The Demolition of Rainbow Ridge
by, 11-12-2012 at 04:22 PM (9690 Views)
Nostalgic Disneyland fans have a little over seven weeks left to pay their final respects to some of the most visible remnants of the old Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland.
In January, when Big Thunder Railroad goes down for an extensive rehab, most of the remaining buildings in Rainbow Ridge will be demolished. Only the hardware store and the mercantile will remain. The mega-rehab, expected to last into the fall of 2013, will include upgrading the track, vehicles, show elements, and safety systems.
The first faux storefronts were built in 1956, as a backdrop for the loading area of the new Rainbow Caverns Mine Train. (Several buildings were removed and others added with the addition of Nature’s Wonderland in 1960.) Originally, the hardware store was the left-most building and the mercantile was the rightmost building. In other words, the hardware store was the last building on your right as you entered the tunnel to begin your journey, while the mercantile was the first building you passed as you exited Rainbow Caverns and arrived back at the loading platform.
When the Mine Train was torn out in the late 1970s to make way for Big Thunder, several of the original Rainbow Ridge buildings—along with various other show elements, tunnels, and sections of track—were left intact.
But in recent years, we’ve lost many of those elements, including Cascade Peak, an abandoned ride vehicle, the animatronic gophers, and part of the bridge over Bear Country. We’re about to lose a few more.