"Howdy Folks! Welcome to the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge, the gateway to Nature's Wonderland"

This is my documentation of my miniature re-creation of the long-gone Disneyland attraction: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland. This is a selectively compressed model railroad, in On30 scale at 5' X 7.5' that has been in progress since 2005; even after almost 10 years of work, it's still not finished.

I started the layout when I was a sophomore in high school with basic skills and over the years the layout has been improved and reworked in drastic ways to match my ever improving model making skills. In fact, since I started rebuilding the sections to better quality and standards, I've actually created a whole new layout, piece by piece.

This is a stand-by basis project without a deadline, so it tends to hit the back-burner a lot due to other things with higher priorities. But whenever I can, I'll give an update when there is something worth talking about. All of my updates since day one are here, which include photos, videos, and plenty of rambling notes and descriptions.




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The NWRR Project

This project is a recreation of the 1960 Disneyland attraction, Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland in On30 scale. This is a selectively compressed layout, not a true inch-for-inch scale model, because of the large scale of the project squeezed onto a rather small 4' X 7' table. So, elements from the original ride to be shifted, moved, eliminated, modified, or distorted, but all the major areas of the attraction are represented. Despite the compromises, close attention to detail is included within those areas.

What prompted me to build such a layout still puzzles me to this day. I wasn't even around when the attraction was open and I wouldn't enter the world several years after it was replaced. I think it was all the elements the attraction had that made it so appealing: it had western towns, mountains, tunnels, hills, deserts, sandstone rocks, trestles, lakes, ponds, rivers, glowing caverns, geysers, mud pots, dinosaur bones, jiggling rocks, a variety of animals, it had trains, and it was a Disney ride.


Above, the mine train model as it appeared in 'The "E" Ticket' magazine in early 2006

The layout was originally started in September of 2005, when I was just a sophomore in high school with basic model making skills. Since then, there have been countless changes and modifications which are still under-way. With my ever-improving skills as a model maker, the model should reflect that skill level. Now almost 5 years later, the layout is in a construction state that is almost similar to how it was since the day I started. Areas have been rebuilt from the ground up and quality has certainly gone up. Through expansion, the layout is now measuring about 5' X 7.5". Since this project hits the back burner a lot, there is no estimated completion date as things will always continue to change and improve. But, after almost half a decade, I'm pretty close to finishing, and I think by the end of 2011/early 2012 (if things go well) I just might have every single little detail in.

The ever changing layout, as it appears in early 2010 and below now in early 2011


What is "Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland"?

Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland was a Disneyland attraction created in 1960. It is an upgrade from it's former self, the Rainbow Caverns Mine train, which opened in 1956. The attraction covered a very large chunk of Frontierland and featured over 200 Audio-Animatronics and featured themes and scenery from Walt Disney's popular True-Life adventure films. As guests board one of 4 battery powered faux steam locomotive trains, they passed by the sprawling town of Rainbow Ridge which also served as the loading area for the pack mule attraction. From there the guests were treated to views of Beaver Valley, Cascade Peak, Bear Country (not the land known as Critter Country today) the Living Desert, Cactus Forest, Balancing Rock Canyon, and the magnificent Rainbow Caverns.

The attraction lasted until 1977 when it was replaced by a much higher speed train ride, Big Thunder Mountain. Today remnants of the original Mine Train attraction are still around, like large Buttes from the Living Desert, the buildings from Rainbow Ridge (Re-arranged for the Big Thunder Loading area), although half buried in concrete the rock formations for the geyser corner, the tunnels to and from Cascade Peak, Bear Country pond, and some animals AA's from the attraction. Other remnants that survived that have been torn down in later years include Cascade Peak, the bear scratching his back on the tree, and soon, the last remaining mine train staged as a wrecked train.