Rainbow Ridge is a mining town and the setting of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland.

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge was established in 1869[1] and was named for the phosphorene Rainbow Caverns. The town had a series of mine-trains passing through it made by an unidentified mining company. In 1879, the Big Thunder Mining Company moved into town to mine into the hills of Big Thunder Mountain[2]. The town prospered and grew - at one point, the population had over 2000 people in a short period of time.

The mines were plagued by out of the ordinary instances, which the superstitious blamed on the spirit of Big Thunder. Despite their best efforts, the people in the town began to look elsewhere, and the population shrunk to only a few dozen people.

Development History[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge was originally created for the Disneyland attraction Rainbow Caverns Mine Train/Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. It was here named for the rainbow caverns, a water feature seen on the attraction. When the attraction was closed to make way for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rainbow Ridge was one of the many elements of the defunct attraction to remain.

Notable Locations[edit | edit source]


Rainbow Ridge is home to a small western town, with everything needed for mining[3].

  • Assay Office - est. 1869. Chemical Analysis of every description made with accuracy of dispatch. Mining claims recorded, bought and sold.
  • Barber Shop - Best clippings in town.
  • Big Thunder Epitath
  • The Big Thunder Saloon - Poker, Billiards, Entertainment & Dancing.
  • El Dorado Hotel - est. 1870.
  • General Mercantile - Plain & Fancy Dry Goods. The post office is here.
  • Gold Nugget Dance Hall - We Serve the Finest Corn Whiskey. A bartender and a piano player are wanted.
  • Ivory - Jeremiah Colt. Blacksmith. This is where the extra trains are held.
  • Leather Goods - Buckskins, Our Specialty.
  • Panhandle Hotel - Telegraph service. A portrait of Barnabas T. Bullion can be seen from the window.

Coyote Canyon is home to a family of coyotes, that stand on the side of a mountain as the trains pass. Dinosaur Gap features a large fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that the trains travel past. Spiral Butte, Busted Flats, and the Nevermine are in the area, as well.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Caverns Mine Train/Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge was created as the setting for this defunct Disneyland attraction. The town served as a loading area for the train, the Frontierland Pack Mules, and covered wagons and stagecoaches, though the other attractions would gradually be dropped as Nature's Wonderland evolved and aged. Guests traveled on the mine train through Beaver Valley, Cascade Peak, the Living Desert (home to the Devil's Paintpots, Balancing Rock Canyon, and Old Unfaithful), and the Rainbow Caverns. The buildings were recycled and re-purposed for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad[edit | edit source]

Disneyland[edit | edit source]

The town of Rainbow Ridge is seen at the very end of the attraction. Guests slow down and pass all of the buildings, before they come into the unloading station. It can also be seen from the attraction's queue. Signs in the queue point to different locations around the territory that are visited throughout the attraction.

Magic Kingdom[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge is referenced at the Magic Kingdom in the Butterfly Stage Line poster at Tumbleweed. Carriage rides between Rainbow Ridge and Thunder Mesa cost $10.

Disneyland Railroad[edit | edit source]

A plaque identifying Rainbow Ridge as having constructed a bridge can be seen from the Disneyland Railroad.

Main Street, U.S.A.[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge is mentioned by the Disneyland Casting Agency in an advert looking for tour-guides.[4]

Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush![edit | edit source]

In this role-playing game, the Ridge neighbours the town of Frontierland, and a rivalry exists between the two settlements. Rainbow Ridge and Frontierland feuded over control of the gold, thanks to the gold drying up in Big Thunder Mountain. The citizens of Rainbow Ridge gathered at the Trading Post and the Hideout.

Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge is referenced in an advertisement in the Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger. It can be traveled to by steamboat on the Rivers of the Far West.

In other media[edit | edit source]

Disney Kingdoms[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge is the home of the Big Thunder Mining Company, owned and operated by Barnabas T. Bullion. It’s home to prospectors, miners, and people trying to make a living. The town suffered from the goings-on in the mines, such as floods and cave-ins. The townsfolk are aided by the help of a bandit gang, led by Chandler.

The town can be seen in photo/portrait-form in the Haunted Mansion comics, being shown as one of the supernatural locations connected to the Haunted Mansion by the Endless Staircase along with Ravenswood Manor, the Hollywood Tower Hotel and the Museum of the Weird.

Connections[edit | edit source]

Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars[edit | edit source]

In Rainbow Ridge is a sign pointing to Grizzly Gulch, the California setting of Big Grizzly Mountain.

Phantom Manor[edit | edit source]

Rainbow Ridge has a sign pointing to Thunder Mesa, the first town to have mined into Big Thunder Mountain and setting of Phantom Manor.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Given how Rainbow Ridge was a mining-town founded in 1869 but the Big Thunder Mining Company only moved there in 1879, it is likely that there was a mining company which proceeded that of Big Thunder in Rainbow Ridge. it is likely that this was the mining-company which created and operated the mine trains through Rainbow Caverns and Nature's Wonderland.

References[edit | edit source]

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