It's January 20, 1980. Let's hop aboard the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat to see the the construction of Walt Disney World's latest E-Ticket attraction.
Wait a minute... TWO Riverboats?? Yes.
Look! A totem pole.
These wonderful photo were taken by Dan Hiller aboard the Riverboat in 1980. The attraction opened ten months later. Disneyland's Big Thunder opened 14 months prior to Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder.
We often hear that the track layout of the Magic Kingdom Big thunder is almost a mirror image of the Disneyland Big Thunder. How true is this? Below we see both mountains side-by-side. The Magic Kingdom layout is, indeed, almost a mirror image, but with bit of added track.
Here we see the Magic Kingdom version flipped horizontally and placed over the Disneyland version.
Big Thunder Mountain history goes way back and is extremely interesting. From Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland to Marc Davis to Thunder Mesa and Western River Expedition to Tony Baxter and everything since.
Thank you, Dan, for talking these photos back when few people thought of photographing theme park construction.
If anyone else would like to share their old photos of the Disney theme parks, share them with us via our PHOTO HUNT.