Tokyo Disneyland – Westernland and Big Thunder Mountain

Westernland is the Frontierland at Tokyo Disneyland. It brings the same old-time sights and sounds of America’s Old West. By area alone, Westernland is the largest themed zone in Tokyo Disneyland, due to the immense size of the Rivers of America.

The name of “Westernland” was chosen as it made more sense in the Japanese language as compared to Frontier.

Tucked between three zones, Westernland has a large open walkway between Critter Country and Fantasyland, which happens to be one of my favorite areas in the park. It’s just a big empty area but it makes moving around at your own pace easy.

Elias Hotel – 1883 . Why did I point this out? It’s Walt Disney’s middle name, and a reference to Tokyo Disneyland’s opening year (1983).

This way leads to Adventureland. Notice how the scenery changes, quite subtly?

Country Bear Theater

One of the commonly “forgotten” attractions is located in Westernland – Country Bear Theater. The current version at Tokyo Disneyland is called Vacation Jamboree, which is shown in the second half of the year (July to December).

There’s no pre-show, but the waiting area has quite a number of things to look at.

The show itself is 15 minutes long and presented almost entirely in Japanese. Some of the songs have segments in English.

It turned out to be a rather cute animatronic show. Lots of complex figures that worked perfectly, despite the age of this attraction.

We had lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant next door. Unlike the one in the US, the restaurant here serves mainly curry rice sets (Japanese style).

Here’s my Katsu Curry Rice set! The cozy dining areas are also great spots to relax. Happy times!

The Diamond Horseshoe is a table service restaurant with live stage shows. We gave this a miss because.. well honestly it didn’t seem interesting enough.

Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain is a classic Disney attraction and the Tokyo counterpart is also one of the most popular attractions. This is the only ride I waited for more than 80 minutes at Tokyo Disneyland.

Tucked in its own corner at Westernland, it’s hard to admire the sharp and rocky mountains. You have to either be in the queue or go for a ride on the Western River Railroad at Adventureland to see the mountains up close.

The queue is a lot longer than it looks, but at least the front part is interesting.

It gave us an amazing bird’s eye view of Westernland.

There is another attraction nearby called Westernland Shootin’ Gallery. This is a pay-to-play attraction. For ¥200 (S$2.50~), you get 10 shots at the shooting gallery. There were long queues when we went there, so we gave this a miss too.

The outdoor queue ends after that, entering a building that’s half tool-shed, half train station.

At first we thought that once we’re in the building, the loading station is just going to be there. Until we saw the queue leading downstairs. This building has how many levels now?

Windows on one side of the station building offers off-ride view of the roller-coaster. Scroll down for more.

The place where Fastpass and Standby lines merge. If you’re on Standby line for a long time… you will feel insanely happy when you finally reach this spot.

A possible reason why wait time goes up to more than an hour is because there are just too many people in the line. The queue just wraps around itself several times. Good thing that the second half is completely covered.

The ride itself is quite efficient. Dual loading and unload platforms are used, and multiple trains run on the track. The trains are very long, moving in a configuration of 5 cars seating 6 (two a row) allowing 30 guests to go on a wild runaway train ride together.

As for the ride itself, it’s an incredible 3 minute mine train ride. Weaving through the mountains and diving around its immense caves filled with stalactites makes an amazing and exhilarating experience. It may lack the new features of the modern Big Grizzly Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland (this ride was built in the late 1980s), but the theming and environment makes up for everything.

This is a definitely must-ride attraction.

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