Frontierland is a Disneyland Throwback


There are few lands in Disneyland that are as untouched by the passage of time as Frontierland. Not originally themed after any Disney movie or characters, this area of Disneyland is an ode to the love of the Old West characteristic of the time that Disneyland was built. A day in Frontierland today is probably fairly close experience to the Frontierland Walt walked through, with the exception of the modern Fantasmic.

Originally, Frontierland did not have any rides. In fact, it was just a wide expanse of land until Big Thunder Mountain was built. Over time, more attractions were added but they all stayed true to the old timey natural feel of the land. Recently, Frontierland was closed, some of the key areas were co-opted into the new Star Wars land, but when reopened still stayed true to its original theme.

As always, when starting in any land, it’s best to get a meal in before heading onto any lines for rides. Turns out, a funnel cake is a completely acceptable breakfast. It’s almost a waffle and conveniently located at the Stage Door Café. Another acceptable brunch option is the corndogs which some claim to rival the Main Street Little Red Wagon corndog. High praise indeed.
After filling those bellies, head over to the Mark Twain Riverboat. It’s a nice ride around the picturesque Rivers of America. If the steam paddle boat isn’t too crowded, consider asking a Cast Member if you and the little can ride up in the wheel house. If blessed with this opportunity, make sure to get that souvenir certificate and take a pull on the horn exhaust. “Hooonnnk, Hooooonk,” as they say.

More interested in an open air ride? Head over to the the Sailing Ship Columbia where the ship, based on a real 18th-century schooner, features replicas of flags from the American revolution. A great dose of history for kids learning about United States history.  

The big thrill of Frontierland is Big Thunder Mountain. This beloved attraction is one of the longer lines in the land but worth experiencing the rugged Gold Rush feel that in imbued in so much of the area. Experts riders may consider staring at the billy goat on the peak during the big turns as it’s supposed to make the ride more thrilling by inducing an extra level of dizziness.
After working up a bit of an appetite, stop into the Golden Horseshoe Café. Walt and Lillian Disney actually celebrated their 30th anniversary in this venue. It now features a show that has changed over the years and currently features a humorous country music and comedy act. Tuck into some Fish and Chips or Chili Cheese Fries in a bread bowl here but make sure to save room for the star of the Café: Sundaes. House-made browned butter chocolate chunk cookie sundae is on the menu but it’s rumored that one can order a special off menu ice cream nachos dessert that is ideal for groups.

Work off all that sugar by hopping a raft over to Tom Sawyer’s Island. It has been rethemed as Pirate’s Lair but still features the same open ended play that the original island was known for. There are nooks and crannies, caves and bridges to explore. Quite frankly, it’s one of the few places in the park where it actually feels like a park. There is very little by way of pirate themes on the island other than some treasure chests and one or two references to the Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s definitely one of the less crowded areas of Disneyland in general but it closes by sunset or 5pm.

After hopping off the island, the shooting gallery next to Silver Spur Supplies is a nostalgic way to start wrapping up the day. This is sadly one of the more neglected parts of the area as the shooting gallery is not in 100% functioning order but maybe that’s the point. Step into Silver Spur Supplies for some trading post action; pin trading that is. Or if your littles happened to really enjoy the shooting gallery, pick up a now orange and green toy gun at Pioneer Merchantile, a more colorful version of an old favorite souvenir for many.

Lastly, round the night out with a Riverbelle Terrace and Fantasmic dinner package. One of only two restaurants that offers special seating for Fantasmic, with a reservation and the cost of $45 per adult and $25 per child between 3 and 9, a 3 course dinner and specialty reserved seat viewing is included. For another $25, seats on the Riverbelle Terrace that overlook Fantasmic are also available. The 3 courses includes either a salad or soup, entre and dessert and completely worth it considering the time it saves families from having to camp out for a good seat for the show.

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1313 S Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
Phone: (714) 781-4636

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