Walt Disney on Frontierland: “Here we experience the story of our country’s past … the colorful drama of Frontier America in the exciting days of the covered wagon and the stage coach … the advent of the railroad … and the romantic riverboat. Frontierland is a tribute to the faith, courage and ingenuity of the pioneers who blazed the trails across America.”
Overview: Frontierland, representing the “Frontiers of America,” opened as one of five original lands at Disneyland Park on July 17, 1955. The rough and tumble nature of America’s pioneer days comes to life in the streets and unspoiled wilderness of Frontierland. It’s a land of riverboats, stagecoaches and railroads, where trappers, cowboys, farmers and miners all traveled west to fulfill their own dreams of gold. Frontierland brings to life the natural beauty, excitement and promise of the American West in the 1800s.
What’s new: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the popular, runaway mine train attraction, was recently refurbished with new track, updates to the mountain and an explosive finale scene. Rainbow Ridge Mining Town, a classic part of this attraction, also has enhanced visual elements. Rainbow Ridge Mining Town dates back to the 1956 Rainbow Caverns Mine Train at Disneyland.
Don’t miss: Attractions in Frontierland include one FastPass attraction, the thrilling Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Big Thunder Ranch features the only petting zoo at the Disneyland Resort with goats, horses, sheep, donkeys and pigs. Guests also enjoy tours around the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia and freedom to roam through Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Big Thunder Ranch
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition
Entertainment: Guests will enjoy western-style entertainment on the Stage of the Golden Horseshoe. A fan favorite, “Fantasmic!,” is performed on select nights on the Rivers of America. The forces of good and evil battle in Mickey’s dream during this extravagant musical and pyrotechnic spectacular, complete with stunning effects in the night sky. Disney characters join the reverie as projections on veils of water and as live performers.
Dining: Frontierland offers a variety of fare. Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante is the whole enchilada, serving Mexican favorites. For an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style supper, guests may dine at the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue. River Belle Terrace offers comfort food with a side of riverfront views. For quick-service options, guests may grab lunch at The Golden Horseshoe or Stage Door Café.
Imaginative landscaping: Entering Frontierland, guests may notice the landscape represents a town from the Wild West, with cactus, brush, dirt and rocks. El Zocalo Park features olive trees and bougainvillea, representing the Spanish theme of the area. Up along Frontier Trail, the landscape transitions to represent a more mountainous environment of the frontier. The petrified tree, an iconic landscape piece in Frontierland, is Lillian Disney’s gift to Disneyland.
Did you know?
- Three kinds of fish inhabit the Rivers of America: catfish (bottom feeders), carp (middle feeders) and mosquito eaters (top feeders).
- The Mark Twain Riverboat dates back to opening day at Disneyland: July 17, 1955. It was an “E Ticket” (top-of-the-line) attraction in the days of the A-through-E ticket books, a system that required a separate entry ticket for each attraction.
- The Sailing Ship Columbia is an exact, full-scale replica of the original Columbia Rediviva, which was the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe.
- Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition has more than 90 targets. When guests pull the trigger, the guns shoot an infrared light.
- Crockett & Russel Hat Co. has a window honoring Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett in Walt Disney’s television show, “Davy Crockett.”
- The Golden Horseshoe is one of several original buildings in Disneyland. Walt Disney and his wife, Lillian, celebrated their 30th anniversary here with the debut performance of the original Golden Horseshoe Revue. With more than 50,000 performances logged since then, the Golden Horseshoe Revue was at one time “the world’s longest-running live stage show,” according the Guinness Book of World Records. Disney Legend Harper Goff designed the saloon’s interior using a set design he had created for the 1953 Doris Day film “Calamity Jane.”
Cast member tips:
- Wait until the second show of “Fantasmic!” for a smaller crowd. There is a great viewing spot on the bridge over Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Look for a visitor from Circle D, the Disneyland animal ranch, at the Indian Village along Rivers of America.
- Tom Sawyer Island provides lots of fun for young guests who explore its caves, tree house and swinging bridges. Several benches throughout the island provide weary adventurers a scenic, relaxing break.
- A great Frontierland photo location is just inside the fort, as guests come through the main entrance.
- Navigating the Rivers of America? If you’re on the Sailing Ship Columbia, go to the bottom deck to see where the crew ate and slept. Sharp-eyed explorers can find two Hidden Mickeys on the Mark Twain Riverboat.
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