Frontierland at Magic Kingdom

Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom [© CC BY-NC 2.0 William Beem https://www.flickr.com/photos/wbeem/]
Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom [© CC BY-NC 2.0 William Beem https://www.flickr.com/photos/wbeem/]

As its name suggests, the theme of Frontierland is the old wild west and the pioneer days. The cast members are dressed as cowboys and girls and the buildings have a Southwestern rustic look to them with wooden sidewalks and clapperboard frontages.

Frontierland is home to two of the three ‘mountain rides’, namely Splash Mountain and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and both have a height restrictions of 40" (102 cm) or taller

After the lush vegetation of Adventureland, Frontierland is more desert like with cactus, yucca, prickly pear and mesquite trees.

Splash Mountain (FastPass available)

Splash Mountain is a 10 minute log flume ride based around the tale of Brer Rabbit’s escape from Brer Fox and Brer Bear and is one of the most popular rides in the Magic Kingdom so expect long queues.

It will appeal to kids of all ages as you travel in a log boat through a number of scenes including caves, swamps and bayous as you are regaled by numerous AudioAnimatronic animals singing songs at every opportunity including the unforgettable ‘Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da’.

There are a number of small drops but the ‘high spot’ of the ride is a 5 storey plunge down a 45 degree water slide where you reach a speed of 40 mph and you will get wet no matter where you sit thanks to extra water jets aimed at you. Just before the log boat starts its descent, look up to take in a breathtaking view of the park.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FastPass available)

By modern standards this is a pretty tame roller coaster but in true Disney style it is still great fun. You are in a runaway mine train that careers out of control through an old mining village full of special effects such as falling rocks, waterfalls, geysers and an earthquake.

During the 3 and 1/2 minute ride look out for dinosaur bones sticking out of the rocks and the various Animatronic characters and critters such as chickens and donkeys alongside the tracks. This ride is more about the scenery than an out and out white knuckle ride but if you’ve never been on a roller coaster before then this is a great introduction before you think about tackling Space Mountain or some of the much bigger coasters in Florida.

Tom Sawyer Island

If you are looking for an opportunity to get away from all the thrill rides for a while why not take a raft ride across the Rivers of America to the dock at Tom’s Landing.

Here you can explore Injun Joe’s Cave, wooded trails, an abandoned mine, Harper’s Mill, Fort Langhorn, Potter’s Mill, Tom Sawyer Scavage Fort and cross swinging suspension and floating barrel bridges. This is a great escape for families with small kids who want to explore.

Liberty Square Riverboat

The Liberty Belle riverboat is modelled on an old Colonial stern paddle wheel riverboat that you might have seen on the rivers of the Southern states like the Mississippi back in the 19th century. Originally called the Richard F. Irvine, it was renamed Liberty Belle in 1996.

It normally runs about every 30 minutes but to cater for the Tiana’s Riverboat Dessert party, its stops its regular service two hours before the afternoon parade starts at 3 p.m. until about one hour after the parade ends.

The Liberty Belle hold about 450 guests spread over four decks and though it has a working steam engine that drives the paddle wheel, it steers via a track buried in the bottom of the “river”.

As it travels the 1/2 mile around Tow Sawyer Island, you can see many of the other attractions in Frontierland as well as animatronic creatures and various buildings on the island itself.

Country Bear Jamboree

The Country Bear Jamboree is a sort of hoe-down with lots of AudioAnimatronic bears singing country music accompanied by banjo strumming, harmonicas and fiddles.

Teenagers will probably by bored by the 15 minute show but it can be a great break from the heat of the day, especially if the queues are short. Look out for the stuffed animal heads on the wall.

Frontierland Shootin’ Gallery

The Frontierland Shootin’ Gallery is a state-of-the-art fairground shooting gallery where you can test your shooting skills against a range of pop-up, moving and stationary targets. The whole thing is wrapped up with the sights and sounds of a Boot Hill graveyard.

Vintage buffalo rifles conceal infrared targeting systems with electronic triggers. This is one of the few attractions that you need to pay for separately.

Parade Route

The main parades goes right through Frontierland and can be a good place to watch it. If you are not bothered about the parade, then parade time can be a good time to try and ride Splash Mountain or the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Access to other Lands

From Frontierland you can walk into Adventureland past the Pirates of the Caribbean or you can carry on past the Country Bear Jamboree into Liberty Square.

You can also board the Disney Railroad to take you on to Mickey’s Toontown Fair and Main Street USA but it tends to be busy.

Eating in Frontierland

The lasting impression of Frontierland is the smell of smoked turkey legs wafting from roadside carts.

The Pecos Bill Cafe is near to the Country Bear Jamboree and across from Splash Mountain. It is a counter service restaurant serving cheeseburgers and hot dogs, wrapped sandwiches, salads and root beer floats.

If you are on Tom Sawyer Island then you can try Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn. There is a selection of picnic food including turkey, cheese and ham sandwiches, cookies, ice cream and soft drinks.

Note that it can take a while to get off Tom Sawyer Island as the only means of exit is the raft ride.

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