In the spring of 2011 we started a series on the Main Street Gazette called Silent Saturday. No words, just a title, date, and a photograph. It was a simple way to find those great subjects, hidden nooks, and wonderful views and appreciate them for what they were. After over five years of this quick weekend series, however, we had something happen that had never happened before; someone asked for more information about the subject of one of our pictures. That photo happened to be of the scale model Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and since we’re here for the readers, here’s a bit more for all of you.
The model is a reproduction by Walt Disney Imagineering and sits in the lobby of the Frontier Tower of the Disneyland Hotel. They utilized the original model when constructing this 1/4” x 1’ miniature. The original was employed to test sightlines and ensure details were correct before moving to larger scale production. The concept model was created and nine plaster duplicates were made from it. Many of these duplicates were damaged or destroyed over the years, but one of these survived long enough for this replica to be created. It was installed in the Frontier Tower as part of the larger Disneyland Hotel refurbishment in 2011.
There are tons of vignettes and details to enjoy from this model! In fact the photo below of the “Welcome to Big Thunder” sign is such a favorite of mine, I have been using it as a background on my computer for the past two years. Let’s tour through some of the long and up close shots today and give this model the respect it deserves!