An Explosive Finale


The following post contains photos from the redesigned final lift hill on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you do not wish to know what the new effects look like, then read no further and do not scroll down to the photos!


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Okay, here we go...

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has been open for a month now, and I think enough time has passed to be able to shed some light on the one new redesigned aspect of the ride experience.  Of course, the track has been completely replaced and is now buttery smooth, and the town of Rainbow Ridge (formerly named Big Thunder) has been rebuilt and given a fresh coat of paint, and all the theming elements and animatronics have a new gleam to them from their refurbishment.  But there has been one wholly different part of the ride, and it occurs at the third and final lift hill of this thrilling mine train roller coaster.

Previously, riders coming into the final lift hill ascended a crickety track with boulders shaking awkwardly, simulating an earthquake, with a silhouetted projection of falling rocks (or mostly rubble) reinforcing the instability of the cave.  However, in the new and improved Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, riders find themselves in a blasting zone gone wrong.  3D mapping projections trace dynamite trails along the rocks, as explosives shoot forth from each side in a billowing discharge of smoke and "fire."  This culminates with a charge directly above riders' heads at the apex of the hill going off right into their faces!  The effect is achived with a combination of ejected fog, projections, and lighting, but it's quite impressive, and rather realistic! The first time I rode, I was blown away (pun intended)!

Here are a few photos showing how the effects go.

Climbing up the final lift hill.

Though I wasn't able to capture them in this series, there are explosions that rocket from both sides overhead.

And then the grand finale...

A big KABOOM...

Right at the riders! It's quite spectacular.


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