Big Thunder Mountain: the wildest renovation in the West!

As the largest renovation of the iconic attraction in Frontierland is halfway through, Disneyland Paris News invites you to discover the work that has already been carried out and what awaits you in what will turn out to be a truly explosive adventure! As we slip behind the palisades, Beth Clapperton, artistic director at Walt Disney Imagineering, brings us up to date after eight months of renovation.

As the largest renovation of the iconic attraction in Frontierland is halfway through, Disneyland Paris News invites you to discover the work that has already been carried out and what awaits you in what will turn out to be a truly explosive adventure! As we slip behind the palisades, Beth Clapperton, artistic director at Walt Disney Imagineering, brings us up to date after eight months of renovation.

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.

0 thoughts on “Big Thunder Mountain: the wildest renovation in the West!”

  1. Hi, there! I’m from Brazil, and I’ll be at DisneylandParis on my 40th birthday with my family (a husband and 3 daughters). May I have my “magical birthday ever”? This include a character? How I order it? We’re ordering a 1day/2parks ticket, and we have a doubt about the time of Paris Express. It leaves Disnenyland at 8pm, is that time AFTER the fireworks and night parade? We’re very excited with this family travel,and we’ll be waiting ansiously for your reply

  2. Wonderful article, please more like this!

    I’ve never seen that castle elevation artwork before, could you post it in a higher resolution? Would love to thoroughly investigate the details of it.

    Kind regards
    Disneyland Paris Treasures

  3. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog. Im really impressed by your blog.

  4. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  5. What’s the point of attracting adults and “reconnecting them with childhooh emotions and memories” if once they’re there you’ll treat them like they’re not welcome?
    Maybe the problem is not our perception is wrong. Maybe the problem is you really don’t want us to go.

  6. There’s a Santa Fe style hotel? Oh my! Will have to go back and stay there! Only hotel I had time to see on my first visit was the Disneyland Hotel on my way into the park to see Captain Eo after it re-opened in June 2010. I was on a one-day visit via the Eurostar from London (on holiday there from Australia) so very limited time – too limited. But I loved it.

  7. I’ve been 4 times to Disneyland Paris in the last 3 years and each time the service has been absolutely dredful and not even apologetic – would love to see how this changes.

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  12. Also my question:-) Is there a way to buy something although i’m not working at Disneyland Paris?

  13. So, so sad to see this icon show close! I first saw it in California in 1987 and was blown away by what was then incredible 3D technology, as well as Michael’s performance. When I visited Disneyland Paris for the first (and thus far, only) time on 24 June 2010 I was on a EuroStar day trip to the park from London which I was visiting for Michael Jackson 1st anniversary events with his UK fans. When I heard that Disneyland Paris and other Disney Parks were re-opening the film as a tribute to Michael, I HAD to make the journey across the channel to see it again. Needless to say, I made the most of the opportunity for repeat screenings on that day. And though I’ve since seen it repeatedly in Anaheim and Tokyo (shortly before it closed there last year) I’ll never, ever forget seeing it on the big screen for the first time since the 80s at Disneyland Paris. I’m not sure I want to go back now. 🙁

  14. It’s a shame this classic has to go, really!
    I’m glad I got the chance to experience it once again with the tribute performance.

    It was not quite the same since many of the original effects and the look and feel of the cinema were missing, still the old 3D glasses/technique and and analogue! print/and projector was used, which was and is kind of lazy from Disney. Also, the print was very worn out the last time I’ve seen it and should have been replaced long ago.

    But, still better than no Captain EO.

    Since Captain EO will never return to the Disney parks, please release a worthy blu-ray of this classic masterpiece (in 3D and 2D). I’m sure plenty of Disney-, Michael Jackson-, Anjelica Huston, Franics Ford Coppola- and George Lucas-Fans would buy it in an instant!

    I sure would!

  15. Why oh why is this closing?

    Have seen it several times at Disneyland Paris in the last couple of years and and each showing was packed out! Judging by everyone’s reaction on the way out, the audience clearly loved both the film and its effects.

    Bad decision, Disney 🙁

  16. The reason it has closed is that jardly anyone watches. Figures have dwindled and have been for years. It has been declining in the mast few years. Everyone moans and groans but it costs Disney to keep it running and if the audiences ain’t coming, who can afford to keep it.

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  19. We used these just after Christmas. Such a vast improvement since our last visit in summer 2014. Well done! I still had to wait from about 9am to get a good spot in the queue, but then we only waited about 10 minutes in the actual pavilion, as opposed to 70 minutes last time!

  20. We had a wonderfull new years evening at euro disney 2015 – 2016!!!!
    It was fantastic!!
    Thank you!

  21. Will the foliage be refurbished? Many leaves and small branches are missing and spoil the attraction so hopefully these will be refurbished.

  22. Hello We are a family of 4 with my husband and 2 children.I am 32 weeks pregnant.With the easy access card will I have access to attractions with my family.

  23. would changing the perception around DP to attract adults or a particular age groups not be at the expense of other age groups eg kids, teenagers.

  24. What a shame that they cast aside the park’s heritage, people’s memories and their love of DLP by destroying the named stones and replacing them with bland slabs.
    There were a few broken and loose ones, but surely they could have been kept and relayed to a better standard than they had previously.
    It has really dampened our DLP experience. What next? Removal of the castle?

  25. it’sasmallworld is more beautifulthan before.

    I will ride to it’s a smallworld during go to disneyland paris.

  26. i come to disney land for 20 years every year 2or3 times
    i am a real disney fan i collect it also but my complain is this year
    when y order to stay in the hotel why did they not mention
    that there is so many attraction close in the park you mention about the hotel but let also know about what happen in the park
    i hope you understand why i writhe this
    i hope that you will reply
    thanks yolande

  27. I want cast menbers . business chaienge back stage new shw works
    my challenge .
    U.S.A I want art work project menbers.

  28. Hello, I am staying at the Hotel on 9/23/16. That day is my daughter’s birthday. Do you have the opportunity to purchase a cake?

  29. Can anyone help with getting in touch with photopass for Disneyland Paris. Tried sending email through contact us but email keeps coming back undeliverable. All photos are not coming up and need them to find my photos.

  30. Not Impressed! Big Thunder mountain is one of my favorite Disney Rides! Shut! Simlarly, the Star Wars events are apparently unavailable.No mention of these attractions being shut when my booking was made in June. My grandson, for whom we arranged this trip, has extatically reached the height limit, and a star wars addict/devotee will now be denied these pleasures. Will there be a refund/discount offered?

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