Wednesday, May 06, 2015

30¢ For the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train

Although it no longer exists, The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train attraction still lives on in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to enjoy it during the first few years of the park. Debuting on July 2, 1956, it existed where the current Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction now operates. So, let's gather up our 30¢ ticket and travel back in time to experience it again courtesy of the Daveland archives!

This vintage panoramic view shows both the Pack Mule and Mine Train attractions, which both saw much of the same scenery on their journeys.

In this July 1959 shot we get a closer view of the Rainbow Ridge Mining town:

Another 1959 view:

Looks like the guests were able to enjoy a little live music while waiting in line:

We have now boarded our Mine Train and are on our way to the Rainbow Desert, circa August 7, 1957:

November 1958:

Summer 1959:

A May 1958 photo shows a cast member giving his attraction narration; the next three images were shot sequentially by our vintage photographer:

The Devil's Paint Pots:

Anyone know what this little structure is?

Another November 1958 image, showing a little Frontierland layering with the Conestoga Wagon nearby:

The Seven Dwarfs were honored with this cacti tribute:

The highlight of the attraction was the journey through the colorful (albeit dark) Rainbow Caverns, shown here in two vintage publicity images:

Back to Rainbow Ridge:

Watch out for those explosives!

Hope you enjoyed your trip and felt that your 30¢ was well spent! Want more? Ride on over to my main website and see more photos of Nature's Wonderland at Disneyland.

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K. Martinez said...

Love the tunnel and little shack in image 12 (Devil's Paint Pots). You just don't see images of that much.

I remember riding the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland many times, but not the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train. Of course I wasn't around then. How I wish I could've experienced Disneyland in its infancy during the 1950's.

Thanks for the "ride" aboard the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, Dave.

K. Martinez said...

Dave - Did you ever get the Disneyland Book of Lists? It does contain a list of the businesses in Rainbow Ridge from the days of Nature's Wonderland to Big Thunder Mountain.

MRaymond said...

I still love the Mine Train. My first memories are from the mid 60's but the feel is still there. It's too bad they didn't preserve more of it after BTMR was built. I think the paint pots and Old Unfaithful in BTB would be a nice touch. :)

Dave DeCaro said...

Hi Ken - Hadn't heard of that book. It's probably a little deeper in info than I care to absorb! Ha!

MRaymond - I definitely agree! Wouldn't it be awesome if BTMRR crossed over the walkway/pond again?

Matthew said...

Hi Dave,

I have no idea what the little structure (Shack) is. I can only GUESS that it was to cover the control valves/manifold that operated the Devil's Paint Pots. Need one of the men from the Red handkerchief men to chime in on this one. Enjoy your day! Matt AKA Amazon Belle

Anonymous said...

This was definitely worth my $0.30. Thank you, Dave for the kind of comprehensive look back that is only possible with such a massive collection of snapshots.

This little ride was a worthy pendant to the Jungle Cruise and a sad loss. Now I will be listening to the Les Baxter-inspired soundtrack of Rainbow Caverns later today.


beachgal said...

As I recall, that little structure was a prospector's cabin it said during the narration.

K. Martinez said...


If anyone knew, I thought it would be you. Thanks for sharing that bit of cool info.

Dave DeCaro said...

Beachgal - Was it supposed to be a miniature cabin? It's mighty small if it's supposed to be where somebody lives. Matthew - your guess sounds about right, as it is probably a decorative solution to cover up something unsightly.

beachgal said...

As I recall Dave, that was something that always seemed goofy in the narration - the cabin was tiny - I can remember friends and I used to joke it must be for one of the Seven Dwarfs doing a stint as a prospector! And yes, it was tiny - there was not much else said on the narration other then something about no one had seen the old prospector for a long time. It never made sense to anyone who was over the age of 3 or 4 that anyone 'real' might have had that as a domicile -- It was a fixture on that ride for as long as I still was going on it. I also used to think it was the size for a good pack of squirrels to live in - it was that little.

beachgal said...
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beachgal said...
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beachgal said...

Dave - I shot my cousin a note to see what he recalled about the little cabin on this ride - he has a better memory then I do often - he said he remembered the narration saying no one had seen the prospector for a long time, but watch out, he could be around any corner and he was known to have a nasty temper - putting a little bit of fright into the real little kids minds over that part of the ride. He also laughed about how little that structure was and yet most folks fell for the thought of some mystery prospector using it for his digs! He said he used to envision it had a whole underground set of tunnels leading off to mines!

Anonymous said...

I never rode the mules or wagons, but the Mine Train ride lives in my memory. Hard to believe that the original Mine Train only lasted a few years before it was renovated into Nature's Wonderland, itself another outstanding memory despite its eventual decline.