Disney Plans Thunder Mountain Upgrade


You heard it hear first! Just because Disney has released plans to start construction of Anaheim’s mythical third gate doesn’t mean the original park will fall into neglect.

These are exciting times in the theme park business. When a recession hits, it’s time for the theme-park-to-end-all-theme-parks to buckle down and start making improvements for when the crowds return. It’s this type of investment that has yielded the venerable park it’s new attraction overlay: Race to Big Thunder Mountain

After the wildly popular successes of Pirates Lair at Tom Sawyer Island, TDA executes where just chomping at the bit to spend millions more on bringing other attractions into the crossover film-to-attraction fold. I am told construction will begin before Memorial Day on the aging Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Yes it’s that soon!

This is the second life for a project that first reared it’s head 30 years ago. After the success of Escape to Witch Mountain in the 70’s, Imagineers first got the idea to transform Matterhorn Mountain into Witch Mountain. However, the project was squelched when park management felt it would be an ill-fitting and incongruous addition to Fantasyland. That being said, good ideas never die at WDI they are just set aside – now the project is back!

Set pieces from the hit film Race to Witch Mountain will be placed throughout most of the attraction’s interior showrooms. Look for the flying saucer to be suspended high above rainbow caverns and Dwayne Johnson’s mangled taxi-cab to make a terrifying appearance in the fabled earthquake room.

Speaking of Dwayne Johnson, he will play a prominent role in the new attraction’s sole innovation, a two-million dollar, fully articulated audio-animatronic figure placed outside standing where Big Thunder’s iconic dynamite munching billy goat currently stands. The world’s first indoor/outdoor animatronic will feature a lifelike version of The Rock uttering catchphrases from the film as riders crest the second lift-hill. Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? I know I can.

I have personally seen the plans for this new overlay and the schedule is currently set to bring the attraction online for a grand reopening (and the obligatory media event and commemorative pin release) on December 5, 2009. Rumors of a Celebration Roundup and Race to Thunder Mountain gift shop are still in the Blue Sky stages as of this writing, but you never know, Disneyland has never been one to pass up an excuse to sell more souvenirs

What do you think? Will you go see the new version of Big Thunder Mountain?


7 Comments so far

  1. 3rd Disneyland Resort Themepark A Go! | Orange County Metblogs (pingback) on April 1st, 2009 @ 7:26 am

    […] at the local big-chain hotels too like it does in Florida. Between this, DCA being revamped and Jon’s other surprise, Disney doesn’t seem to be hurting for cash! Unless that’s why they keep firing my […]

  2. DanGarion (dangarion) on April 1st, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

    Thank god this is fake too…

  3. Jon (oc_jon) on April 2nd, 2009 @ 6:14 am

    Why? You don’t think it’s a good idea? [smirk]

  4. evan on April 2nd, 2009 @ 9:23 am

    You had me for a minute!

  5. Jon (oc_jon) on April 2nd, 2009 @ 10:24 am

    Hooray! It pleases me to know I almost fooled someone! Happy April Fools Day! :)

  6. frazgo on April 2nd, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

    You guys are too funny. Too bad the OC register didn’t get its panties in a knot over this one like they did on the waterpark. Still farking brilliant piece, I so was worried they’d ruin that ride with an "upgrade" to fit a movie.

  7. Jon (oc_jon) on April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    I know – I have the green envious eyes for Dave’s brilliance! Feel free to toss out some ideas for next year!

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