Magical Blogorail: Disney Ride Secrets – Big Thunder Mountain

Every ride has a ‘sweet spot’ where everyone wants to sit. Especially roller coasters! Where should you sit on Big Thunder Mountain? And what other secrets does this attraction hold?

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing some of the secrets you’ll find while enjoying Disney attractions.


So what isn’t a secret about this iconic Walt Disney World attraction? The official site says: “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a speedy rollercoaster-type attraction designed with your entire family in mind. However, some parts of this attraction are bumpy and, in some instances, take place in the dark.”

Obviously, this isn’t the fastest or wildest ride in the Magic Kingdom. But what it lacks in thrills it more than makes up for in fun and theming. However, if you want the biggest possible thrill on the Big Thunder Mountain railway, here is how to get it:

TIP: Don’t Sit Up Front

When I rode this attraction for the first time, I assumed that the best place to ride would be directly behind the ‘engine’. But when I asked the loading Cast Member if we could ride up front, he told me that if I wanted to really feel the drops, I needed to ride in the back. He directed us there and… he was right!

Why? On the main drop, the coaster train slows, and the front starts down the drop before the cars are released. So the first two cars don’t experience the full length of the drop. But the last car, still slightly behind the crest of the hill when the drop begins, gets the full effect!

So whereby with other coasters the front cars are the best, with Big Thunder Mountain, it’s the rear that gives the best ride!

But there is one more tip I can share to help you get the most out of this attraction. As mentioned earlier, Big Thunder Mountain is heavily themed, so you will want to see everything. But how can you do that whilst whizzing around the track? You can’t. Therefore…

TIP: Ride Other Attractions

The picture above was taken from the Liberty Belle Riverboat while plying the Rivers of America. This allows you a leisurely look at the majestic spires of the mountain.

You can also watch the ride vehicles go by and listen to the screams of the riders.

You can also see the mountain from the other side if you take a ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad:

You will have less time to see things from this perspective as the train moves a little faster than its lake-going counterpart. But most of the small details are on this side, so be sure to sit of the right side of the train cars for the best views and photo opportunities.

I’ll let you discover the rest of the secrets on your own when you ride Big Thunder Mountain for yourself!

For more Disney ride secrets,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Magical Blogorail: Lands of The Magic Kingdom – Liberty Square

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking a tour of the Lands at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park.


You have arrived at Walt Disney World! Now, where do you start? Most will recommend that you begin your visit at The Magic Kingdom. If you’ve followed this loop in order, you will know that there are many Lands in this particular park. I hope to show you why the smallest of them is still worth your time!

I am concluding the tour of the Lands of The Magic Kingdom with:

LIBERTY SQUARE

View from the Liberty Belle riverboat

“From this Gateway stirs a new nation waiting to be born. Thirteen separate colonies have banded together to declare their independence from the bonds of tyranny. It is a time when silversmiths put away their tools and march to the drums of a revolution, a time for gentlemen planters to leave their farms and become generals, a time when tradesmen leave the safety of home to become heroes. Welcome to Liberty Square!
―Entrance Plaque

This Land was adapted from a Disneyland concept called Liberty Street, which would have extended from Main Street USA. Themed after colonial America, replicas of both the Liberty Bell and the Liberty Tree can be seen here. Two very popular attractions are also found here, namely The Haunted Mansion and The Hall of Presidents. You can also find the beautiful Liberty Belle steamboat.

Many beautiful sights can be enjoyed from her deck:

Liberty Belle

The following thumbnails will attest to this fact:

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Below you can see The Liberty Belle coming and going:

Rivers of America    

You can even find references to old live-action movies, like Wilson’s Cave Inn from the Davy Crockett adventures where he met Mike Fink. Mike Fink’s Keel Boats ran on the same waters as the Liberty Belle from 1971 to 1997.

Views 9

And some good-natured fun can be had in the stockades! Although, I doubt prisoners found them much fun back in the day!

Here are some Fun Facts about Liberty Square:

  • Find the replica of the House of Burgesses and look upstairs in the window to find Paul Revere’s lanterns signifying “Two if by sea”.
  • The Liberty Tree is an actual 100-year-old oak found on the property and transplanted, with a younger oak grafted into the base.
  • The Liberty Bell replica was cast from the mold of the actual Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. It is the only bell ever cast from these molds.
  • The Liberty Bell was placed in Liberty Square in 1987 to commemorate the U.S. Constitution’s bicentennial.
  • There are architectural representations of each of the original Thirteen Colonies.
  • The state flags of each of the original 13 states, as well as the American flag, fly in a plaza in the center of Liberty Square.

