Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr.

Indiana Jones

On this date “Indiana Jones – The Raiders of the Lost Ark” premiered on June 1, 1981.  So, in this post I will discuss Indiana Jones and the inspiration behind the iconic movie character.  Then, I will discuss the various elements of the Indiana Jones story and important pieces of his costume; such as his leather jacket, fedora and the whip.  Finally, I will end with a brief synopsis of the each of the four Indiana Jones movies.

George Lucas, the American film director, producer and screenwriter of the successful “Star Wars” movie franchise is also responsible for creating the character of Indiana Jones.  It was while vacationing in Hawaii with his friend and fellow filmmaker Steven Spielberg at the time of the release of the first Star Wars movie that they discussed possible ideas for their next film.  They both fondly remembered from their childhood the old short-film serials and popular books about action/adventure heroes … and the character of Indiana Jones was created!   

According to the fictional backstory, the character of Henry Jones, Jr. (also known as Indiana Jones or “Indy”) was born in 1899 to Anna and Henry Jones, Sr.  His mother came from a wealthy family in Virginia and his father originally came from Scotland and went to Oxford University in England.  After his parent’s marriage in 1898 the family eventually moved to New Jersey where his father was a professor of Medieval Studies at Princeton University, he has an interest, his wife would say an obsession, with the Holy Grail.  Professor Jones, Sr. took his family with him on his lecture tour through various parts of the United States and Europe.  Along the way Henry Jr. had many adventures in which he met several famous people and witnessed numerous historical events.  These stories are told in the television series, “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”, which I would highly recommend seeing if you can find a copy of the DVDs.  (Trivia: The origin of Henry Jr’s nickname came from the family dog that was named Indiana, and eventually Junior took the name for himself much to the annoyance of Henry, Sr.  The ultimate fate of the dog is unknown!)

Adventures of Young Indiana Jones

Sadly, Indy’s mother died of scarlet fever in 1912 when Indy was only 13 years old.  Afterwards, his distraught father spent most of his time working or indulging in his quest for the Holy Grail.  Meanwhile, Indy was finding interests of his own and when he came across the Cross of Coronado during a Boy Scout expedition in Utah he became fascinated with archaeology.  Later, Indy would go to the University of Chicago and then would spend his summers with his former teacher and mentor, Abner Ravenwood, overseas working at numerous archaeology digs.  Later Indy became a professor at Marshall College (a fictional educational institution somewhere in Connecticut) teaching archaeology and occasionally he would consult with Marcus Brody and frequently donated his “found” treasures to Brody’s museum.  It is at this time in his life that we meet Indy in the first movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.  (Later in the post there will be a brief synopsis of each of the movies)

It seems that the character of Indiana Jones lives in two very different worlds.  The first was centered on a campus where he wears the conservative tweed suit of a college professor, even wearing a pair of glasses to add to his scholarly look.  Indy would teach classes filled with adoring female students and he would give lectures on ancient civilizations as part of his archaeology courses.

Professor Henry Jones Jr  Indiana Jones 1a

On breaks from his life as a college professor, Indy would travel to distant places in South America, the Middle East or Europe where he would search of various historical treasures.  At these times Indy would dress in an entirely different way more suitable to the site of the archaeology digs.  He wore a khaki shirt with two large pockets on the front and brown wool and twill pants (made by the film costume department and inspired by a pair of World War II Army officer trousers known as “Pinks”)   Indy wore sturdy Alden boots (a personal preference of Harrison Ford) and he also carried a satchel similar to a Mark VII gas mask bag used by the British during World War II.

Indiana Jones costume

Indy’s weapons of choice were a pistol (the type varied for each film) which he would secure at his side in a military-style leather flap holster.  Indy also carried a bullwhip which he would attach to his belt, he was quite the expert at using it!  (Trivia: In the famous marketplace scene in “Raider of the Lost Ark” when Indy shoots the swordsman during a confrontation Ford completely improvised the action.  The story line originally had Indy disarming the swordsman with his whip but Ford thought that was not realistic and choose to improvised the action instead by using his pistol!)

