The once wild and untamed western lands of America have always been a source of fantastical retellings from the mundane to the outright bizarre and believe me, ya’ll can find plenty of both and more besides in the aptly named Frontierland. Of the lands, I’d say that Frontierland’s primary feature are eateries large and small and plenty o’ spaces to hide from the unrelenting Florida sun and its oft infamous storms during the rainy seasons. While not strictly for adults, Frontierland is not entirely young child friendly either as its two chief attractions, at least those that are the most iconized in pictures, are for older, that is to say, taller audiences.
First and foremost on near everyone’s mind when they look back on this here wild country of a land is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a roller coaster ride that takes riders through a cavernous mountain mine where it’s never quite certain which is gonna collapse first, the mountain or the mine rails. As far as most coasters go, this one is a definite green as most of the excitement comes from the high speeds and interesting sights to see including, but not in any way limited to, a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
Next up is the ride that is equal parts anonymous and famous, Splash Mountain. As a ride, this one is pretty recognizable as being the sole water log ride to be found, currently, in Walt Disney World as a whole. Splash Mountain is oftentimes the icon of Frontierland and while not the tallest sight to see in the park, it is a hard sight to miss once one enters critter country. The ride itself plays to the tale of Brer Rabbit from the feature Songs of the South, one of the few Disney films that will likely never see a modernized release due to the fact that…
Well, no beating around the bush with this one, it’s primarily about a young boy told tales of the South by his family’s head slave, Uncles Remus. While the animated segments of this film can be found in various forms, most often in other films’ special features that hold old episodes hosted by Walt Disney himself, the entirety of the film is, as of today, an exceptionally rare find.
As to the contents of Splash Mountain, it is as I said a somewhat wet retelling of Brer Rabbit’s adventures away from and back to the briar patch from whence he lived whilst dodging the wily, and comical, shenanigans of Brer Fox and Brer Bear. While it is a water log ride, it’s not too hard to stay dry depending on where one sits. As far as drops, there is only one truly big one deserving the word with a few smaller ones scattered about. Again, no major fear of getting wet but still something to look out for if you’ve got delicate devices.
Last, and arguably least, is the Country Bear Jamboree, which is akin to the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland in that it is a stage show wherein a… pack? Pride? Hold on… Huh, alright then, a sleuth of bears sing and perform old-style country music complete with actual instruments. While I would call any of their songs gold worthy, which averages at about a dozen songs per show but has been subject to change over the years, if you happen to hold even a token of affection for country music, or simply bears in general, this is the show for you to see.
Aside from these notable attractions, there are some distractions to be had in a classic, if a bit outdated mind you, Shootin’ Arcade and Tom Sawyer Island. While the arcade is as its name implies, though admittedly I myself have never partaken in it due mostly to the fact that i couldn’t shoot a barn door if it were two feet in front of me, I did explore the likes of Tom Sawyer Island myself when I was younger. It is… enjoyable as I recall but compared to the likes of the one in Disneyland, I’m told that one needs to have a bit more than cursory knowledge of Mark Twain’s famous novel. There is also a rather enjoyable bit of relaxation to be found in the likes of a Mark Twain Riverboat ride that circles around Tom Sawyer Island. A good spot to people watch and a rather nostalgic feeling ride on the lake waters if I’m honest.
On to the eateries, oh boy, where do I even begin? Though it don’t look it from a glance, Frontierland has four places of note, each with their own distinct specialty of grub. Westward Ho Refreshments is a place to quench one’s thirst while Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe has one of the best burritos I’ve ever had bar none. However, if fine dining is what yer aimin’ for, that can be found in spades at the nearby Diamond Horseshoe restaurant but be warned, there’s a mighty fine reason why the main dish is labelled as a saloon feast.
As to the shops, there’s four in all with some, such as Big Al’s or the Briar Patch, that focus on items unique to Frontierland be they actual Disney characters like Woody and Jesse from Toy Story or those that fit the theme of the land like (fake) coonskin capes and cowboy hats. Even some blatantly toy guns can be found at the right location though I warn ya’ll now, those little varmints–erm, that is to say, them little tykes have far better aim with those imaginary bullets than one might expect especially when they make the appropriate sound effect to accompany the motion.
While the likes of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear are exceedingly rare to find in Frontierland, one can still find the likes of Woody, Jesse, and on rare occasion even ol’ Bullseye himself wandering the streets. However, and I do apologize to those who’ve read my review of Adventureland for being remiss of this, there are distinct variations of Mickey and Friends whom can be found across the park. While not currently found with absolute certainty, there have been reports of Goofy, Donald, and the ever lovable duo of Chip and Dale wandering about.