It’s one of the greatest themed coasters ever, and I’ve ridden it at least 300 times. I can tell you exactly when the goat will “baa-aa-aah” at you from the top of the hill, how to sit in the back car and keep that lap bar from making you sit too tight.
I can also quote the entire original safety spiel, and gladly point out that the steampowered hand car in the queue is one of the ones used in the film “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.” You’ll also notice that the town of Big Thunder was originally part of Rainbow Ridge, and that remnants of the old Rainbow Caverns Mine Ride are hidden throughout the Tony Baxter-designed attraction.
But I have to be honest, my favorite memory of this attraction is listening to my grandmother laugh her way through the whole thing. I’ve gone on it with her for years–in college and as an adult–and honestly, as much as I had riding this wonderful attraction with my college buddies, with my own kids and my wife, nothing is better than Big Thunder with grandma.
Here’s the original song “The Legend of Thunder Mountain,” which helps explain the backstory to the attraction. Happy Birthday to a true Disney original. Glad it opened on this day in 1979.