One ride that is consistent across all Disney Theme Parks is Big Thunder Mountain, a rollercoaster that takes guests around the titular Thunder Mesa mountain in a runaway mine train. The ride is the focal point of Frontierland and in the Paris park is part of a narrative that runs includes the paddle steamer the Molly Brown and the Phantom Manor (the Haunted Mansion across the pond). The ride is a runaway mine train that tours Big Thunder Mountain, its mines and infrastructure at break neck speed.
Inversions and thrills are sacrificed on the alter of theming, fun and accessibility, this is a ride for everyone with twists, turns and near misses around the mountain creating a sense of acceleration, velocity and peril far beyond the ride’s 28mph maximum speed. One of the key features of the mountain is that it is surrounded by water meaning that having boarded in frontier land, the ride starts and ends with a dark trip under the water. This really adds to the sense of immersion as the ride itself is far away from the queue and park goers. In The Disney+ series The Imagineering Story (episode 5) legendary imaginer Tony Baxter said that the Paris Big Thunder was his favourite and that they’d been able to really refine the ride right up until the end.
The preshow is littered with wild west and mining theming with voiceovers telling you to prepare for the “wildest ride in the wilderness” as you leave the loading area. The ride also features fast pass, when in operation, and includes a photo opportunity as you descend a double dip hill. The seats and lap restraint are comfortable, and the ride is suitable for the whole family. The only small negative I would point out is that there can be some very loud noises in the tunnels that may scare younger children, but as long as they are screaming themselves, they wont notice.
Big Thunder always has a big queue and the sweet spot for this ride is either during extra magic time, for a pro tip if you grab a fast pass just as extra magic time ends you will beat most of the people in the queue that has built up during extra magic time and the ride will be a walk on. It is not be the fanciest ride, it does not utilise some brand new technology and it does not have a billion dollar IP to support it, and yet it remains a consistent favourite for park goers. – its unmissable