You’ve seen Grizzly Gulch in the previous update. Now let’s take a detailed tour around Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, the feature attraction in this Old West town.
The mine cars bring daring guests (aka prospectors) through the caves of Big Grizzly Mountain, where some surprising elements await.
The entrance to the ride is somewhat in the middle of Grizzly Gulch, in a tall red building. Only Stand-By and Single Rider lines are offered.
Old 801 is the name of the immobile ride vehicle with test seats.
Here’s the ride information board. Guests must be at least 112cm (44″) tall to take part in the adventure at Big Grizzly Mountain.
The queue starts off right away in the red building. A foyer (not pictured) with some photos of the (I assume) mining company staff and townsfolk.
Further on, guests visit the office of the Foreman, aptly named I.M. Shovelman.
Followed by a visit to the Saw mill.
The standard queue (from the ride entrance) is mostly indoors. There are covered walkways, and a lot of windows (with wire grilles) for ventilation. Very comfortable to wait around here (well, during December, that is).
Well, these props certainly hint that some prospectors have interesting lives out of the mines.
This next office is of one Dr. Ignatius Stone – a Geologist, of course.
Like most of the other queues in the park, it’s kept neat and themed. Proper swinging gates, and none of those messy ropes.
The last queue area is right beside the loading platform.
Guests are loaded onto trains very quickly. The system is very efficient and the line is consistently moving. As one train is loading, another train is unloading. Once the loaded train is dispatched, the one behind moves forward, ready for more guests. It just keeps repeating without a pause. Even a 45 minute wait could really be 20 minutes – when the ride is operating at its best.
I’m also pleasantly surprised that the cast members could manage two queues (Stand-By and Single Rider) and split guests into 12 lanes (and one extra “queue” for first-row riders) without raising their voices. Guests in the Single Rider lane also seem to fully understand how that line works.
Each train can take up to 24 guests. Built by Vekoma, and it’s one of the smoothest Vekoma roller coasters I’ve ever been on. Guests may bring their bags onto the ride, but all loose articles and bags must be secured and placed on the floor.
Spoiler-free ride description
This is a very enjoyable roller coaster ride, with some surprises and cute bears to view along the way. It’s not very fast or thrilling, though there are ample dips, climbs and dramatically banked turns. I feel that there are only some small (and very short) moments of negative G-forces (feeling of weightlessness).
There are two traditional lift hills (chain lifts, the ones that go klak-klak-klak-klak..) as well as a magnetic launch (rapid acceleration). The most shocking part for first-time riders, if any, would be the section where the ride has a sudden directional and elevation change, with a significant distance traveled backwards. This is followed by an indoor scene, where the ride changes its direction again and experiences a powerful launch.
This roller coaster ride is not scary and is far from being death-defying, despite how it might look. Big Grizzly Mountain is suitable for all guests, as long as they fulfill height and health requirements.
Here’s a view of the loading platform from the outdoor queue area.
The outdoor queue is simple, but I appreciate how it’s not boring zig-zag paths stacked beside each other. There’s an section that provides a nice view of the tracks (and trains dispatched from the loading platform).
I wanted to write more about the building and queue designs here but I’ll just skip over it: There’s an interesting trick here to “merge the inside and outside”. Notice how there’s three groups of wire-grille windows? Notice how one of the dividing pillars is much wider? Backtrack and have a look at the other queue photos.
Here’s a dramatic shot of Big Grizzly Mountain. Notice a train is reaching the peak of the mountain. What will happen next?
And in this other scene – the train rolls backwards into a cave filled with explosives – courtesy of Lytem & Hyde Dynamite. Don’t worry, the prospectors will make it out alive via the train tracks on the left – with a blast, nonetheless.
And after that it’s swoosh! Through these nice banked drops and turns.
My earlier description does sound like this ride is a lot of things. It is like a mix of attractions from Disney, Big Thunder Mountain, Expedition Everest and… BEARS, from well – The Country Bears, perhaps.
The moment trains reach the unload platform, a themed announcement plays to direct guests to exit.
The unload area still has a number of props, and the exit path has a pretty good view of the ride’s final brake run.
I read some comments online criticizing the blue building here, which is the Saw mill. The opinion was that the plank “shadow” is shoddily painted. What do you think? It looks alright from a distance.
It’s nice that the exit path isn’t that far from the ride entrance. So convenient to RUN IN AGAIN!
For some reason, the ride was closed for 2.5 hours when I visited the park. According to Joel L who visited the park a week earlier, the ride was also temporarily closed for a few hours during his day of visit.
During this period, some trains were running, with restraints open.
I’m maxing the (self-imposed) photo limit for this entry here so I’ll just pick three night shots to show. Above is a photo of the ride entrance at night. At the right doorway: Foyer with some photos hanging off the walls, which I mentioned earlier.
Big Grizzly Mountain at night. Strange purple lighting, but otherwise, it’s quite a sight.
And here’s the spot where the bears provide a touch of (accidental) dazzle. You may want to search online for videos of this ride, but none of them could replicate the scene. It’s too bombastic.
That’s it for the tour of Big Grizzly Mountain. I hope you enjoyed this entry. If you’ve been on the ride – tell me, how much do you love this roller coaster? Until Mystic Manor opens, these Mine Cars have ran away with my heart. This is currently my favourite ride in Hong Kong Disneyland, and I believe it’s one of Disney’s best modern-era rides.
Hong Kong Disneyland - Photo Tour seriesMystic Point (under construction) | Main Street U.S.A. | Toy Story Land (Day)
Toy Story Land (Night) | Adventureland | Fantasyland | Grizzly Gulch
Grizzly Gulch: Big Grizzly Mountain | Tomorrowland | Flights of Fantasy parade
NEW: Mystic Point | Mystic Manor (Pre-show) | Mystic Manor (The Ride)
Disney's Hollywood Hotel | Frozen Village (Summer 2015)