Big Thunder Mine at Walt Disney World

The Big Thunder Mine serves at the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Read all about it at Burnsland!

The Big Thunder Mine serves at the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

I have always enjoyed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad since my first ride on the roller coaster way back in 1983. Yes, that’s a long time ago. Little did I know back then that the ride had only been open for 3 years. Since the whole park was new to me, I didn’t really know back then what was actually new and what had been there for a while. But I knew that I liked it, and that was enough for me.

While it may be “the wildest ride in the wilderness,” as Dallas McKennon says just before your runaway mine train starts to run away, it actually isn’t all that wild when compared to many roller coasters these days. There are no loops taking you upside down, and the top speed is under 30 miles per hour. But to me it is every bit as fun as those bigger, faster, newer rides at other theme parks. After all, most of those don’t go through a real desert. And don’t tell me it isn’t real, because I don’t want to know.

It is funny to me that these days we think everything does have to be bigger than before, and faster than before, and newer than everything else in order to be good. Don’t believe me? Just check out most every theme park’s advertising campaigns to see what they are promoting. But for me, sometimes faster isn’t always better, because if you go too fast you don’t have time to see what is around you. Maybe that’s why those newer roller coasters at the other parks don’t have anything much to see anyway, because you don’t have time to see it. And bigger isn’t necessarily better, either. I don’t have a problem with heights, but I also don’t think you have to go up 150 feet in the air to have a good experience. And newer isn’t necessarily better, too. Yes, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was cool when it was new, but it is still cool now, even though it is over 35 years old.

So the new stuff is often nice, but the old stuff is pretty good, too. Just like us people who are getting older and aren’t the younger, newer ones. We aren’t all that bad either, are we? I hope not.

Bonus photo! Speaking of older people, here is a photo of Dallas McKennon, mentioned above as the voice you hear in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad saying the famous “wildest ride in the wilderness” line.


That’s him on the left, and a much younger me on the right, by the way. You can also hear him as Benjamin Franklin in the American Adventure at Epcot, as Gumby on TV, and in several other movies and television shows.

“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” - Leviticus 19:32

About the photo:

To me, this photo just called out for a vintage treatment. I resisted at first, because I wanted to make it look good using some of my more traditional processing techniques, but I just couldn’t get it to where I was happy with it. So then I switched to this vintage look, and it was perfect. Perfect for me, at least.

Here is the before and after look, which is becoming somewhat standard around here lately. Just pulling back the curtain on some of the magic, to let you see what all you can do with photos these days.

Big Thunder Mine-beforeafter-600

Until I ruined it here, it almost looked like an actual old photograph, didn’t it? Sorry to spoil it for you.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus M.Zukio 25mm f1.8

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.