Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

Big Thunder model makes for a fun addition to the Disneyland Hotel

Big Thunder model makes for a fun addition to the Disneyland Hotel

Rate This
  • Comments 7

As part of this week's hit-and-run trip to Southern California, I made a special trip to the Disneyland Hotel yesterday. Just so I could then check out that replica of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which had recently been installed in the Frontier tower lobby.


Photo by Jim Hill

When you're in the park itself, while it's relatively easy for Guests to enjoy this runaway mine train ride, you can't really get a sense while you're actually riding the thing how genuinely clever Big Thunder Mountain's design is.


Photo by Jim Hill

But as you look down at this 1/20th scale model (which is a replica of one of the nine plaster versions of Big Thunder that the Imagineers built back in the early 1970s. As they tried to get a handle on the best possible track layout for Frontierland's first thrill-ever ride) ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... you then realize how much show & spectacle the Imagineers managed to cram into this teeny 3-acre space.


Photo by Jim Hill

That there isn't an inch of this Bryce Canyon-inspired landscape ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... that doesn't either provide Guests with a thrill ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... and/or given them a quick laugh ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... thanks a well-staged bit of business or tableau.


Photo by Jim Hill

If you'd like to get a sense of how all of the pieces fit together here ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... how "The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness" doesn't waste even an inch of space ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... the very next time you're at the Disneyland Resort, make a point of heading over to the Disneyland Hotel so that you can then check out this absolutely amazing model.


Photo by Jim Hill

Just be sure to " ... hang onto them hats and glasses" as you peer down into that display case, okay?

Blog - Post Feedback Form
Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Post
  • How about a story on the promotion of Meg to oversee the disney resorts?

  • Very cool! I remember the original concept model they used to have in the Disneyland Showcase in Town Square.

  • Can't wait to see this later this month.

    Should be especially cool after a couple cocktails at the new Trader Sam's bar next door.

  • It would be great if WDI would put models in the other towers so guests could really get an idea of the layout of the Jungle Cruise or the compactness of Fantasyland.  And if they ever get around to building that long-rumored fourth tower (Tomorrow) maybe a preview model of a new Tomorrowland (with people mover!)

  • There was only one overall carved green foam 1/4 inch model made of Disneyland Big Thunder from 1977 to 1978.  We did a Half inch model of the main buttes also in green foam over a structural steel concept frame made of 1/2 x1/2 square wood timbers.  The engineering  firm hired from the outside, was not quite sure how to frame it and gave us specs and told us to frame it how we needed based on interior and exterior show.  Most of what we did worked out fine.  The rest was adjusted for spans and loads.  Latter some castings were made of plaster of the Buttes to see if they could be disected but this did not work out.  The two man team on the model invented slice and dice which worked great in the field on cages constructed of rebar.  This new model was created using the originel plaster casts of the buttes from the 1978 model and  scanned.   Would be great to see the concept model next to the finish model here as it has some new elements on it.   PD

  • (microrails@comcast.net ) Thank You for posting photo's.  Do you know is a drawing of the BTM track plan around?

    Thinking of making a partial model of the BTMR. Scale of On30 1/4" to the foot model

  • I got to see them building that model when I had lunch with Tony Baxter at the Imagineering headquarters in Glendale!

Page 1 of 1 (7 items)