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Accessible Attractions | Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

August 9, 2016

Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of the attractions at the Magic Kingdom that wheelchair users use an alternate entrance. The attraction also has an accessible ride vehicle to make transferring easier. Check out the details below to see if the wildest ride in the wilderness is for you.

Walt Disney World


The Basics

Location: Frontierland
Height Requirement: Guests must be 40in (102cm) or taller
Accessibility: Must Transfer from Wheelchair/ECV
FastPass+: Available
Who Should Ride: Anyone who loves thrill rides.


Queue

Big Thunder Mountain Wheelchair Access

The wheelchair queue is to the right of the standard queue next to one of the exits. There is a defined waiting area with a sign.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Since there is an alternate entrance, the Disability Access Service Card comes into play. If wheelchair access is the only accommodation you need you don’t need to get the card. However, at attractions with an alternate entrance you may be given a time to return depending on the current wait time.

After you wait outside you are taken to another waiting area inside. There is a gate and a wall for that area to keep you separate from guests who are exiting the attraction.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

One thing that I would like to point out is that wait times can vary greatly depending on how many people are in the alternate queue even if you get a return time. I’ve waited less than the posted wait time but more often than not the wait is longer. Also, you may have to wait a short time for the transfer access vehicle if you need it.  You may want to ride early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid a long wait.


Ride Vehicle

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features trains with accessible cars that are located on the back of the train. The side folds down to make it easier to get into the ride vehicle. A Cast Member will then move your wheelchair for you and then bring it back to once the ride is over.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Getting in is pretty easy but getting back out has always been a little more of a challenge for me. The way the side folds down, when you get back out you have to lift yourself up onto it and then from there get back into your wheelchair.One tip I have is to mind the gap. There is a small space between the loading area and the train. It can be easy to get one of your front wheels stuck in it.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Also keep in mind that the entrance and the exit to the train are in the same area. When you are exiting there are guests waiting to get onto the train. At first in may not be apparent that you are waiting for your wheelchair. Just remember that it is okay for you to take your time. The Cast Members have always been great and I’ve never felt any pressure to hurry.


Disneyland

The Basics

Location: Frontierland
Height Requirement: Guests must be 40in (102cm) or taller
Accessibility: Must Transfer from Wheelchair/ECV
FastPass: Available
Who Should Ride: Anyone who loves thrill rides.


Big Thunder Mountain Disneyland

Experiencing Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland is very similar to Walt Disney World. You enter through the exit. If you have a FastPass they will honor your return time. If you don’t, you will be issued a return time using the DAS. So make sure to get a FastPass or ride early in the morning to minimize your wait time.

Once it’s time for you to ride you enter through the exit. Make sure to stay to the left. It will make it a little easier since you will be going past people exiting the ride. We rode at night so I had Drew walk ahead of me so he could clear the way. You’ll get to another rope where a Cast Member will ask how many people are in your party. Make sure to tell them you’ll need the wheelchair access vehicle if you need it. Your wheelchair will stay at the loading platform but the train may come back to a different loading area. Don’t worry. After the ride is over you will meet your wheelchair back at the platform.


Overall

Accessible Attractions | Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of my favorite attractions. I laugh like a little kid every time and it will always be special to me. The accessible ride vehicles make the transfer process a lot easier. While it is not the tamest coaster is also not the craziest so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Accessible Attractions | Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Rolling with the Magic

  • DisneyonWheels
    August 15, 2012 at 1:12 am

    haha Thanks! Space Mountain at Walt Disney World doesn’t have anything special but from what I’ve read Disneyland is easier. I think I need to go there to try it out. 🙂

  • Capturing Magical Memories
    August 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    First of all, good to see you in one of the pics!! You look wonderful. And second, love that you laugh like a kid. Make me feel better about giggling through Space Mountain. Does Space Mountain have wheel chair access?