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Author: Pirate Diva

“Hang onto your hats and glasses, folks, ’cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”

Big Thunder Mountain is a train-style roller coaster. It’s fast, with some dark moments, some loud moments, and lots of twists and turns. The ride lasts 3 1/2 minutes and travels at speeds of 25-30 mph.

The queue for this ride is a short climb up the mountain and then a ramp down into the old mine where you board the train. The queue can be deceptively long, as little of it is visible from the outside. I would recommend a Fast pass if the posted wait time is more than 30 minutes.

Each train consists of a locomotive and 5 cars, and each has a unique name. The trains are U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty, and I.M. Fearless.

Each car has three seats, which are big enough for 2 average adults, although I have squished in 2 adults and 1 child when my niece wanted to ride together in the front. If you are “Lotzo” or “Pooh” sized, instead of “Tigger” sized you might be a little uncomfortable and want to have just one person per car.

The restraint for each seat is a lap bar that goes across everyone in the seat. It locks into place and provides something to hold onto around tight turns as you will slide across the seat. The Disney Diva often complains when her 5 year old and herself, ride together, she’s convinced that the little one is going to fling out at any moment. So the problem is, if one person is bigger and one person is smaller, the lap bar only holds in the bigger person. She says she just holds one arm around her little ones waist to feel a little more secure.

The train travels in and out of the mine several times and goes up and down frequently. There are bats and rumbling rocks inside the mine as well as authentic antique mining equipment. The outside of the mountain is reminiscent of Utah and Arizona’s Monument Valley.

As you travel around the mountain, you pass through Tumbleweed, an old mining town, where a party is going on in the Saloon, beneath the skeleton of a dinosaur, and partway over the Rivers of America. (If you go to Tom Sawyer’s Island, head over to Fort Langhorn where you can “shoot” at the trains on Big Thunder Mountain as they pass by across the water.)

For a wilder ride, request the last car on the train, and for a milder ride, request the front car. And don’t forget to ride this at night, there are several unexpected sights that can really only be seen at night.

You must be 40″ to ride Big Thunder Mountain, but if your kids like roller coasters, be sure to add this one to the list. I think it is also a good first “real” roller coaster for introducing younger kids to thrill rides, especially if they tolerated Goofy’s rollercoaster well. My niece has been riding it since she was 4 years old and it is still one of her favorites nearly 4 years later.

I love Big Thunder Mountain and make sure to ride it every time I go to the Magic Kingdom. This may not be the wildest roller coaster at Disney World, but it is definitely one not to miss.

Scream factor: 3.5-4 you may only scream because you want to, but the ride can be a little wild, so be sure to remove loose articles, like hats and sunglasses.
Height Requirements: 40″
Wheelchair accessible, must transfer by Cast Member to board, but a special car is available for easy transitions.

Diva Tip: Try to ride in the morning or late at night, especially during Extra Magic Hours. If you have any motion sickness issues you might want to read HERE.

Amy, the Pirate Diva, also shares her Disney obsession on the Disney at Heart blog.