Discovery Bay and Big Thunder Mountain: Never Built Disneyland

Never Built Disneyland

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad From Station Disneyland

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad may be a popular attraction in Frontierland, but it played a major role in the development of a never built land planned to be located right next door to it at Disneyland, Discovery Bay.

Both Big Thunder Mountain and Discovery Bay were from the mind of Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, and they were supposed to be a part of a united storyline.

The idea was that the an early miner of Big Thunder Mountain during the gold rush from before the mine became abandonded (the state it is during the timeframe of the ride) used the money from the gold mine to fund a steampunk style sci fi city nearby the mine.

The man behind this was Jason Chandler, who was an inventor himself, contributing to the experienental nature of the land.

Given the cancelation of Discovery Bay, the incorperation of this storyline into the attraction itself was limited, although recently elements have begun making appearances in the versions of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

The Magic Kingdom version of the attraction has reincorperated Jason Chandler into the backstory, although now instead of a connection being made to Discovery Bay, he is now connected to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. He is seen also to be hesitant to mine the mountain in this version as part of the SEA.

Big Thunder Mountain Red Stagecoach Disneyland

In Disneyland as part of Galaxy's Edge being added to the plot of land once planned for Discovery Bay, a tribute was added to this part of the lore of the land in the form of a reference to Chandler on a red stagecoach.

This is one of the few elements of Discovery Bay to make it into the park directly, even though it took decades after the land was canceled. It is a great tribute to this lost part of Disneyland history that one of its characters found a way into the parks in a way close to what was originally intended.

Be sure to come back for the next few weeks as we explore more of Discovey Bay and its attractions, including next week when we look into a fireworks themed attraction from the land. Also be sure to check out the rest of Never Built Disneyland including the first part of our exploration of Discovery Bay here.