The bullwhip used in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was actually owned by the film’s stunt coordinator, Glenn Randall.  For the other three Indiana Jones films the bullwhips were made by David Morgan.  Morgan was known as the best whip maker in the United States and the ones he made for Indy were made from kangaroo hide and ranged in length from 8 to 10 feet depending on the scenes stunts. (Trivia: Cleverly Harrison Ford’s real life scar chin was incorporated into the story of Indiana Jones.  During the opening scenes of the “Last Crusade” a young Indy misuses a whip to protect himself from a lion while being chased through a circus train and the mishap causes the scar)

Perhaps the most iconic items of Indy’s clothing were the leather jacket and his fedora.  The first item was a leather jacket which was inspired by the American fighter pilots of the 1930s.  The Wested Leather Co. of London made the original “Raiders of the Lost Ark” lambskin jacket; later the movie costume department “distressed” the jacket to give it an aged appearance.  Several additional jackets were used for the three other Indiana Jones films and they were made of more durable cowskin.

The second iconic item was Indiana Jones’ fedora, for the first three films the hats were made by Herbert Johnson Hatters of England and for the fourth film the hat was made by the Adventurbilt Hat Company of Columbus, Mississippi.  The Indiana Jones fedora features a board brimmed brown hat of the 1930s which was probably better suited to be worn in an urban setting rather than the site of an archaeological dig.    The original hat featured a pinched front and a tall crown but for the other three films the hat became more tapered and had a shorter crown.  Somehow, through all of Indy’s adventures in the movies whenever his hat is knocked off he always seems to recover! 

Smithsonian Indiana Jones display

(Trivia: The fedora and leather jacket from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” are on display at the Smithsonian Institution‘s American History Museum in Washington, D.C.)

Harrison Ford has portrayed Indiana Jones in all four of the movies; the 1981 “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the 1984 “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, the 1989 “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and almost twenty years later in the 2008 “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.  (Trivia: Ford was not George Lucas’ first choice to play Indy, he had already cast him as Han Solo in Star Wars and felt he was too strongly identified with that role.  Tom Selleck, better known at the time for his television role as “Magnum P.I.”, was considered for the part but because of scheduling conflicts he was unable to do the movie.)

A brief synopsis of the Indiana Jones films

Raiders of the Lost Ark poster 1

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark –

Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, John Rhys-Davies as Salljah, Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody and Paul Reeman as Dr. Rene Belloq. 

The story takes place in 1936 and begins in the jungle of Peru where Indiana Jones is in the search of archaeological treasures and encounters his rival named Rene Belloq.  Later, Indy returns to his job as professor at Marshall College which is located near the museum of his friend, Dr. Marcus Brody.  Shortly after arriving back in the United States Indy is visited by Army intelligence agents who request his help against the German Nazis who are searching for an item owned by Abner Ravenwood, Indy’s former mentor, which would help them in recovering the mysterious Ark of the Covenant.  His friend, Dr. Marcus Brody, who is the curator the local museum, encourages Indy to take up the challenge.  With the aid of Marion Ravenwood and Salljah they follow the clues and eventually find the Ark only to lose it to the Nazis who are led by Belloq.  The Ark is finally recovered and at the end of the movie we see it being moved into a large warehouse to be stored indefinitely by the U.S. government.

Temple of Doom poster

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom –

The Temple of Doom was released in 1984, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Kate Capshaw as “Willie” Scott, Jonathan Ke Quan as “Short Round” and Amrish Puri as Mola Ram.

The story takes place in 1935 and begins with Indiana Jones narrowly escaping from a Shanghai nightclub with a young Chinese boy named “Short Round” and the club feisty singer named “Willie” Scott.  Through several mishaps they land in a remote part of India near a village where the children have mysteriously gone missing.  Eventually this leads the trio to a hidden temple where they find that the children have been stolen by the evil Mola Ram to work in the mine.  Indy becomes involved in trying to recover the sacred Sankara Stones and, in the end, he finds them and also sets the children free to return to their village. (Trivia:  It has been said that the reason for the dark and sinister plotline of “Temple of Doom” was prompted by the fact that George Lucas was in the process of getting divorced)   

Last Crusade poster

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade –

The Last Crusade was released in 1989, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Sean Connery as Henry Jones Sr, Alison Doody as Elsa Schneider, a brief appearance by River Phoenix as the young Indiana and two returning characters with Denholm Elliott as Maracus Brody and John Rhys-Davies as Sallah

