But it is also one of the most thrilling rides west of the Pecos (that probably should be east of the Pecos, huh?)

The Location

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is way back in the back corner of the Magic Kingdom in Frontierland. It’s behind Splash Mountain (which is currently closed for its transformation into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure) and across from Tom Sawyer Island. You can’t miss it. It’s the big orange mountain.

Theming and the Queue

The waiting area is fashioned after an old time train station but has no windows so during the summer it get very warm while waiting in line. The lines snake around and are sometimes deceptively long. Make sure you look at the waiting time clock before you get in line. It’s usually fairly accurate.

You’ll hear an occasional train whistle. It’s not from the trains, just piped in to make things more interesting.

Riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad takes you on a train ride through an abandoned mine town. As you leave the train station you start a climb up the rock encased track passing a waterfall to the top of the mountain. Then the fun starts.

If you can open your eyes you’ll see rocks and bridges and cactus and the leftovers from a town that’s been washed away by a desert flood (including a bathtub with a bather still in it) and lots more. It all flies by real fast.

There are tight turns, dips and bumps and 2 big drops. There’s a lot of great stuff to see as you fly through Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Keep your eyes open and take it in.

The Postshow

When you get off the train, you walk right back out into the park (and probably right down the hill to Splash Mountain.)


In designing this ride, Imagineers took their inspiration for the mountain from the rock buttes around Monument Valley, Utah.

  • The ride opened in the Magic Kingdom in 1980. (The Disneyland version opened in 1979)
  • It was the second mountain in the Magic Kingdom after Space Mountain.
  • The ride duration is 3 and a half minutes and reaches top speed of a whopping 30 mph (although you’d swear it was going faster).
  • There are 20 audio-animatronic figures along the ride.

Fun Facts

Several fun filled animals can be found along the tracks, a billy goat guards the top of the mountain, a family of possums are hiding about the entrance to the cave, and bats, chickens, and donkeys can be found throughout the ride.

  • For added fun guests should ride once during the day and then take the same adventure with a different spin by riding it at night.
  • Thrill seekers may want to sit in the back of the train for more of a wild ride, but, may miss out on some of the scenery.
  • Guests who do not want to wait in long lines may want to go during parade times because the line is shorter.
  • This was the first Disney attraction to use computer aided design in its creation.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride Table

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Description: A wild ride through an Old West abandoned mine.
Height Requirement: 40 inches Genie+: Yes Length of Ride: 90 seconds
Type of ride: Roller Coaster with bar over lap restraint
Best time to ride: Early in the morning, during parades, after a rain shower

Dad’s Ratings

Not applicable  4 5 5 3
Other Information: This ride will close quickly when it rains, this ride does allow Rider Switch

Are You Tall Enough?

Is your child tall enough to ride? Yes, there is a height requirement to ride Big Thunder Mountain: You have to be at least 40 inches tall to ride.

The Fine Print

Every roller coaster ride has some fine print, so here it is.

Most of these probably should be headed.

  • Expectant mothers should not ride.
  • Service animals are not allowed on this ride.
  • Riders should be in good health, free from high blood pressure, heart, neck or back problems. This ride may aggravate motion sickness. (Dad can do it, and he’s a wimp.)
  • Guest must transfer from wheelchair or other motorized vehicle to enjoy this ride.
  • Guest with small children may take turns riding this ride. Ask a cast member about doing a baby swap.
  • Fastpasses sometimes run out prior to the end of the day.

Again, this is a rough ride.