To accomodate the works on Big Thunder Mountain, Rivers of the Far West has been drained for the first time since it was filled in 1992. This major operation was carried out in various phases: first the bottom of the basin was cleaned out during a nightly, two-month long operation; then the fish were removed and placed in other basins of our destination, and lastly the water itself was emptied out.
The 33-metre tall mountain is currently undergoing a thorough cleaning and repaint job. “This important phase of the project will unveil the various rock strata that make up the rock formations, and these will be more visible,” Beth confides. Over on the splashdown side – where the train drops into the river -, the facilities have been modified and improved in order to be more accessible for the maintenance teams.
The landscape of famous Monument Valley in Arizona, well-known for having been the setting of a number of great Hollywood westerns and the natural arches of the Zion National Park inspired the geography of Big Thunder Mountain.
The current ongoing work has given our team the opportunity to replace/restore the multiple props and authentic decors on the mountain, as well as in the queue line and the boarding dock. These are all unique pieces, picked up in garage sales and ghost towns throughout the USA. Naturally, they are treated with special, loving care. A significant amount of wood has been replaced on the island, in particular on the barriers of the queue line. 630 railroad ties of the train track will also be replaced.
The Disneyland Paris Horticulture teams worked to remove much of the vegetation and replanted trees at the correct scale of the mountain. These were mainly pines, cacti and artemisia.
The projection technology, already used on Sleeping Beauty Castle for Disney Dreams! and for Ratatouille: The Adventure will offer our guests an explosive finale. Light projectors and speakers have been placed and hidden in the rocks of the tunnel, next to a good number of dynamite stick props. New tubs were recently set up next to Pocahontas Indian Village and the liquid nitrogen in them is brought through amphibious pipes to the stage, creating the smoke that takes over the stage and adds an element of awe for our guests. “We are going to offer a ground shattering finale at Big Thunder Mountain in the last lift and will turn this into the wildest ride in the West!”
Mine explorations will pick up again on 17 December 2016. Big Thunder Mountain’s reopening will mark a new step in the experience enhancement plan of Disneyland Paris, with the refurbishment and enhancement of 10 attractions and shows by 2017.