"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 September 2005. In May of 2016, I finally got the layout to a point where I declared it "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.

Happy 50th Anniversary Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland!

May 28, 1960

On this day in 1960, the "E" Ticket Disneyland attraction opened to the public after it's major expansion from it's previous incarnation, The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train.  For those who don't know what the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland was, it was 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. It existed until 1977 when it was torn out for a higher speed mine train ride-- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

To this day, it still boggles me why I even have an interest in the attraction, let alone reserching the subject for a half a decade and building a model of it. I was born way too late to experience it. After hearing about a "Rainbow train ride" from my grandfather when I was little, I was intrigued by this attraction and wanted to know more about. It wasn't until the internet where my knowledge about the attraction exploded and I was immersed. I think it was the large variety of elements that grabbed me, some new and never before seen and others done in a new way. This ride 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. It... looked .... awesome.

It's a shame such an example of Walt Disney greatest attractions is not around anymore, it was the victim of progress. Hopefully, someday, it can be resurrected in some form. But for now, for some it'll remain in the memories, for many (like myself) it'll be preserved in countless photos and stories told by older relatives.

The last word in the attraction name sums it up well; it truly was a land of wonders that inspired the imagination and continues to today.


But what's left of this attraction? I pooled together all of my research and created this map that shows where many of the features and nods from the attraction are today. Of course, there are quite a few more, but these are the major ones.

All photo credits go to their respective owners.


But what about layout progress? Not much since my last update, mainly working on the waterfalls. Since then, I've had a very hectic semester finale and a bunch of side projects that have gotten in the way. But, school is out (but work is in!) so progress will resume on the layout shortly.