New TV show and film to have Disney theme park tie-ins
Feb 1, 2013

Fans of the Disney theme parks will soon be getting a taste of the parks in their everyday lives. ABC just ordered a pilot of the new show Big Thunder, inspired by the Disneyland runaway mine train ride. The plot summary says, "When a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon, they quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems."

Coincidentally (or maybe not…), Disney is currently working on incorporating more of the ride's back-story into the attraction's queue. The enhancement to Big Thunder Mountain's queue at Walt Disney World is being done overnight, so as not to close the ride during the day. The enhanced backstory for the attraction tells the story of the tycoon mentioned in the ABC logline. "Barnabas T. Bullion is the founder and president of the Big Thunder Mining Company. The longtime mining magnate comes from a powerful East Coast family and considers gold to be his very birthright by virtue of his oddly appropriate name; in fact, he considers the ultimate gold strike to be his destiny. And that is why he is having so much trouble with Big Thunder Mountain. According to superstitious locals, Big Thunder Mountain is very protective of the gold it holds within, and the unfortunate soul who attempts to mine its riches is destined to fail. And so far that prophecy is coming to pass. The mine has been plagued by mysterious forces and natural disasters ever since. And yet the Big Thunder Mining Co. is still in operation. In fact, Bullion is discovering new veins of gold and digging new shafts every day, offering a closer look at the Big Thunder mining operation than ever before. But a word to the wise for anyone attempting to visit the mountain: watch out for runaway trains."

It will be interesting to see how the two plots mesh together. Big Thunder is being written by Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift) and executive produced by Chris Morgan (The Troop).

The other theme park tie-in comes in the form of a sci-fi alien film by Walt Disney Studios. Tomorrowland is slated for a 2014 release, but few details are known about the project. The film boasts some big names; Damon Lindelof (Star Trek, Lost) and Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) are set to write the script, while George Clooney has signed on to star. Previously, the project was known under the code name 1952, which refers to a file box labeled "1952" that was found in Walt Disney's development lab after he died.