Disney is known for family-friendly entertainment. For this reason, it isn’t necessarily the place to go if you’re an extreme thrill seeker. However, that doesn’t mean that a wild ride or two isn’t in store for those venturing to one of Disney’s several theme parks around the world. Roller coasters like Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, and more have plenty of thrill in store for unsuspecting guests if you know the right way to ride.
Both Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are home to one particular fan-favorite attraction that takes guests on a curvy train ride through the wild wilderness of the Old West, and recently, someone “hacked the system,” showing riders a brand-new way to maximize their fun.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a mine train roller coaster that lives at Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, varies slightly depending on what park you’re attending. However, the gist is the same surrounding each roller coaster. The gold is booming in the American Southwest, and many a man have made their way, hoping to strike it lucky by making an easy fortune.
As human interference will do, the influx of miners has disturbed the nearby lands and towns (Rainbow Ridge in Disneyland, Tumbleweed in Florida, Thunder Mesa in Disneyland Paris). The once sacred place, now desecrated, has opened up due to earthquakes and flash flooding, leading to its abandonment.
Interestingly enough, the mine trains never stopped running, and now guests to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom can buckle up to take “the wildest ride in the wilderness” on Big Thunder Mountain.
Spectacular Views at Night
Although a moderately paced roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain still has its fair share of thrills when barreling down and around the supposed dormant mining town. For this reason, it’s become a popular attraction that many consider a must-do ride when visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Although it’s relatively tame for a roller coaster, there are ways to heighten the overall experience of riding Big Thunder Mountain. In my humble opinion, one way to maximize your ride time on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is to ride at night. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but the Frontierland ride seems to have an extra oomph once the sun goes down.
Riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the dark also allows riders a chance to experience fireworks (at WDW) in an entirely new way. With Cinderella Castle lit up in the background and cresting the first hill of the roller coaster, getting to take a ride when fireworks are happening really increases the enjoyability of the ride, as well as creates an entirely new experience you can’t enjoy during daytime hours.
Sites and Sounds of Big Thunder Railroad
As riders embark on their journey, they won’t be disappointed as they zip up, down, and around Big Thunder Mountain. Like most Disney attractions, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is complete with a fantastic set that includes a cavern of bats, a small town, and even dinosaur bones.
As you zip through the ride, you’ll also hear plenty of explosives going off, relics of a once-booming society of gold miners looking to make their fortune.
One particular focal point within the ride that is easily missed if you aren’t paying attention is also my favorite part of Big Thunder Mountain. Billy the Disney Goat is hanging around the ride’s location. For no particular reason, you’ll find him hilariously mounted atop roofs throughout the roller coaster’s theming.
The Big Thunder Mountain Goat Hack
Many of us understand that the roller coasters built within Disney Parks are typically less thrilling. Although Disney does have a few rides and attractions that’ll make you think twice about not using the restroom before hopping in line, most of their coasters are geared toward families.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is no different. With top speeds up around 36 mph, the roller coaster isn’t going to give anyone a fright in terms of speed. However, the track design does lend itself to a sometimes jolting experience in which riders can slide left and right as sharp turns are abundant.
As with any roller coaster, there’s always a sweet spot where savvy riders know the best ride experience awaits them. Typically, this means requesting a specific seat where the force of the ride is at its greatest, making the experience even more exhilarating. For Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, this is, without a doubt, the back seat!
There is one more secret, however, that we’ve tried recently, thanks to Susan Ariel on Facebook. The idea here is to close your eyes and turn your head toward Billy the Goat as you pass him. Of course, this means you have to know where he is before riding, but it gives the rider an elongated experience of force combined with speed, especially when seated at the very back of the attraction. You can click here to see how it’s done.
It Really Works
This may seem trivial, but we promise it actually works. I’ve done it myself. By closing your eyes and sitting in the back, the increase of impulse and pressure are both mentally and physically increased, adding to the overall intensity of the roller coaster, much like a whip.
Typically, riding in the back of any roller coaster, even slower ones you’ll find at Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, means a more intense ride. Ultimately, this is due to physics, with several different forces at work, including gravity, acceleration, and speed.
So the next time you’re ready to ride Big Thunder Mountain, feel free to ask a cast member for the back row, nicely. If they let you, close your eyes and let us know how well this hack works for you!