The movie begins in 1912 with a young Indian Jones who is on a Boy Scout expedition in Utah and literally stumbles onto a group attempting to steal some ancient treasures.  Indy thinking that the Cross of Coronado belongs in a museum steals the treasure and as a result is chased by the men.  It is this part of the story that explains many of the elements of Indy’s character because as he is being chased he tries to escape on a passing circus train where he lands in a crate of snakes (prompting his fear of snakes), then in the car holding the lions Indy uses a bullwhip to protect himself (by incorrectly using the whip, it causes a cut on his chin which explains his scar) and finally as the men catch up to him and recover the ancient relic, the leader of the group rewards Indy’s bravery by giving him his hat (which becomes the iconic Indiana Jones fedora).  We also learn to offer things about Indy, first that his malamute dog is named Indiana (the real origin of his nickname) and secondly the Cross of Coronado sparks his interest in finding other lost treasures and an eventually career in archaeology.

Then, the movie moves forward in time to 1938 as an adult Indy finally recovers the Cross of Coronado in his quest to have the ancient relic put into a museum.  As Indy returns home, the Coronado’s Cross in given to the museum where his friend Marcus Brody is a curator.  Later, Indy finds out that his long estranged father, Henry Jones Sr., has vanished during his search for the Holy Grail.  Strangely, a package from Indy’s father arrives in the mail, it is Henry the notebook which contains the glue he has gathered in his search for the Grail.  Indy and Brody leave for Venice to search for Indy’s father and to meet Elsa Schneider who was assisting him at the time of his disappearance.  Ultimately, Indy finds his father who is being held by the Nazis in a castle on the border of Austria and Germany.  As, it turns out Elsa was working with the Nazis and steals the Grail notebook that Indy’s father had sent to him for safe keeping.  With a brief detour to Berlin and a face to face meeting with Adolf Hitler, Indy recovers the notebook.  After gaining additional clues with the aid of his old friend, Sallah, it leads them to the hidden temple where the Nazis catch up to them.  In the end, the Holy Grail is found, the Nazis are killed as the temple collapses, Indy, his father and friends barely escape and the movie ends with them riding off into the sunset!    

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull poster

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull –

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released in 2008, it was directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas. The cast included Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Karen Allen returns in her role as Marion Ravenwood, Kate Blanchett plays a Soviet agent named Irina Spalko, John Hurt as Harold “Ox” Oxley and Shia LeBeouf plays Mutt Williams who is revealed during the movie to be the son of Indy and Marion, also known as Henry Jones III.  

The movie is set in 1957 and begins in a secret location in the Nevada dessert.  Soviet agents led by Irina Spalko are accompanied by Indiana Jones as they break into a U.S. Government warehouse (could it possibly be the same facility where they stored the Ark of the Covenant over 20 years earlier?) to find an alien corpse with a mysterious crystal skull.  The Soviets are unsuccessful and Indy escapes only to get caught in the middle of an atomic bomb test, he survives the nuclear blast by climbing into a lead-lined refrigerator and is rescued by the FBI who suspect that he is working with the Soviets.

Indy returns to Marshall College but is forced to take a leave of absence until he can be cleared of any involvement with the Soviets.  At this time, it is revealed that both Indy’s father, Henry Jones Sr., and also Indy’s friend, Marcus Brody, have died.  Then, a young man named Mutt Williams finds Indy and tells him that he knows a man, Harold Oxley, that has found another crystal skull in the jungles of Peru but he has recently suffered a mental breakdown and disappeared so he is asking Indy’s help in finding him.  When Indy and Mutt arrive in South America it was Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s former love, that has sent for him but that the only surprising thing.  In a unexpected twist of the story we learn that Mutt is actually the son of both Marion and Indy!  As the story progresses, they eventually find “Ox” who is being held by Irina and the Soviets that are still searching for the crystal skull.  As the story comes to a dramatic conclusion the legend of the crystal skull and the connections to aliens is finally revealed.  The movie comes to a happy end when Indy and Marion are married … and they live happily ever after!!

