Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain was inspired by Thunder Mesa, a themed area that was to be the home of three rides at Walt Disney World in Florida.  But after Disney World opened, many guests were disappointed by the lack of a Pirates of the Caribbean ride like the one at Disneyland in California.  So Disney built Pirates instead of Thunder Mesa, and the 'runaway mine train' idea was instead used for Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland.  Big Thunder Mountain replaced the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland that operated at Disneyland from 1960 to 1979.  

Similar Big Thunder Mountain coasters opened at Disney World in 1980, Tokyo Disney in 1987, and Disneyland Paris in 1992.  

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©2010 Joel A. Rogers.