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Walt Disney World Resort - Magic Kingdom, Part 4


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad


MK Map Frontierland is representative of the old West, and perhaps part of the South thrown in for good measure. Two of the three "Mountains" of Magic Kingdom are here, Splash and Thunder Mountains...

A walk around Frontierland is a walk through a frontier town in the Southwest, with rough hewn board walls, and rifle barrels poking through windows...

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Frontierland - Splash Mountain

Song of the South, was released in 1946, and was last shown in the theaters in 1986 for its 40th anniversary.

Splash Mountain (which is based on Song of the South) made its debut in 1992. I find it odd, that after the 1986 showing, Disney would shelve the movie, but base a E-Ticket theme park attraction on it.

The movie continues to be a hot potato at Disney, since it contains racially charged stereotypes. But so do many of Disney's other early movies. Seen the Injun scene in Peter Pan lately? This is part of history (it did win an Oscar, when Oscar's actually meant something) and the way to treat it isn't to sweep it under the rug...

The attraction itself, is longer than you might think. You happily float along with Br'er Rabbit, Fox, Bear and Frog on several levels, indoors and out, and finally get thrown into the Briar Patch. Oh, and prepare to get wet. Because you will. Isn't that the ultimate purpose of the ride?

Splash Mountain
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Frontierland - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad didn't open until 9 years after Magic Kingdom made its debut. While it's no doubt one of the E-Ticket attractions of the park, it's all that remains of what was to be "Pirates of the Caribbean, East".

Walt and his Imagineers, thought that since one of the premier attractions at Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean was set on the East Coast of the U.S., that there should be a sister attraction, Western River Adventure in the East Coast park. It never happened. But the Western idea was reutilized and realized in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

It's said the mountain is modeled after Bryce Canyon in Utah. Okay, if you say so...

Anyway, even with three lift hills, the ride never feels like you're dangling 75 feet in the air, since there's mountain always below you...

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
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Frontierland - Country Bears Jamboree

Grizzly Hall
Grizzly Hall, home to the Country Bear Jamboree since 1971.
The original intent of a Bear Band wasn't supposed to be in Magic Kingdom, but as an attraction at the Mineral King Ski Resort in California. So the Country Bears were really supposed to be California Bears.

But during the design of the project, Walt died, and as with many of his other, projects, got changed to make it fit a Walt-less company.

But, an original attraction to Magic Kingdom, it was a hit with the guests since Day 1, and they still play in Grizzly Hall today. If my calculations are correct, that's almost 500,000 shows. I wonder if they kept track.

Oh, and if Pirates was the most successful Theme Park to Movie venture, Country Bears was the other extreme end of the bell curve...

Country Bears Jamboree
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Frontierland - Taping and photographing Parades

My favorite place to photograph or video a parade in MK is in Frontierland, just to the right of the DVC booth just outside the breezeway between Adventureland and Frontierland. Where the bathrooms are. Right at the rope.

The parade route takes a little bend there, so the angle is better no matter which way the parade is heading. No one is allowed in front of the DVC building, so no one will get in your way. If you see a guy in a floppy green hat there, come say hello... :-)

The other great place to photo/video the parade is in the hub, where you can get the castle in the background. But that real estate gets taken early...

Waiting for parades
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End Magic Kingdom - Part 4.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

  • 04/17/2010 - Entire page re-imaged, rewritten
  • 06/02/2012 - Complete replacement
  • 12/31/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2