But wait, the story of Indiana Jones is not over!  Throughout the years, rumors of another Indiana Jones movie have been speculated and in March 2016 it was officially announced that there will be a fifth Indiana Jones movie which is currently in development with a possible release date of July 2019.

Travel – Disneyland (Part Three)

In this third post of the Disneyland series I will discuss two more of the original “lands” of Disneyland, Adventureland and Frontierland.  When Walt was planning the construction of Disneyland he wanted to incorporate the ideas used in the many successful Disney Studio movies and television shows.  Adventureland was based on the Disney True-Life Adventure series and Frontierland was based on Walt’s love of the classic stories of Tom Sawyer and Davy Crockett, the Davy Crockett television show was a very popular Disney series of the 1950s.  (Who remembers those coonskin hats that were a national craze way back then??)the

Oct 17, 2011: Anaheim,CA Disneyland park in Anaheim.


Adventureland is one of the smaller areas of Disneyland but special care was taken to recreate the feeling of an exotic tropical location found in the jungles of Asia and Africa.  When the park opened in 1955, Adventureland was sparsely landscaped with plants, in fact the trees from the former orange groves on the site were uprooted and placed upside down around the area to fill in the empty spaces to stimulate exotic vegetation and weeds were labeled with strange scientific plant names.

Adventureland 2000 2    Adventureland 2000 1

When Disneyland opened in 1955, the only attraction in Adventureland was the Jungle Cruise.  Taking inspiration from the Disney True-Life Adventure series, the imagineers developed a ride that simulated a trip down the major rivers of Asia, Africa and South America. The trip is led by a Disney cast member who drives the boat past several different scenes while offering the guests a humorous narration.  Originally the plan was to use live animals, but due to animal behavioral restrictions the imagineers instead created numerous animatronic animals so the scene was consistently the same for each ride.  The boat design was inspired by the 1951 movie “The African Queen” and the river that the boat rides through is only 5 feet deep and is dyed a blue-green color to obscure the boat tracks, other mechanical equipment and platforms used for the animatronic animals.  The Jungle Cruise river was originally 1,920 feet in length but it was shortened and rerouted twice, once in 1962 when the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction was added and again in 1994 for the Indiana Jones ride.

1961 Jungle Cruise

Located near the entrance to Adventureland is The Enchanted Tiki Room which opened in 1964 and it was the first attraction to feature a full cast of characters that used the technique developed by the Disney imagineers called audio-animatronics which was the computer synchronization of sound and robotics.  The 15 minute show features songs performed by over 150 animatronic birds, tropical flower and plants, carved Tiki Totems and even a magical fountain located in the center of the room.  Since 1976, the attraction has been sponsored by the Dole Food Company based in Hawaii, the theme of the attraction fits in perfectly with the tropical pineapple flavored frozen dessert, the Dole Whip, that is sold at the snack bar.  Long time visitors to Disneyland will remember a small restaurant called the Tahitian Terrace which was located adjacent to the Enchanted Tiki Room.  The restaurant served a variety of Polynesian food and also featured a show with Hawaiian musicians and dancers; the Polynesian culture was a very popular trend in Southern California during the early 1960s.  The restaurant was only open during the summer months until it was permanently closed in 1994.

Walt in Tiki Room    P5230164

In 1962, the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction was added to Adventureland, it is inspired by the 1960 Disney movie of the same name which was based on the 1812 book written by Johanna David Wyss.  The Swiss Family Treehouse was built in the area adjacent to Frointerland and the tree was officially given the Disney scientific name of “Disneyodendron semperfloren grandis” translated to mean a large ever-blooming artificial tree.  The tree was constructed of steel and concrete and measures 60 feet tall and 90 feet wide with its 450 branches covered with over 6,000 artificial leaves.  The Swiss Family Treehouse was a walk-through attraction and guests would climb the stairs into the treehouse to see the various rooms decorated with furniture and other items that the Robinson family supposedly salvaged from the ship wreak that caused them to be stranded on a deserted island.

