Of the various lands in the Magic Kingdom, Frontierland is definitely one of the most adventurous as it takes guests right into the heart of the Wild West. Guests can whip around an abandoned mining town on a runaway train, plunge straight down into the Briar Patch, and even sing along with an ensemble of singing country bears. With so many different elements of Frontierland to enjoy, there are plenty of details and hidden secrets which come together to create one cohesive environment. These details and hidden secrets include everything from Hidden Mickeys to Disney tributes, and many are hidden in plain sight for guests to discover and enjoy. Here are seven hidden secrets in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom.
7. A Gopher’s Message
Splash Mountain is one of the most popular attractions in the Magic Kingdom and it takes guests on a soaking journey as they follow Br’er Rabbit who is looking for more adventure. Culminating with a thrilling drop down into the Briar Patch, guests love riding the attraction time and time again. Shortly before the final drop, guests pass through a scene titled The Laughing Place where they can spy laughing frogs and other giggling animals. Above each log, a series of gophers drop down from the ceiling cheering out jovially. A lot of guests notice that the last gopher appears to be dressed and yells something different, but many don’t realize exactly what he is saying. The gopher yells out “FSU” for Florida State University where some of the Imagineers who worked on Splash Mountain went to school and he is also wearing the school’s colors.
6. A Hidden Tink
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad takes guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness on a runaway mine train through ominous caves and an abandoned mine town. With many twists and turns along the way, there are plenty of great details that guests will notice for the first time on each ride. After exiting the attraction, guests walk along a pathway that leads back out into Frontierland facing the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island. Right after this transition, guests can look at the rockwork around them to spot a Hidden Tinkerbell. The pixie can be seen in full body profile and the easiest way to spot her is to begin with looking for her wings.
5. A Bear Tribute
The Country Bear Jamboree is an underrated attraction in the Magic Kingdom and guests who stop to experience it enter into Grizzly Hall where dozens of bears have gathered to put on a great show. Of all of the bears who perform, the favorite is Big Al who sings an off tune rendition of “Blood on the Saddle.” Big Al is actually a self-caricature of Al Bertino, an Imagineer who helped create the concept and ultimate existence of the Country Bear Jamboree.
4. Splash’s Hidden Mickey
Splash Mountain is a fairly lengthy attraction that has guests pass through many different scenes before the end of the experience. Along the way there are several Hidden Mickeys for guests to spot, and one of the most popular can be seen in the grand finale scene celebrating Br’er Rabbit’s return home. To the right of the massive riverboat is a stretch of sky painted beautifully to depict the setting sun. Hidden amongst the clouds is a Hidden Mickey where the mouse can be found in full body profile lying down on his back and gazing up at the clouds. Guests who look quickly can also spot this Hidden Mickey from the Walt Disney World Railroad as it has a fast glimpse into Splash Mountain’s finale scene.
3. A Familiar Face
Guests who spend time waiting on line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad pass through lots of interesting signs, advertisements, and interactive props that offer a glimpse into the history of the mining town. Guests should look for a portrait of Barnabus T. Bullion, the founder of the Big Thunder Mining Company. If the face in the portrait looks familiar, it is because it is based upon Imagineer Tony Baxter who was heavily involved in the creation of the attraction!
2. Party Time
Guests who take a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad get a look inside the mostly abandoned mines and town, and generally assume that there is no one left. However those who ride at night should pay particular attention to the saloon that goes whizzing past at one point. When the windows are lit at night, guests can see the shadows of the residual townspeople having a party upstairs.
1. A Big Boat
The finale scene of Splash Mountain is one that many guests remember long after their Disney vacations, thanks mostly to the massive riverboat that sways back and forth with many Audio Animatronics on board belting out “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” The riverboat is actually one of the largest moving props on any attraction in Walt Disney World with a massive width of thirty six feet and height of twenty two feet. Such a massive prop is sure to make any scene memorable to guests, and the riverboat in Splash Mountain is no exception!