Incoming Explosion at Disney Leads to Imminent Attraction Overhaul

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

People sitting in a themed amusement park ride vehicle appear excited and engaged, with dim, warm lighting enhancing the rustic setting as they prepare for the ride to start.

Credit: Flickr/Joe Penniston

It looks like Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is not the only Frontierland attraction at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Frontierland at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Allen Castillo, Flickr

Magic Kingdom, the heart and soul of Walt Disney World Resort, transcends the realm of a theme park. Since its 1971 opening, it has become a cornerstone of childhood dreams and a place where enchanting memories are made. This iconic park, with its captivating fairytale castle, beloved characters, and immersive attractions, continues to hold a special place in the hearts of millions of visitors worldwide.

Cinderella Castle, a magnificent architectural centerpiece, stands as a symbol of Magic Kingdom’s enchanting essence. The park itself is meticulously crafted, divided into six themed lands that offer unique experiences for guests of all ages.

From the charming nostalgia of Main Street, U.S.A. to the adventurous spirit of Frontierland, each land offers an escape into a distinct time and place. Even Tomorrowland, with its futuristic vision, maintains a connection to the park’s core theme of wonder.

While Magic Kingdom has consistently introduced updates and new attractions such as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and TRON Lightcycle / Run, it has largely maintained its original six-land layout for over five decades. The recently announced “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” expansion marks a significant shift, promising the introduction of an entirely new themed land and potentially altering the park’s established layout for the first time in its history.

fantasyland magic kingdom
Credit: Becky Burkett

This expansion isn’t just notable for its sheer size – potentially becoming the largest single land within Magic Kingdom – but also for its potential impact on the park’s overall experience.

With a budget of $60 billion allocated for Walt Disney World Resort expansion, fans are eagerly awaiting further details.

Specific details regarding the new land’s theme remain under wraps. While Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Josh D’Amaro hinted at possibilities like Encanto, Coco (which will be headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and Disney Villains (rumored for Magic Kingdom) nearly two years ago, the official direction under Bob Iger’s leadership remains to be seen.

One thing is certain: Magic Kingdom, a beloved icon, is poised for a significant and exciting transformation.

As we know, the landscape of Frontierland is rapidly changing. The Country Bear Jamboree is getting a top-to-bottom makeover, reopening this summer with new animatronics, some new characters, new outfits, and new songs all slated to Disney IP like “Try Everything” from Zootopia and music from Aladdin. There are also rumors that the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade will be closing.

Frontierland Shootin' Arcade
Credit: edenspictures, Flickr

Of course, we know that Splash Mountain is closed forever, and with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure officially opening on June 28, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad remained the only untouched attraction. The wildest ride in the wilderness remained untouched until now.

Disney expert Mickey Views revealed, “Sources of Mickey Views suggest that Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle has finally green lit plans to update Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World. This update doesn’t just involve new track components and control systems but new theming as well! In particular, a heavily modified version of the dynamite explosion effect was previously added to other versions of Big Thunder across the globe.”

If you have ever been on the Disneyland version of the attraction since the theme park’s 60th anniversary, you will notice that there is a much larger explosion scene on the attraction, with projection mapping, smoke, and more.

The scene is a true spectacle, and now, it seems it will be coming to Magic Kingdom in a modified format. This is something that was reportedly meant to happen for the 50th anniversary but never came to fruition back then.

Mickey Views continued, “Big Thunder Mountain will soon receive a major overhaul. While no specifics have been officially announced, the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will provide the necessary ‘wiggle room’ capacity-wise to enable Park Operations to close another Magic Kingdom attraction for long-needed updates.”

People sitting in a themed amusement park ride vehicle appear excited and engaged, with dim, warm lighting enhancing the rustic setting as they prepare for the ride to start.
Credit: Flickr/Joe Penniston

Related: Child Tossed off of Big Thunder Mountain Roller Coaster

The Big Thunder Mountain shutdown at Magic Kingdom is expected to address reliability concerns with the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction itself. This may involve upgrades to the lift hill hardware, a known source of unexpected downtime in recent years. Additionally, a complete overhaul of the ride’s control board and sensor system is possible. Replacing and potentially adding new sensors would significantly improve ride reliability and minimize downtime, enhancing the overall guest experience.

To do all of these changes will certainly mean that a long closure is on the way for Big Thunder Mountain. At the moment, no closure has been confirmed, and it is likely that nothing will happen until Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is back up and running and the busy summer season is over.

As for this writer’s prediction, I would guess a fall closure is likely, as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will likely close in the late winter for refurbishment as Splash Mountain annually did, and having two major Frontierland attractions closed at the same time would not be preferred.

Below, you can take a look at the explosion scene that the Disneyland version of the attraction holds.

What do you think of Disney upgrading Big Thunder Mountain in this way? 

Be the first to comment!