Meep. Today i am starting a new series in which i look at tributes to Disney Attractions that never were... Today we will look at one of my personal favorites, Thunder Mesa.
Thunder Mesa was originally going to be a show building type thing, containing 2 attractions: The Western River Expedition, and a Runaway Mine Train ride. Think of WRE as a western Pirates of the Caribbean merged with Splash Mountain. The RMT would be BTM pretty much. The main reason for TM being shelved was because of 2 things:
The Cost of TM would have been pretty high, and MK opened without Thunder Mesa (it was supposed to be a opening day attraction). Also, when it opened, PotC wasn't there. People kept asking "Where are the pirates?" so, Disney made plans to open it. Due to the fact that PotC was right next to the ground for Thunder Mesa, and The WRE was literally a western version of it. So lets get to the tributes shall we?
BTM is the most obvious one, and when Disney added a new backstory for it, there were a couple of little gags hidden around. For 1, the land grant on which the mountain stands on is "the Western River Valley." A Advertisement for the Butterfly Stage Line's Gateway to the West includes rates for a trip from Thunder Mesa to Rainbow Ridge (RR is the place where BTM is located in DLR). There is a crate in the queue labeled Western River Explosives (that has 40% strength apparently!).
Now, let's head over to Epcot, to Living With the Land. where there are some animatronics from Thunder Mesa, but you may not know that you have seen some.
The Buffalo and the Prairie Dogs were made for The WRE When it was still in production. They were then recycled and put into LwtL!
Finally, if you want to ride the Western River Expedition, just go to SplM! It is pretty much what The WRE would be, except with cowboys instead of characters from "Song of the South."
Hope you enjoy! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!