Report: Disney World Ripping Out and Replacing Another Classic Attraction

in Walt Disney World

Disney World Attraction 'Big Thunder Mountain' and sign 'CLOSED'

Credit: Inside the Magic

Count your days, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad fans. Rumor has it that the end is nigh for this classic Disney World attraction – well, sort of.

While there are dozens of rides across Walt Disney World Resort, Thunder Mountain is by far one of its best-known. One part of what was once Disney’s iconic Magic Kingdom “mountain” trio (now a duo with Space Mountain since the demise of Splash Mountain), the family-friendly roller coaster sends thousands of guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness every day.

A dramatic evening view of a rugged, colorful mountain landscape under a twilight sky, illuminated with vibrant red and purple lighting that heightens the sense of a wild, untamed Disney frontier.
Credit: Disney

Related: Magic Kingdom Expansion Goes “Beyond Big Thunder”

Today, there are four versions of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad operating worldwide. Disneyland may have the original, and Disneyland Paris may (in our opinion) have the best, but Disney World’s still holds a special place in the heart of parkgoers and boasts an average wait time of 35 minutes, according to Thrill Data.

However, if it’s a go-to for you on every Magic Kingdom trip, we have some bad news.

People riding Disney Thunder Mountain through rocky, arid terrain, expressing excitement and thrill. The coaster cars are bright yellow and red.
Credit: Disney

According to insider sources, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will close this year at Magic Kingdom for a lengthy refurbishment. This won’t just be any refurbishment; apparently, Disney plans to replace the entire track.

For now, we don’t have an official update from Disney on this closure (although WDWMagic estimates that it will close in September). However, it’s safe to assume that it won’t close until after Tiana Bayou’s Adventure opens this summer, which will help to absorb some of Thunder Mountain’s demand.

Credit: Disney

Related: Guests Suspended Backwards on Disney World Ride

Once it does close, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will apparently undergo the longest closure in the ride’s history, lasting over a year. It’s had plenty of short-term closures over the years, but the most recent significant refurbishment came in 2012 when it closed for four months.

While it sounds relatively radical, theme parks often replace the tracks of their most enduring attractions – especially roller coasters, whose tracks take a heavy toll on a daily basis – for both safety and performance issues. Older tracks tend to provide a rougher, less enjoyable ride.

Construction cast members on a lift working on the Incredicoaster loop as seen from the entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania.
Credit: Krysten Swensen, Inside the Magic

Most recently, Disneyland Resort temporarily closed The Incredicoaster on California Adventure’s Pixar Pier to replace the loop’s track. It previously did the same in 2018.

Universal closed its Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure for a year between 2015 and 2016 to carry out a similar refurbishment as that rumored for Thunder Mountain. To improve the smoothness of the ride, large sections of the track were replaced. All of its trains were also replaced and enhanced with on-board audio and special lighting effects.

What’s your favorite Disney roller coaster? Let us know in the comments!

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