Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Close for Refurbishment at Magic Kingdom

Eric Morton

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Close for Refurbishment at Magic Kingdom

Fans of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad may want to check their vacation calendars, as the Magic Kingdom attraction will be closing on January 16th, 2024 for a short refurbishment, reopening to guests on January 21st, 2024. No major changes are expected for the popular roller coaster, which opened over 43 years ago in 1980.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Refurbishment

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the distance across the Rivers of America

The Walt Disney World website lists no hours for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad from January 16 – January 20. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was closed in January of 2023 for a small refurbishment window as well, and when it reopened, there were no major changes.

With fewer guests during the cooler January months, and following a busy holiday season, it’s generally a busy time for workers doing maintenance and refurbishment before attendance picks up again.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a Frontierland (or Westernland) attraction at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. The original version opened at Disneyland in 1979. At the two international parks, the attraction is just known as Big Thunder Mountain. It was conceived by Imagineer Tony Baxter.

Though the names of the fictional mining towns vary, the backstory of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad generally includes people discovering gold on Big Thunder Mountain, the area becoming a booming mining town featuring mine trains, followed by a natural tragedy (an earthquake, tsunami, or flash flood) that led to the town being abandoned. The trains, however, continued to run on their own, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was established for visitors to ride them.

The original Disneyland version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was based on hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, while the rest were based on buttes of Arizona and Monument Valley. The Disneyland version also features references to Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, the less thrilling train attraction that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad replaced.

Are you excited to revisit Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Eric Morton

    Eric's unique blend of Marine Corps discipline, humor, and storytelling talent make him a versatile member WDWNT team. A member of our leadership team, he occasionally contributes as a writer, and can more often be found contributing to WDWNT's YouTube content. He hosts Boxed In and is a member of the WDW News Tonight cast.