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Disneyland Article
Back To The Old West

Frontierland Shooting Gallery
Cal Jones
November 19, 2016
November 19, 2016
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If it was in the West, it's here. The Mark Twain Riverboat docks at the aptly named Mark Twain Landing in Frontierland.

The first train ride, apart from the Disneyland Railroad, was the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, opening in 1960; the Mine Train closed in 1977, and Big Thunder Mountain opened two years later. The two rides could not be more different. The Mine Train was a slow, relaxing ride with scenic western dioramas. Thunder Mountain is, from its backstory, a haunted train ride, with locomotives racing around a sacred mountain that had been desecrated by settlers mining gold. The two trains are built on the same bit of land.

The town that is adjacent to the queuing area and station is called Rainbow Ridge, which had overlooked the Mine Train loading platform. It includes a saloon, hotel, mercantile, and assayer's office, which tested the purity of precious metals. Many of the animatronic animals also used to be on the Mine Train. Other allusions include Rainbow Caverns, which are the glowing pools of water by the first lift, the precariously balanced rock by the third lift tunnel, and even the name. "Big Thunder" was the name of a large waterfall that the train passed.

When it was first built, the Land was centered on the wilderness, transversed via stagecoach, pack mule, walking trails or the Conestoga Wagon, a type of heavy covered wagon. That was all of the attractions until the Mine Train was built. All of these lasted until 1959, save the pack mules until 1973.

The Shooting Gallery has gone through several different incarnations, currently as the Frontierland Shootin' Exposition. It was the Gallery from 1957 to 1984, then the Shootin' Arcade from 1985 until 1996, and it's been the Exposition ever since. At first, lead pellets were used and targets had to be painted every night. In 1985, the pellets were switched to infrared light, which triggered a humorous reaction when on target. One dollar gives you thirty-five shots.

Tom Sawyer Island and all of the boats are considered to be part of Frontierland, but I've placed them in with the Rivers of America, considering that they are either surrounded by or operated on the Rivers. Frontierland has the longest shoreline, making it a prime viewing area for Fantasmic!

Elk or deer antlers were commonly placed on general stores so Cowboys knew where to get supplies. The Westward Ho Trading Co. has, from what I can tell, elk antlers on its roof. One store front, "Crockett and Russell Hat Co.," has a window honoring Davy Crockett actor, Fess Parker. Other Davy Crockett attractions included an Arcade and a Frontier Museum, closing in 1987 and 1955 respectively.

The Golden Horseshoe Saloon has been in the park since opening. It was first used in a private party for Walt and Lillian Disney's thirtieth anniversary a few days before the park officially opened.

The first show was Slue Foot Sue's Golden Horseshoe Revue. Slue Foot Sue was the saloon owner and she and her dance hall girls sang, and there would also be skits featuring a traveling salesman, and Pecos Bill would interrupt the show with his self-titled signature song. The Revue ran until 1986, making it the longest running musical of all time, listed in the Guinness Book of Records with 39,000 performances.

It was replaced by the Golden Horseshoe Jamboree Show a couple of months after the Revue ended. In 1999, the Jamboree Show was traded for Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, a bluegrass and comedy troupe. In 2014, they moved to Knott's Berry Farm Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.

Disney's son-in-law, Ron Miller, directed a made-for-television movie in 1962 for the Revue's 10,000th performance, which aired as an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. It starred Annette Funicello, Wally Boag, and Walt, himself.

Frontierland connects to the Central Plaza through fort style gates made from ponderosa pine logs. It borders Fantasyland by way of Big Thunder Trail, New Orleans Square, and Adventureland.
Attractions Referenced

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Billy Hill And The Hillbillies (Golden Horseshoe Stage)

Conestoga Wagons

Disneyland Railroad

Disneyland Stage Coach


Frontierland Shooting Exposition

Frontierland Shooting Gallery

Golden Horseshoe Jamboree

Mark Twain Riverboat

Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland

Pack Mules Through Nature's Wonderland

Tom Sawyers Island

Lands Referenced




New Orleans Square

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