Review: Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is can't miss

Thunder Mountain railroad. Image courtesy Brian Miller
Thunder Mountain railroad. Image courtesy Brian Miller /

There are only a few quality rollercoasters at Magic Kingdom. Is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad one of them?

BTMR is a fun attraction that borders on the "can't miss" list of attractions at Disney World parks. Ride wait times can stretch beyond the hour mark, but even on the busiest days, they rarely exceed 90 minutes.

There isn't much shade in the stand-by lane, and that brings the experience down slightly, but once indoors and the sun isn't beating down upon you, it gets better. The line includes several interactive elements that guests can do while waiting, and there are great views of the water and the train. The only downside to the line is that you get to see how disrespectful guests can be.

The area around the stand-by lines can be dirty, especially where the rails drop into pools of water below the line itself. It's one thing and almost expected to see coins in the pools, but guests also throw hairbands, gum, trash, bottles, and whatever else they can toss out of the line—all this despite the garbage cans around the weaving turns.

Once on the ride, it's not an incredibly comfortable train car, but it is not as bad as Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. The only part about the ride itself is the train engine is in the front of the cars and that does not allow a clear view from the first car, in fact, it blocks the view. It isn't horrible because you can see through the engine car but it isn't like riding in the front row of other attractions.

Overall, the speed is nice and has some great shifts in speed that slow you down and then speed back up again. I like the fact that when it feels as though your ride is over, it's not and there is still more of it to come. The ride feels a lot longer than it actually is and that is a huge bonus one the "enjoyment" meter.

My kids love this attraction all the way from my 5-year old who is not discovering rollercoasters to my teenage children as well. It's a bit bumpy but not horrible and the ambience of the ride fits perfectly with Frontierland's spirit.

If you like rollercoasters, this will not meet you with the thrills of say Guardians of the Galaxy or Space Mountain, but given it being an outdoor coaster it is quite fun and one most coaster enthusiasts will enjoy.

Star rating: Our ratings are based on whether or not this should be on your list of must-do attractions and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a solid 4.