There are three restaurants to choose from: Columbia Harbour House, Sleepy Hollow, and the Liberty Tree Tavern. Shopping opportunities are slim!

So if you like history and want a smattering of it during your next vacation, be sure to take in the atmosphere and edutainment of Liberty Square!

For more tours of the lands of the Magic Kingdom, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Lands of the Magic Kingdom Loop:

Liberty Square Riverboat

50 Days: Liberty Square Riverboat

Liberty Square Riverboat

The Liberty Belle is the name of the vessel that is the Liberty Square Riverboat!

Hello everyone, and welcome to #Day50 of our #DisneyWorldCountdown!  Can you believe that we have already counted down halfway through our list of 100 things to do at Disney World?  It’s crazy how fast time flies, and before I know it, we’ll be on the road to Florida!

Today we are taking a look at an attraction known as the Liberty Square Riverboat, which features the Liberty Belle, named after Walt Disney’s wife Lillian, as the vessel that will take you around the Rivers of America on your journey.  This is a fun, relaxing, “take me back in time” type of attraction, one that you can get on, look around the ship, see some parts of Walt Disney World that you don’t normally see, and just relax for a while.  After a long day of going all throughout the parks, there are certainly times when this attraction is the perfect respite to ease your tired feet!

In addition to the daytime operation of the Liberty Belle, you can also appreciate the Liberty Belle after dark when you are watching Wishes.  As you probably know, the Liberty Belle stops running in the evening in order to prepare for the famous fireworks show.  However, the string lights are still lit, and it can be fun to get a tranquil look at Liberty Square and the Liberty Square Riverboat after hours too!  Just check out this photo I took some years back.

Liberty Square Riverboat

For a unique perspective on Wishes, take some pictures from over in Liberty Square!

One night a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about the Liberty Belle and how cool it would be to be able to take a ride on it after dark.  That got my imagination going, and I started thinking, wouldn’t it be neat if the Imagineers made some sort of special run of the Liberty Belle — perhaps during one of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party — and operate the Liberty Belle as a special “Ghost” ride?  I think it would be quite the setting for an evening of fun — who knows, maybe they could even turn it into a special dinner show type event.  I know I’m rambling a bit, but those sorts of ideas excite me.  What do you think about them?

Do you and your family enjoy the Liberty Square Riverboat, or do you pass it on by?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

Relaxing the Disney Way: Tom Sawyer Island

Harper's Mill - Tom Sawyer Island

Harper’s Mill on Tom Sawyer Island takes you back to a bygone day and time!

Hello everyone!  It’s February 17th, 2014, and much of the country has been stuck in the deep throws of a brutally harsh winter.  So harsh, in fact, that it makes us all wonder what the spring and summer will be like.  My daughter’s school system has even lost 7 days of school — which is not many for some of you, but for Raleigh, NC, that’s a ton!

In any event, last night I thought of a post that might help us all out with the stresses that the weather can bring.  I thought, what better way to relax than by relaxing the Disney way!  To start us off, let’s take a stroll around Tom Sawyer Island, located in the middle of the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom.

Tom Sawyer Island has a lot to do!

Tom Sawyer Island has a lot to do!

Don't forget to check out the fort!  (They even have restrooms for the adults!)

Don’t forget to check out the fort! (They even have restrooms for the adults!)

There are a lot of things you and your kids can do on Tom Sawyer Island.  For starters, you can check out Harper’s Mill, which pays tribute to one of Disney’s earliest animated films, The Old Mill.  In addition to Harper’s Mill, check out some of these other great points of interest:

  • Injun Joe’s Cave — one of my favorite parts of the whole island — and on a hot day, a great way to cool off!
  • Fort Langhorn — as you can see, Fort Langhorn is located somewhat apart from the rest, so look at it last, I recommend!
  • Potter’s Mill
  • Tom Sawyer Scavage Fort

When it comes to Tom Sawyer Island, I think this is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a busy Disney Day, and just slow down and take the road less travelled.  Obviously, Tom Sawyer Island is a great stop for families with young kids, but even for those that have kids (or no kids) and have outgrown it, it can be a great place to bring a picnic lunch and just chill and watch the Liberty Belle pass by.

Here’s a few pictures from our days exploring the island.

The only way to get to the island is by way of raft from the "mainland".

The only way to get to the island is by way of raft from the “mainland”

This is the bridge that leads to Fort Langhorn.

This is the bridge that leads to Fort Langhorn.

This is my niece Stephanie enjoying the Barrel Bridge!

This is my niece Stephanie enjoying the Barrel Bridge!

What do you think about Tom Sawyer Island?  Is it a great way to relax at Disney?  Or do you just not bother about relaxing at Disney?  Let us know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!