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Most Walt Disney World guests of Magic Kingdom are drawn first to the three mighty mountains: Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain. Fun, fast, and fascinating, Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain stand in Frontierland, and Space Mountain is located in Tomorrowland.
Thunder Mountain, an outdoor roller coaster, acts as an old mine train. As the ride begins, the coaster slowly clambers up a steep incline. Once over the peak, the train picks up speed. Soaring through canyons and mountains, the ride feels as if it is going 80 miles per hour although it actually only reaches a speed of approximately 35 mph. The train flies past geysers, waterfalls, and giant rock formations. Eventually, it comes back to a stop in the station in which it started.
The front of the train cannot pick up speed until the caboose is over the hill. Therefore, passengers who want more speed for a longer amount of time should ride in the back of the train. If longing for something even faster, ride this attraction at night. During the day the grease on the track melts, making it slicker and therefore quicker as the hours pass.
Over twenty Hidden Mickeys can be found in this attraction. I have seen one reflected on the water in a cave. Finding them all is a challenge.
Positioned beside Thunder Mountain is Splash Mountain, the most relaxing of the three powerful peaks. Based on the story of Brer Rabbit, this mostly tranquil log ride allows guests to observe his adventures. Other than a few small splashes of water and relatively minor hills, the majority of the attraction is mostly dry and calm. However, when Brer Rabbit is captured by Brer Fox and Brer Bear and thrown into the Briar Patch, the guests go with him, landing fifty feet below! The huge splash that results is guaranteed to get passengers wet. The attraction ends cheerfully while the characters sing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” as the log sails to a stop at the exit.
At the end of the ride is a Splash Mountain gift shop. It contains a pressed penny machine (which has the designs for both this and Thunder Mountain), board games, T-shirts, and more. Pictures of guests going down the fifty foot hill are also available to buy.
Some people choose to wear ponchos on this ride. Others may ride it to cool themselves off in the afternoon. Be aware that you most likely will get wet, though not as much so as on Kali-River-Rapids. If ridden in the morning when the water is cool, this attraction could make guests chilly.
Last, but definitely not least of the three strong summits is Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster. Each space shuttle seats six passengers in a single-file line. After guests board and the rocket ship begins to move, a countdown to blast off can be seen on the wall. At zero, the roller coaster zooms downward then straightens back out. At a speed of about 28 miles per hour, the ship speedily soars through space. The interior of the building, being exceptionally dark, prohibits guests from seeing the track in front of them and therefore knowing when the vehicle will rise, fall, or turn. Eventually, the ship returns to the boarding dock.
Although it is actually considerably slower, this attraction feels swifter than Thunder Mountain. Bracing for turns is hard because passengers cannot see the track in front of them. Additionally, the seats are small and have no neck support. These nuisances do not bother my brothers and me, though they do annoy my parents.
Of the three mighty mountains of Magic Kingdom, this roller-coaster lover’s favorite is Space Mountain, though the rest of my family likes Splash Mountain best. However, we all agree that these are three great attractions in Magic Kingdom.