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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- The Wild West

Here's a land that hasn't gotten much attention- Frontierland. It didn't originally have many attraction, just a pack mule ride and stagecoaches. In 1956, it was also home to Tom Sawyers Island, where guests could take rafts to the Island in the middle of the Rivers of America and explore the area based on Mark Twain's books.

But in 1956, The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train opened, and took guests on rides to explore desserts. In 1960, the Rainbow Caverns Mine train became The Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland opened. At this time, the stagecoaches also closed. The newest incarnation of the Mine Train brought guests could board a train and be taken on a tour through western landscapes, from desserts to forests.

This attraction was not fit to last, however and closed in 1977. The Pack Mules also dissapeared at this time. What was to replace them? Only the wildest ride in the wilderness!

The idea for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was originally concieved for Walt Disney World by Marc Davis and Tony Baxter. It was to be a large western plateau pavilion, which was to contain many rides including a runaway mine train. The idea proved to be to expensive, and was abandoned, save for the Mine Train. This was put on hold while Space Mountain was built. The ride benefited from this, because by the time it opened in Disneyland (first), computers were controlling the ride, making it easier to operate. It's also interesting to note that many props from the Mine Train are n

Thunder Mountain opened in 1979, and opened in Magic Kingdom one year later. It's story revolves around a legend where gold was discovered in the mountain, and the area soon became a boom town. The miners who mined the area did not know that the mountain was sacred to Native Americans who lived there and was cursed. Soon, there was an earthquake and everyone who lived there fled. The mountain was "rediscovered" later, and those people saw the old mine trains racing around on their own. The people decided to open the Mountain up again, but this time as a tourists on rides.

Thunder Mountain was once again another hit, and the Disneyland Mountain Range was still growing...

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