Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland

July 1956 - September 1979

In 1956, a little train began taking guests for a tour of the Frontierland "wilderness." Strange rocks, cactus that seemed to have human form, and other bizarre artificial artifacts were seen and spoken about by the old miner who was the train's engineer. The train also passed through the Rainbow Caverns -- a beautiful area of glowing waterfalls and bioluminescent pools opened to guests after it was determined that there was no significant danger to guests from the radiation producing the glorious light show.

The train's route was lengthened in 1960, and the attraction renamed the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. This updated attraction took guests past hundreds of animals engaged in strangely repetitious actions. Beavers worked on a dam, bears scratched themselves against trees, and a big snake swallowed a whole puma. There were also new natural wonders to see, such as Old Unfaithful geyser, a gigantic waterfall pouring off of Cascade Peak, and the Devil's Paint Pots -- actual boiling mud used as actual paint by the actual devil.

Bones of some ancient animalOver the years, technological improvements were made to the train, giving it the ability to move much more quickly, but making it difficult for riders to take in the wonders they were passing. Soon, the ten-minute ride was taking two-and-a-half minutes to complete, and the show's narration had been sped up so much that it sounded like it was being read by Mickey Mouse. This led Imagineers to close the attraction briefly, set most of the animals free, rework the track a bit, and reopen it in September of 1979 as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Much of the ride's previous incarnation still exists, however. For example, the quaint little town of Rainbow Ridge still sits near the train's loading area, and many of the rocks are the same color they always were. Unfortunately, the waterfall over Cascade Peak proved to be a little too powerful for its own good -- over the course of time, the falls eroded the mountain until, by the summer of 1988, the Peak had been worn down to almost nothing.

Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland Spiel

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