The Indians were made out of fiberglass from a mold. Indian Joe was originally supposed to look like a carved Cigar Store Indian from the Victorian era. The Frontierland carved Indian Chief has a brown cape, while the Main Street Indian Chief has a teal green cape. Because of the natural wear and tear of fiberglass both chiefs are usually replaced every 5-7 years.
Cigar Store Indians are a form of American Folk Art dating back to the 1800s. They were commonly placed on the walk in front of tobacconist shops to direct illiterate customers to the shop. Since there were so many immigrants who couldn't read English, it was common to use visual trade signs such as a carving instead of written signs to bridge the language barrier.
*Note the Elvis pumpkin on the 20th Century Music Company sign behind Joe.
River Belle Terrace (1971-Present)
River Belle Terrace has been sponsored by Oscar Meyer, Hormel, and Sunkist. At present, it has no sponsor.
Scenic Specialties at a Classic Venue
Sit down to a leisurely lunch or dinner while enjoying riverfront views at this iconic Disneyland Park eatery.
Located in the heart of Frontierland, River Belle Terrace has remained a fan favorite for generations and provides memorable meals that delight all ages. You may even catch a glimpse of the Mark Twain Riverboat gliding down the Rivers of America as you feast on fare from a Southern menu loaded with charm.
Sit-Down Dining with Southern Flair
No matter what time of day you’re joining us, you’ll find variety of delicious dishes that are sure to satiate any appetite. At lunch and dinner, choose from a bounty of hearty crowd-pleasers like Mac & Cheese, Tofu and a Pulled Pork Sandwich. For dessert, treat yourself to House-made Pudding or Monkey Bread.
60' tall with 40' “roots” - Swiss Family Tree house was based on the 1960 Disney movie “Swiss Family Robinson.” Guests could look into the rooms of the shipwrecked family and see their furniture, supplies, and ship parts. The Tree house was a combination of European goods and primitive jungle products, and even included plumbing! A water wheel drove a continuous supply of scoops, carrying water to the top of the tree. The water dumped into a system of bamboo gutters that provided running water. In early 1999, the giant artificial tree received a massive makeover, including thousands of replacement vinyl leaves (originally there were 300,000) and a new suspension bridge entrance from a new neighboring tree. In June 1999, the newly themed Tarzan’s Tree house was unveiled just as Disney’s animated “Tarzan” opened in theaters. Guests can still hear “Swisskapolka” on the old gramophone.
Jason Chandler is a character that was created for the unbuilt Disneyland concept Discovery Bay and early versions of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. In recent years, however, he has been incorporated into the Society of Explorers and Adventurers storyline in the parks and appeared as a major character in Disney Kingdoms: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Jason Chandler was a 19th century inventor who was a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. By 1851 he served as the club secretary under president of SEA Vitale Robustelli. At some point following this, Chandler would rise to the position of president of the society while continuing developing his own inventions. By the 1880s, he would begin selling this technology to the Big Thunder Mining Company for their operations in Big Thunder Mountain to assist his friend from SEA, Barnabas T. Bullion.
Jason Chandler was an inventor, who built a drill big and powerful enough to dig into the hardest of places. It attracted the attention of Barnabas T. Bullion, who bought it off of him to mine into Big Thunder Mountain. The two became close friends, going on expeditions together, exchanging letters, and visiting each other. However, Chandler was more cognizant of the troubles that would come with the mining, believing the stories about Big Thunder and urging his friend to stop before it was too late.
Chandler joined the Society of Explorers and Adventurers in the mid-1800s, as a secretary as early as 1851 and later as a chairman. He went on expeditions with other members, including one with Captain Brieux on the Hyperion ship to chart flying animals.
There are four different versions of Big Thunder: One at Disneyland, one in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, one at Disneyland Paris, and one at Tokyo Disneyland. With that said, the story of Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain may differ from that of the other park’s attractions. I know for a fact that Disneyland Paris’s Big Thunder is set in their version of Frontierland which has a completely different story and connects with their version of The Haunted Mansion!
The setting of Big Thunder is in the city of Rainbow Ridge, a small town that grew quickly when gold was found within Big Thunder Mountain. You can see the theming of Frontierland hint towards this town in mulitple places, especially back on Big Thunder Trail.
Once the gold was found, miners started using pick axes and other hand tools to get to the gold. Little did the townspeople or workers know, Big Thunder Mountain is actually the location of an ancient Indian burial ground, and the destruction of the mountain by the miners displeased the spirits.
The miners then decided that the hand tools weren’t working well enough, and that they could get rich faster with a different method: explosives. Thus, the miners started blowing up sections of the mountain. This was too much for the Indian ancestors, who decided to fight back against the miners and townsfolk.
Accidents started occurring at the Big Thunder Mountain Mining Co., with explosives blowing up on their own and mine trains running all by themselves. Big Thunder is the only attraction that has ‘trains’ that aren’t driven by a person.
After mining became too dangerous because of the spirit’s anger, the mining company and the town of Rainbow Ridge was abandoned. That’s why there are animals crawling all over Big Thunder, because there are no people to scare them away!
Two mountains visible at night!
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".