Big Thunder Model Railroad

Over in the Disneyland Hotel, inside the lobby of the Frontier Tower (that would be the south side tower for those with cartographic tendencies), there is an absolutely love model of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  It is a replica of the 1/4" = 1'-0" model originally used in the design and selling of the ride, and it is magnificent.  Plants, rocks, people, trains... all rendered in painstaking detail.  It's just so fun to walk around this and look at all the angles.

The model showcases the entire layout of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad--minus the indoor parts, of course!
When I was young, one of my dreams was to own a giant mansion that had a room specifically dedicated to model railroads and miniature worlds.  I was fascinated with miniatures as a kid.  Being able to craft whole cities and environments was such an exciting thought, and I loved seeing these sorts of models at the local fair or at certain museums.

Guests wait at the entrance to the Wildest Ride in the Tiny Wilderness.

A glance at the second lift hill.

The main loading station.
Well, I certainly haven't become rich enough to afford my dream house with said miniatures room, and I've come to realize the exhaustive time and detail required to create these--time that I certainly don't have.  But I admire them more than ever, and being able to walk around one of these whenever I want is just so absolutely cool!  Hence, I very much appreciate this "hidden" gem within the Disneyland Hotel.

The dapper style of the models reflects the mid-century ambiance, when people still go dressed up to go to Disneyland.

Guests enjoy the train on its climactic turn near the end of the ride.

A macro shot of the infamous dynamite-chewing goat.
It still sort of surprises me how many of many friends--many of them Disney fans--don't really know about this.  So maybe I'm letting cat out of the bag, but frankly, I want everyone to appreciate this creation. So next time you're near Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, walk over a little further and check this model out!

A bronze plaque explains the model's significance.


  1. I'm going to have to check this out next time I'm at the parks. I enjoy miniatures, especially the one of vintage disneyland in the lobby of Lincoln.

    1. This one is definitely really cool, and I like it better than the Disneyland map because you get closer, and there's more detail.


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