Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is nearing the end of its 5 month refurbishment, and today it soft opened for a couple of hours - a few days ahead of its official Monday May 28 2012 reopening. There may be additional limited soft openings before Monday, but as always, nothing is guaranteed.
So what was done in this refurbishment? First up, nearly everything has been repainted and restored to proper show condition. The mountain exterior and all the woodwork of the queue and station look great. We know from the construction photos that pretty much all the woodwork was rebuilt, track work was done, as was rock work on the exterior. Geysers are now working again at the exit, complete with sound effects, and all of the water features on the front of the station and mountain are also back in operation.
Unfortunately, the moving rock-scene inside the mine was still not operational, but as this is still in soft opening there is still the possibility that it was simply not activated today. The waterfall at the top of the first lift hill was also not in operation today.
The loading area now features air conditioning for the first time, a welcome relief for guests and cast! There appeared to be duct work in the upstairs queue area, but today there was no cooling in the queue, so it remains to be seen if AC will be introduced throughout the queue. The queue itself is still open, and has not been enclosed.
The route that the queue takes has been reconfigured, with the FASTPASS and Standby lines switching position, and the switchbacks inside reworked. There were no interactive queue elements in operation today, but there are some boxes around that look suspiciously like they may do something, so we'll see what happens there in the future.
We have a complete walk through of the queue and then a ride onboard, so if you are curious to see the newly refurbished Big Thunder Mountain, head to the video below. There are also some photos of the beautifully resorted exterior below the video.
Big Thunder Mountain is currently set to reopen on Monday May 28 2012.