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America's wild west and frontier traditions come to life here in Frontierland,
home to two of the Magic Kingdom's popular "mountain" attractions. Themes are
borrowed from a range as wide as the untamed continent North America once was,
placing Mark Twain's Missouri side by side with Joel Chandler Harris' Deep South and
Gold Rush California.
The most obvious thing about this must see
attraction is the 40 mph, 45-degree, 50 foot drop
which climaxes the ride -- you can't miss seeing and hearing the boats make a splash in the
briar patch at the foot of the mountain as you approach. Yet Splash Mountain is much more
than a typical log flume -- it's an elaborate trip through Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus
as adapted by Disney for the 1946 feature film Song of the South. So don't let the
drop put you off of one of the Magic Kingdom's most engaging rides -- it'll be over before you
As your boat makes its way through swamp and bayou, a large cast of audio-animatronic
the stories of Brer Rabbit's captures and escapes from the tenacious yet not overly bright
Brer Fox and Brer Bear. Songs from the film make for a happy soundtrack, including the
Academy Award winning "Zip a Dee Doo Dah". It helps a little if you're familiar with the
stories, but the action of Brer Rabbit outwitting his would-be captors is easy enough to
And then comes the drop, symbolic of Brer Rabbit being thrown down into the Briar Patch.
first time visitors get so worked up over the eventual drop that they often can't enjoy the
ride, since they're worried that it may come at any moment. Well, relax. When the big one
comes YOU WILL KNOW IT. There will be no mistaking the build-up, the warnings, and the
But then, once they've done it, most people are ready to turn right around and go again.
You will get wet, however, moreso the closer to the front of the boat you are, so it doesn't hurt
to plan ahead. Bring a plastic bag big enough to cover your purse, camera, wallet, or whatever
you want to stay dry. Some people even wear rain ponchos -- although getting wet can actually
be a plus on a hot summer day.
A photo of your doomed expression at the top of the drop is available in the gift shop at the
exit -- just get the number of your photo from the video monitors you'll pass on the
way out. (You must be at least 40 inches tall to ride).
Walt Disney World Railroad
From the Frontierland Station
you can ride to
Mickey's Toontown Fair or Main Street, U.S.A. on a real steam powered train.
If you wind up in Frontierland at the end of the day and can't face the
walk back to exit the park, just take the train. You won't be the only one to get this
idea however, so be aware that this station can get rather busy at times.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Mine train themed roller
a stock fixture at most theme parks, but leave it to Disney to have one
of the best. As a roller coaster it is pretty tame, at least compared to
Busch Garden's Montu or Cedar Point's Magnum XL-200, but it still packs
a thrill as a ride most of the family can enjoy together. The emphasis
is on high speed turns and scenery, not big drops. Along the way you
pass through an earthquake and a flooded town with its too successful
rainmaker still in residence -- keep an eye out for some of the great
details the Imagineers have built in, but it may take several trips to
catch it all, especially at those speeds.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of the Magic Kingdom's most popular
attractions so lines tend to get long in the early morning and stay
that way, especially since it's right next door to Splash Mountain,
another crowd magnet. Try to ride in the early mornings or save it for
late evenings -- some of the effects are better in the dark, anyway.
(You must be at least 40 inches tall to ride).
Tom Sawyer Island
A short ride by raft is the only access to
this calming oasis in the
middle of the Rivers of America. There are paths to walk, a fort to defend, a barrel bridge to
cross, and dark (and sometimes smelly) caves to explore. It's a great place to head when Junior gets fidgety from too much standing in
line. It closes at dusk. The Tom
Sawyer Island Appreciation Page is a loving tribute
from a former raft pilot.
Frontierland Shootin' Arcade
It used to be, in a shooting
shot something, it fell down. Not in this high-tech version -- you never
know what one of these targets is going to do when "shot" by one of these
converted buffalo rifles. Extra charge.
Country Bear Jamboree
A happy cast of audio-animatronic
bears sing and whoop it up in this
theater presentation that mixes music with corny, down home humor. Shows are subject to
change from time to time, but all feature your emcee Henry and the character who's now
so popular he even has his own store: Big Al, who's deadpan Tex Ritter style always brings
down the house. The theater has a fairly large capacity, and the show doesn't seem to be as
popular as it once was, so it's a good bet for the afternoon when the crowds descend and
off your feet in an air-conditioned theater starts to sound like a real good idea.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. This sprawling counter service restaurant
takes up a
good chunk of Frontierland real estate and is the major place to grab
traditional fast food burgers and hot dogs on this side of the park. It's a
hard spot to miss, especially as the Country Bear Jamboree literally empties
right into it (note the stuffed heads on the wall here, Max, Buff and Melvin,
continue animating beyond the end of the show.) Seating is both indoors and
outdoors on the southwestern inspired patio, where you can hear the happy
screams and splashes from Splash Mountain next door.
Westward Ho Refreshments is a walk-up stand with smoked turkey legs, drinks, and other snacks.
Frontierland Fries, with the familiar
Golden Arches, sells McDonald's
french fries, in case you didn't get enough of them outside the park and want to pay higher prices for them here.
Get your western themed knick-nacks at
Big Al's, the Frontier Trading Post (pin trading, that is) and Prairie
Outpost and Supply (also offers candy and drinks in the "General Store" signed section).
Song of the South and other character merchandise is available at
The Briar Patch by Splash Mountain.
As you stroll back from Big Thunder Mountain, around the Rivers of America, a subtle
happens. Adobe and tile gives way to the roughhewn woods of the northwest frontier, which
the finished plank style of more settled lands. We are moving eastward, and, at the
same time, back in time, in styles and theme, until the Liberty Tree stands
ahead and suddenly we have reached Liberty Square, and the American colonial period.
Frontierland is between Liberty Square and Adventureland, and also connects to Main Street USA.