Swiss Family Treehouse    Tarzan's Treehouse

(Photo on left is Swiss Family Treehouse and on the right is Tarzan’s Treehouse)

The Swiss Family Treehouse operated for over 36 years until it was closed to be refurbished and reopened in 1999 as Tarzan’s Treehouse which coincided with the release of the Disney animated movie, “Tarzan”.  The attraction was redecorated to reflects the style of the Tarzan movie.  (Travel tip: Look closely for tributes to the older Swiss Family Treehouse attraction for such items as the “Mind Thy Head sign and the antique gramophone playing the “Swisskapolka” that were both used on the original attraction.

old Swiss Fmily gramaphone

One of the most technically advanced rides in Disneyland is the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction which opened in 1995.  To accommodate the space needed for the queue area and the large 50,000 square foot show building, the Jungle Cruise attraction was rerouted and an area of the former parking lot was removed.  (An Eeyore parking sign is placed in the interior queue line as tribute, look for it in the projection room)  On the ride guests board military vehicles to join the famous archaeologist Indiana Jones as he travels through a lost temple in search of hidden treasures but the idol Mara has been angered and guests set off on a wild adventure.  The ride system was invented and patented by the Disney imaginer specifically for the Indiana Jones ride and each of the military vehicles is actually a motion simulator with three hydraulic systems attached underneath the chassis of the vehicle which can be operated independently creating a variety of motions that simulate speed, lift, reverse and other intense maneuvers.  (Travel tip: If the queue line is long don’t worry because there are fun things to see and do while waiting in the various areas of the line, such as in the exterior queue line look for the small mining car that was used in the Temple of Doom movie, in the spike room shake one of the bamboo support poles for sounds of the ceiling crashing overhead and don’t pull on the rope in another area of the queue line because one of the archeologists will give an angry response and after ride as guests exit the ride’s show building look for the Mercedes-Benz truck which was actually used in Raiders of the Lost Ark movie)

Indiana Jones sign Nov 97    Indiana Jones truck - outside queue


Frontierland is another original “land” of Disneyland and when the park being planned Western movies and television shows were very popular.  After passing through the fort façade at the entrance to Frontierland guests will see the street and buildings reminiscent of a small western town with raised wooden sidewalks, hitching posts for horses, also on the far corner down the street is the Golden Horseshoe Saloon and the boat dock for the Mark Twain Riverboat is location on the edge of the Rivers of America.  (Travel tip: Look for a tribute window to Fess Parker, the actor played Davy Crockett on the Disney television show that was very popular in the 1950s)

Frointerland sign

Just prior to the opening of Disneyland, Walt and Lillian Disney celebrated their 30th anniversary with a private party held at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon on July 13, 1955.  Then the day before the official opening of the park, on July 16, 1955, another private party was held for the corporate sponsors of Disneyland and the event marked the first performance of the long running Golden Horseshoe Saloon Revue starring Wally Boag as Pecos Bill.  The Golden Horseshoe Revue was the longest running show to be performed at Disneyland; it ran a record total of 39,000 times.  Many years later, another popular show starring Bill Hill and the Hillibillies ran from 1994 to early 2014 and featured bluegrass music.  An interesting trivia note regarding the Golden Horseshoe Saloon is that the famous Disney imagineer Harper Goff designed the interior and at the time that Disneyland was being built Goff had also recently designed a very similar set for the 1953 movie “Calamity Jane” starring Doris Day.  (Travel tip: Look for a large petrified wood tree stump which is located just outside the Golden Horseshoe Saloon on the edge of the Rivers of America, is was a gift from Walt to his wife for their 31st anniversary … of course the clever Lillian thought that it would look much better placed in Disneyland for everyone to enjoy instead of her backyard!)

Golden Horsehoe Revue

When Walt was planning Disneyland’s Frontierland, he wanted the Rivers of America to be busy with activity and the Mark Twain Riverboat was the perfect choice.  The Mark Twain is a grand steamboat that was built to 5/8 scale and measures 28 feet high and 105 feet long and weighs 150 tons.  The riverboat takes Disneyland guests on a 12 minute ride along the Rivers of America with wonderful views of Frontierland’s Tom Sawyer Island and New Orleans Square.  Available for a select few guests is the exciting opportunity to ride the Mark Twain from the pilot’s wheelhouse located on the top deck of the boat where they can stand behind the wheel for a fun photo, pull the rope to sound the boat’s loud horn and after a trip around the river guests are presented with a special Pilot Certificate which makes a great souvenir!  (Travel tip: On a trip around Tom Sawyer Island on board the Mark Twain, look for one of the old keel boats abandoned on the riverbank that guests will remember from years ago and also there is an old mine train standing on the tracks of the old Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland attraction.

