July 1955 – present
Frontierland was dedicated on Opening Day in 1955 as a land to memorialize and celebrate the past. Originally, the land had no attractions and served as an open space for guests to take rides on wagons and pack mules, or to wander a number of walking trails. A small mine train also led guests around the beautiful landscape, but it closed in 1977 to make room for the headline attraction Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Today, Frontierland is home to numerous shows, classic Mexican/American food, boat rides to the island, and a western ranch. Though there aren’t as many rides as the other primary lands connected to Main Street USA, Frontierland remains a popular stop for families to reminisce and celebrate the life of the pioneers.
Guests entering Frontierland from the central hub on Main Street USA cross a pine log bridge into the 19th century American Wild West. Simple old-fashioned shops and eateries adorn the main walkway, and the popping of the shooting gallery or riverboat horns echo off the storefronts. The main drag of Frontierland leads directly to the Rivers of America, with Big Thunder Mountain towering over the waterfront. Since it’s beginning, Frontierland has offered nostalgic guests a peak into the past, and has become an iconic part of Disneyland.
CHARACTERS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition
- Mark Twain Riverboat & Sailing Ship Columbia
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Bonanza Outfitters
- Crockett & Russel Hat Co.
- Davy Crockett’s Pioneer Mercantile
- Westward Ho Trading Co.
The Big Thunder Mountain rock formations are based on those found in Bryce Canyon, Utah.
Pay close attention to the River Belle Terrace building. It fits right into the frontier landscape, right? Continue walking around the outside of the building, and you will see the exterior change. The decor slightly changes on each side to fit New Orleans Square and Adventureland as well. This is the only building in the park that sits in three different lands. You’ll be amazed that it’s the same restaurant when you see it from each side.
I must admit…I definitely spend the least amount of time in Frontierland of any of the main lands. The only attraction that is a must for me is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. However, I love walking the path from Fantasyland to Frontierland, because it has beautiful views of Rivers of America and cool frontier-themed details, like horseshoe imprints on the ground.
If you love the old west more than I do, you’re in luck…Frontierland never has much traffic aside from Big Thunder Mountain. Grab a fast pass and you can visit this area whenever it fits into your touring plan.
Pro tip – Rancho del Zocalo is a fantastic place to take a breather and/or have a snack. The atmosphere in there is like no other restaurant in the park, and it’s relatively quiet throughout the day.