Without any announcement or fanfare, Disneyland Park quietly reopened Big Thunder Trail on Thursday (June 9), which has been closed since early 2016. The trail, which connects Frontierland and Fantasyland, was closed in order to be revamped to accommodate Star Wars land, and the re-routed Disneyland Railroad.
The redesigned Big Thunder Trail still carries the same Old West mining-town theme, but with brand new foliage, decor, and amazing new rock work. The new rock work and trees will provide a border and barrier from seeing into Star Wars Land. There are a couple locations along the trail that still have construction barricades, which are likely entry-points to the upcoming Star Wars Land expansion. According to rumor, there may even be at least one retail or food location along the trail, perfect for capitalizing on all that foot traffic which will likely get backed up when the expansion opens. I’m sure some portable snack stands will pop up along the trail on busy days as well.
Before you even arrive at the main part of the trail, the bridge into the trail from Frontierland is now open, giving a gorgeous view of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad track and waterfall — a sight guests have not been able to see for over a year.
Aside from the new rock and decor, there are multiple spots along the trail where the path widens and there are rest areas with many benches. Quite a hot area to sit in the heat of the Summer days ahead, but nice on cooler days and in the evening. Thematic decor including mining tools and an explosives shed can be found along the trail, as well as various lanterns sporting a “BTR” logo (which I sadly did not get any photos of), a nod to the now defunct Big Thunder Ranch which used to be along the trail.
The new rock work is absolutely gorgeous. Fairly simple, and minuscule compared to Cars Land, but still picturesque. The height and overhead curve of the rock provides lots of shade in the afternoon, as well as a nice backdrop for photos and selfies.
The view looking toward the bridge when walking to Frontierland from Fantasyland is as beautiful as ever, especially as you get closed to the old Weeping Willow trees by Big Thunder Mountain. Even with the new touch of polish, the trail has not lost its aura of nostalgia and that irreplaceable Disneyland feeling.
All cosmetics aside, the re-opening of the trail is a welcome return. The trail is a major artery of traffic flow in the park, which upon closing has caused quite a bit more congestion in other areas. With the trail closed, anyone wishing to get between the two lands connected by the trail had to go all the way around in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle or through the hub. Not only is that quite a walk, but causes a lot more backup of traffic through the other areas. Perhaps worse of all, getting stuck in Fantasyland during parades has been a nightmare: you would either have to wait through crowds to cross the parade route, or wait it out. Now, thank goodness, you can get back over to the west side lands or Main Street through the trail. Hallelujah! 🙌