Big Thunder Ranch

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Big Thunder Ranch entrance in 2007

Big Thunder Ranch is an attraction at Disneyland. It includes an outdoor petting zoo, a walk-through cabin, and a variety of scenery meant to create the atmosphere of a Western ranch. It is located in Frontierland, close to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Inside one can find sheep, goats, cows, and other farm animals. Among these animals are the two turkeys who received presidential pardons in honor of Thanksgiving in 2008.[1] The attraction is hosted by Brawny.

Big Thunder Ranch will close permanently on January 10, 2016, as the attraction (and some nearby backstage areas) will be the future site of a 14-acre Star Wars-themed land.[2][3]


Big Thunder Ranch houses the Big Thunder log cabin, a building constructed in 1986 with real logs provided Rocky Mountain Log Company. The cabin was initially intended as a replica to simply be looked at by visitors, but it was later used as a gift store and finally as a children's crafts center. Disney Imagineering designed the building, and building designer Bob Ybarra drew the plans. Care was taken to use real materials and hide modern structural hardware to make the cabin look as authentic as possible.[4]

The cabin was accompanied by a petting zoo and a dining area known as the Big Thunder Barbecue.

Eventually the petting zoo was removed to make room for an outdoor theater that served as a home for a Hunchback of Notre Dame-themed live show titled Festival of Fools beginning in June 1996.[5] The show ended in April 1998;[5] Big Thunder Barbecue closed soon after.

The Ranch hosted the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show after they left the Golden Horseshoe Saloon until they left Disneyland on January 6, 2014 and moved to Knott's Berry Farm. After being used on occasion for special events and seasonal attractions for several years, the outdoor dining area reopened in spring 2009, serving seasonal confections and an all-you-can-eat American-style barbecue menu, including chicken, pork, sausage, beans, corncob, cornbread, coleslaw, lemonade and fruit cobbler. Musicians perform traditional American country and folklore sing-along on the stage and interact with diners.

The log cabin is now called "Miss Chris's Cabin" and has two large tables stocked with baskets of crayons and coloring pages.


The entire ranch rotates through seasonal-appropriate decorations:

  • Summertime Roundup decorations features summer flowers, eagles, and red/white/blue color motifs.
  • Autumntime Roundup decorations features fall flowers, carved pumpkins, and orange/brown/yellow color motifs.
  • Wintertime Roundup decorations features winter flowers, snow, and red/green/blue color motifs.
  • Springtime Roundup decorations features spring flowers, baby animals, and purple/yellow/green color motifs.

Big Thunder Ranch often hosts seasonal and holiday-themed shows, including Woody's All-American Roundup during Fourth of July events, Woody's Halloween Roundup during Halloween events, and Santa's Reindeer Roundup during Christmas events.


  1. ^ French, Sally. "President Bush pardons turkeys to be sent to Disneyland". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  2. ^ Pimentel, Joseph (September 10, 2015). "Construction on Disney's 'Star Wars'-themed land begins next year". Orange County Register. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ Lenker, Margaret (September 25, 2015). "Disneyland’s ‘Star Wars’ Addition Prompts Ride Closures". Variety. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Projects remembered - Disneyland Big Thunder Ranch". Building Designer. Retrieved 2015-10-10. 
  5. ^ a b

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Coordinates: 33°48′51″N 117°55′13″W / 33.8143°N 117.9204°W / 33.8143; -117.9204