"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.

April 2011 Update

The Battling Elk sculpts have finally been redone and finished; now it's a matter of getting them installed on their mechanism, painted, and area scenic detailing.

The left shot shows the scale difference between my original figures and the new figures. The right shot gives a sense of scale of the new figures. 

Here's a video that shows the general movement of the elk on their mechanisms. While I would have liked to have their legs move like in the original ride, they were just too delicate and small to mechanize. 

Next month's update will show the actual mechanism itself, plus the finished scene. 

Virtual Wonderland

On a Nature's Wonderland related note, I've slowly been working on a CG version of the Mine Train. Since the world is leaning towards doing everything in the computer and less physical models, I'm having to teach myself how to compete in the ever-evolving world of movie studios, architectural and design firms, and even Imagineering. So, as a little project in addition to other modeling for school projects, I decided to bring my favorite attraction into the 3D medium. I won't be recreating the entire attraction (yet....) since I'm just learning and working on small scale things (I don't want to take a bite out I can't chew ).

Here's a little sample of where just the locomotive it at.

And here is a little bit of the work flow, which shows the sand pipe being modeling in Maya.

In other NWRR "News"

Normally the layout is only known to the public through this blog. I've checked the stats and the views have risen slowly over time and it's relayed through-out cyber space. But within the last month, it really went "public".

I got an email from a guy named Mark Eades, who was a reporter for the OC Register (and a former Disneyland CM and Imagineer). Being how great the register has been with covering what's going down at Disneyland and reflecting back on it's history, I was intrgued. He said he was doing a story on the old Mine Train ride and he had noticed my blog. He thought it would make a great story for the Register and he asked if he could do an interview. Being that the register was an "official" establishment and not some freaky fan-run unofficial website, I naturally said yes.

Although there wasn't much to show, since only half of the layout was finished, the layout did get cleaned up and the finished areas given a touch-up. Everything went smoothly during the video and photo sessions. It was really odd being in front of the camera, since I'm so use to being behind the camera and doing everything myself. It was interesting to see how they documented it from their perspective.


(Didn't realize how flat and monotone my voice was ( I really don't think I sound like that!))

The day after the article was posted, I went downstairs to the dispatch office at work, and there it was, all printed up and pinned on the bulletin board-- the article. Honestly, I didn't know how to feel; I liked the fact that it was noticed (probably by one of the managers), but at the same time, having the entire Disneyland Custodial Department (and probably the rest of the park) know about my unusual hobby of building a dead theme park ride did make me feel a little awkward. Something like this is something I would just keep to myself since I don't like to toot my own horn too much; especially at work where you have a few people that could care less about the park's history and would see people that knew too much about the place as "obsessed".

However, my coworkers that saw it and said something to me about it were all appreciative of the work I did and were very impressed. The newspaper version was later printed and it got more praise and exposure.  In the end, after cringing a bit over all my coworkers knowing about I what I do when not at "The Park", it was a good move and looks really good on a resumé.

And now everyone knows why I take a lot of time when working around Big Thunder!