Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Backstories: Big Thunder Mountain

Unusually for an attraction at Disneyland, a song commissioned for Big Thunder Mountain actually contained a lot of the backstory for the attraction not available in other places. I've included a YouTube video containing the song, with the lyrics below.



The Legend of Thunder Mountain

At Big Thunder Mountain station there’s a frighten trembling man,
His body’s weak and feeble and his skin has left his hand,
When I asked him for a ticket, he turned and shook his head,
He grabbed my by the shoulder and this is what he said:

"Before you get on board this train there’s something you should know,
When I finish with this tale you might not want to go."
I listened with amazement at what he said was true,
And now my friend the time has come to tell this tale to you.

Hear the legend, of Thunder Mountain,
Victory come and tries to stay away,
From Big Thunder, Mountain railroad,
Thunder Mountain Railroad ran away!

He said as legend has it on one foggy night in June,
The train and crew pulled out as well beneath the darken moon,
With a boiler full of water and a tender full of coal,
The whistle screamed a warning as the wheels began to roll.

Then like a bucking bronco with a cougar on it’s back,
The train began to run away on miles and miles of track,
What happened to the crew that night no one has ever learned,
The train pulled in all by itself, the men did not return.

Hear the legend, of Thunder Mountain,
Victory come and tries to stay away,
From Big Thunder, Mountain railroad,
Thunder Mountain Railroad ran away!

The history of Big Thunder, continues to unfold,
The stories of its danger continue to be told,
Of avalanche and rattle snakes and earthquakes in the night,
And voices of that phantom crew that chill your blood with fright.

So please forgive me mister if I’m standing in your way,
But before you buy your ticket, there’s one thing I have to say:

Hear the legend, of Thunder Mountain,
Victory come and tries to stay away,
From Big Thunder, Mountain railroad,
Thunder Mountain Railroad ran away!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Backstories: Grizzly Peak

In this Backstories series, I want to collect together the prosaic backstories and descriptions the Imagineers write to outline their attraction projects. These range from verbal tours of the ride, describing what the guest will see and when they'll see them, to the fictional histories and stories written to establish a location and explain why things are the way they are there. These backstories are often extremely well written, provide a depth of information about an attraction, and are quite simply just fun to read.

The first backstory is for the Grizzly Peak area in the Golden State land of Disney's California Adventure. This is one of the few backstories that is directly told to the guests, inscribed upon a rock near the entrance to the Grizzly River Run.

The Legend of Grizzly Peak

Long ago, Ah-ha-le, the Coyote met Oo-soo-ma-te, the Grizzly Bear on top of the mountain. Seeing that the Grizzly was a powerful being, Coyote asked him to always watch over and protect the land. Then one day, people came and tried to chase Oo-soo ma-te from the mountain. But Grizzly was strong and held his ground. When Coyote saw the brave bear standing alone against so many, he turned Oo-soo-ma-te into stone so he could never be driven away. To this day, people claim they can hear the great bear spirit in the wind that roars through the caverns and trees of Grizzly Peak.