Happy Halloween! Halloween at the Big Thunder Ranch has been one of my favorite spots to enjoy at Disneyland this time of year. Its relaxed festive atmosphere has been the much needed respite from a busy theme park many times. The rustic and whimsical decor always left me with a smile on my face.Continue Reading
Harvest time at Big Thunder Ranch presents a great opportunity to enjoy vintage Halloween decor and ephemera. It amazes me how things change stylistically over time. The variance from 60 years ago to today is really just the tip of the iceberg for the boundlessness of creativity. I wonder how today’s designs will stack up in 50 or 60 years from now.CONTINUE READING
The Country Bear Jamboree has been missing from Walt’s original Magic Kingdom for some time now but there are reminders here and there, like this sign for Big Thunder Ranch. I can still remember the first time I saw it as a child. I was mystified. That was a feeling that began from the moment you entered the queue. I wondered where we could be going, across a stream and deeper into the woods, with music twanging in the distance. It was a trail I was eager to follow. The show was great but, for me, the payoff came when they sang Ghost Riders in the Sky. This little cowpoke was hooked.
It wasn’t meant to be, I suppose. It lost popularity and, in time, was replaced with a different bear singing a different song (No hard feelings, Winnie. I like you and Tigger, too). But I miss it and I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why people fell out of love with Big Al and the gang. Audio-animatronics still blow me away every time (whether I’m in a moving vehicle or not) and it’s hard to imagine anything topping a band of bluegrass bears.
Sometimes, when walking by the Enchanted Tiki Room, with its short lines, I wonder if it will go the way of the Country Bears. I hope that it doesn’t but then, my tastes aren’t always the majority’s.
Disneyland always seems different on a cloudy day. The already transporting ambiance takes a new direction. I’m fond of cabins, so this one in Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland is a nifty spot for me. The looming dark clouds overhead, for some reason or another involving random synapses of the brain, make me think of Kansas before the tornado spirals in to sweep Dorothy and her dog to a place that isn’t, a place called Oz. That idea is what I hoped to convey with this image. Flying monkeys not included.
Santa’s got toys all over Big Thunder Ranch during his Reindeer Roundup. I’m sure it makes him feel a little more at home in warm Southern California while away from the North Pole. All of these vintage toys add up to make a magical toyland with cars and dolls and teddy bears so fluffy you may just need to hug one. These charming toys take me straight back to my childhood when all it took was a teddy bear to make my Christmas dreams come true. I hope this picture recalls some fond memories for you.
Santa’s famous reindeer take some time at Disneyland before their big night of touring the world. We’re currently in negotiations with them and Santa about utilizing their amazing transportation services in the off-season. A tour guide can dream, right? Anyway, it’s a lot of fun taking time at the Big Thunder Ranch to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures. And it’s magical when they take a moment to glance back at you.