Mark Twain    Columbia on the river

(Photo on the left is the Mark Twain and on the right is the Columbia)

After Disneyland had been open for several years, Walt decided that an additional large ship should be added to the Rivers of America.  The Sailing Ship Columbia opened in 1958 and it is a full scale historical replica of the Columbia Rediviva that was the first American ship to travel around the world.  When the 84 feet tall and 110 feet long ship was being built at the Todd Shipyard in San Pedro, Ca (the same place that the hull of the Mark Twain was made years earlier) Joe Fowler, the Disneyland construction boss and retired Naval admiral, told Disney that it was customary to put silver dollars under the mast of a ship for good luck and Disney personally placed one under each of the Columbia’s three masts.  The Columbia only runs on very busy days at Disneyland and both the Columbia and the Mark Twain will close early on the nights when the Fantasmic! show is performed because both are used in the popular nighttime extravaganza that can be seen along the Rivers of America.

When Tom Sawyer Island opened in 1956 it was a magical place for children and adults visiting Disneyland to explore the artificial island located in the middle of the Rivers of America.  For decades the Tom Sawyer themed island was reached only by the old keel boats (which closed in 177) and the river rafts and remained generally unchanged with areas such as, Tom and Huck’s Treehouse, Injun Joe’s Cave, Harper’s Mill, Fort Wilderness and on the far end of the island the Burning Settler’s Cave.  When the nighttime show Fantasmic! debuted in 1992 the area of Harper’s Mill was re-built to accommodate the equipment needed for the special effects used in the production.  Then after the success of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean franchise the island closed for refurbishment and reopened in 2007 when it was re-themed as the Pirate’s Lair.  The Harper’s Mill was renamed Lafitte’s Tavern where on occasion there is a performance by a pirate band called the Blige Rats, the former Injun Joe’s Cave has been changed with pirate sounds and interactive special effects and was renamed the Dead Man’s Grotto, the Smuggler’s Cove area of the island has also been changed with pirate themed refurbishments while the original Tom Sawyer Island old Suspension Bridge and Pontoon Bridge have remained intact.  Two additional pirate themed areas were added to the island, the Pirate’s Den features the remains of a shipwreck and an area called the Captain’s Treasure which features a large pile of pirate loot and occasionally the character of Captain Jack Sparrow can be found there for a wonderful photo opportunity.

Tom Sawyer Island

One of the most popular rides at Disneyland can be found in Frontierland and it is the Big Thunder Mountain attraction which is famously said to be “the wildest ride in the wilderness”!  Big Thunder is an exciting mine train roller coaster that takes guests on a ride through an area that looks a lot like Utah’s Bryce Canyon, the backstory of the ride is that the miners have trespassed onto a Native American sacred area and the place has become cursed with severe natural disasters and the mine train careens out of control!!  The Big Thunder attraction opened in 1979 on the site of the former Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland and Rainbow Ridge Pack Mule attractions of old Frontierland.  As a tribute to both those previous rides the small Rainbow Ridge mining town that was once located near the loading area of both attractions remains intact and the Rainbow Caverns that can be seen on the first lift of the Big Thunder attraction was also recreated as a special tribute to the former Frontierland attractions.  In 2013, Big Thunder closed for a major refurbishment and reopened in March 2014 with a completely new track, trains, and a new “dynamic” ending that features enhanced special effects!  (Travel tip: When riding the Big Thunder ride, as the train slowly drops to the right look for the audio-animatronic goat holding a stick of dynamite which is warning to the disaster to come!)

Big Thunder area Dec 1979 2    Big Thunder area Dec 1979 3

This post completes the tours of Adventureland and Frontierland but be sure to check out the four additional posts in the Disneyland series.  Part One – The history of Disneyland, Part Two – Main Street and Fantasyland, Part Four – New Orleans Square and Critter Country, Part Five – Tomorrowland and Mickey’s Toontown.