Thunder Mesa: Never Built Magic Kingdom

Never Built Magic Kingdom

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad From Tom Sawyer Island Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Initially, the Magic Kingdom was intended to feature a much more elaborate than it ended up being. The main project that never came to be for this land would have been a mini area including multiple rides called Thunder Mesa.

Slated to be located in roughly the present-day location of both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and designed primarily by Imagineer Marc Davis, this area would have included two different attractions located in one massive plateau-themed building.

The intention was to include both a water-based dark ride and a mine train-themed roller coaster within the same building, existing in an interconnected manner.

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Entrance Adventureland Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Thunder Mesa would never be built when it was decided to build Pirates of the Caribbean in Walt Disney World.

While the plaza itself would never be built, its two rides would become the inspiration for various Disney attractions in the decades that followed.

Over the next few weeks, we will explore the two proposed rides for this expansion, the Western River Expedition and a mine train-themed roller coaster that eventually became Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, as well as the impact of the project on Disney rides past and present.