Sean: Disney loves their (mine) train themed coasters and every Disney Resort is home to at least one signature version! Today we take a look at five of the eight spread around the world to make our ranking. The selection ranges from classic Big Thunder Mountain Railroad installations to new-age versions such as Expedition Everest and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
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5. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA)
Despite Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad not placing on this list, the park’s other mine train stole the show when it opened in 2014. The family-oriented Seven Dwarfs Mine Train brought new exciting trains that swing, a full dark-ride section, a recycled scene from the park’s original Snow White attraction AND a well-balanced coaster experience. Sounds great, right? And why did it beat Shanghai’s installment in this list? That’s because Magic Kingdom’s integration of the coaster with the surrounding Fantasyland is wonderful, letting guests enjoy all angles of the ride.
4. Expedition Everest – Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA)
Though this is the only coaster of this style within Disney’s parks that’s not explicitly themed to a mine, it’s still themed to a wild train ride through mountains and grottoes and therefore it would make little sense to leave it out. Expedition Everest is one of the most expensive theme park rides ever built at a price-tag of $100,000,00. The 200 ft. mountain is Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s biggest thrill ride with the coaster reaching speeds of 50 mph, through several forward and backwards sections. The ride’s theming is competitive though has a few rough spots, what helps this ride’s spot on the list is the awesome moments of airtime, thrilling helices and great use of indoor/dark elements.
3. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars – Hong Kong Disneyland (Lantau Island, Hong Kong)
Jumping to the opposite side of the globe from Expedition Everest, we find its miraculously well-integrated nephew coaster: Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. We very much see this unique installment as Hong Kong Disney’s version of a modern Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster. Big Grizzly doesn’t have many tall elements, but rather sticks low to the ground, significantly helping with the pacing on the ride. The coaster features forwards and backwards motion, a launch, several awesome show-scenes, a unique-to-Hong Kong theme, and a killer finale. Big Grizzly isn’t the biggest thrill ride, but it does everything just right.
2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Disneyland Park (Anaheim, California, USA)
Securing the number two spot on the list is the original Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Resort in California. While we love Tokyo Disneyland’s Big Thunder as well, it was omitted to focus on the best of each of Disney’s different approaches to the Mine Train concept. We gave the edge to Anaheim’s installment as though it was the first of four Big Thunder Mountain Railroads, it’s still the most detailed one. This installment has all the new bells and whistles but is still home to the intimacy of the out-door station and queue, and the many Nature’s Wonderland themed details. The integration with the park feels much more natural than some of the later installments, and the ride is incredibly smooth. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.
1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Parc Disneyland (Chessy, France)
Coming in at number one is the spectacular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Paris. When the resort opened in 1992, this was the signature coaster for the park, not only because Europeans are generally very interested in the American Frontier, Disney also just expanded on the whole concept of the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness. Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain was built to be on an island.
Being on an island meant for a very exciting start to the ride as the brown and green trains leave the station and immediately dive underneath the river to make their way over to the island. The ride’s carefully adjusted layout shows off the fact that you’re surrounded by water at all times. The detail of theming is similar to that of Anaheim’s installment, but in a more grandiose setting. What really seals the deal for the number one spot, is the ride’s finale. After a seemingly fast and exciting last few turns on Big Thunder Mountain, the trains rush into a dark cavern before gaining significant speed into a drop under ground. Chasing deep underneath the Rivers of America, the trains reach their top speed at the very last moment before rushing up out of the ground and into the final brakes. It’s Disney’s Best Mine Train.
Thank you for joining us for this list of our 5 favorite Disney Mine Train Coasters Worldwide! Check out some of our other new articles: