Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach: July 1955 – September 1959
Conestoga Wagons: August 1955 – September 1959
Frontierland – The Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach and the Conestoga Wagons shared a large trail along the rear of Frontierland. To board one of the vehicles, guests walked down the main Frontierland street to the loading area, on the right-hand side of the Rivers of America. The trail wound around the hills of Frontierland, and both Big Thunder Ranch and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad now occupy this space.
The Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach opened as part of the original Frontierland landscape. Unlike its loud and exciting neighbors, Frontierland was the quiet break from the chaos of the park. Its only attraction, the Stagecoach, was a slow journey through the wilderness, without any animatronics or other special effects used in other lands. A month later, the Conestoga Wagons joined the Stagecoach on the Frontierland trail, and these vehicles were meant to recreate the experiences pioneers had aboard the original Conestoga Wagons in the western United States. Though several vehicles explored the trails at the same time, each ride gave passengers a feeling of quiet isolation and a sense of adventure unique to the mysterious wilderness of Frontierland.
Guests looking for a scenic ride through the Wild West had the choice of two types of vehicles: a grand stagecoach or smaller wagon. Both types of vehicles followed the same trail, which wound along the Rivers of America and into the Living Desert. The Desert had a variety of unusual sights and exotic plants, including balancing rocks, colorful mud patches, and unusual cacti. Finally, the vehicles wound back around the rock formations and returned to central Frontierland.
The Stagecoach and Wagons had quite a few problems during their brief run. The stagecoach tipped over a few times, and the horses didn’t always cooperate with drivers. In both cases, passengers occasionally became stranded in the outer regions of Frontierland, and had to walk back to town along the dirt roads. And the lines for the stagecoach and wagons were massive. The slow-moving vehicles could only carry a few guests at a time, so lines often stretched far beyond the loading area.
These issues, combined with Frontierland’s gradual progression into a more lively land with large attractions, sealed the fate of the Stagecoach and Wagons. All of Frontierland’s old-fashioned vehicles hung up the reins in the fall of 1959, and construction to expand the Mine Train track began in the spring of 1960.
For its first year of operation, the Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach was known only as the “Stagecoach Ride”. The Stagecoach adopted its longer name in 1956 when the Living Desert expanded and become the highlight of the trail ride.
A Conestoga wagon returned to Disneyland from 1998-2008, in the form of a McDonald’s French fry stand called “Conestoga Fries”.
The Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach returned to Frontierland to mark the park’s 50th anniversary. It had a special “50” plaque and stood outside of Big Thunder Ranch.