September 2, 1979 - Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Opens

Frontierland's indoor/outdoor thrill ride staple designed by Imagineer Tony Baxter was based on Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
Disneyland's version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad replaced the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland, yet several tributes to the predecessor and Rainbow Ridge are present, including a scaled-down western town adjacent to the queuing lines and tracks returning to station, and a western saloon, hotel, assayer's office and mercantile appear among the buildings. Many of the animal animatronics throughout the attraction are animatronic animals from the previous attraction, as well as the Rainbow Caverns (glowing pools of water by the first lift hill) and the precariously balanced rocks in the third lift hill. The out-of-control train that travels a swift 28 mph was originally planned for earlier in the 1970's; however, resources and focus needed to be diverted to complete Space Mountain. Ultimately, that delay made it possible to utilize more modern track technology and a smoother ride experience. Most recently, the attraction reopened on March 17, 2014 after a major refurbishment, which included new explosive effects technology and a track overhaul.

September 12, 1986 - Disneyland's Captain EO Premieres
Captain EO is regarded as one of the first "4D" films (4D being the name given to a 3D film that incorporates in-theater effects, such as lasers, smoke, etc., synchronized to the film narrative). Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film - at the time - was the most expensive ever produced on a per-minute basis, averaging $1.76 million per minute. The 17-minute production was shown at Disney theme parks from 1986 through 1997. The attraction returned in 2010, as a tribute after Jackson's death. The film tells the story of Captain EO (Michael Jackson) and the ragtag crew of his spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to "The Supreme Leader" (Anjelica Huston), who lives on a world of rotting, twisted metal and steaming vents. Captain EO's alien crew consists of his small flying sidekick Fuzzball, the double-headed navigator and pilot Idey and Ody, robotic security officer Major Domo, a small robot, Minor Domo (who fits like a module into Major Domo), and the clumsy elephant-like shipmate Hooter who always manages to upset the crew's missions.

September 9, 2001 - Disneyland's Country Bear Jamboree Closes
The Country Bear Jamboree was originally intended by Walt to be placed at Disney's Mineral King Ski Resort which he was trying to build in the mid 1960s. He knew he wanted a production to provide entertainment to the guests at the resort, and also had intentions for the show to feature a "bear band" attraction. After the failure of Mineral King and Walt's passing, the focus then shifted back to the theme parks. When the Country Bear Jamboree premiered in Disneyland on March, 1972, the cast of 18 audio-animatronic bears rose up to the stage on platforms, descend from the ceiling, and appear from behind curtains. The audience include not only the visitors in the seats, but audio-animatronic animal heads mounted on the walls (Buff, Max & Melvin) who interact with Henry and his furry friends on stage. The attraction closed at Disneyland on September 9, 2001, to make room for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on April 11, 2003.


See More Disney History in our Interactive Disney Timeline:

Decade:  1920  1930  1940  1950  1960  1970  1980  1990  2000  2010