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Frontierland is an area featured in Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland (as Westernland), and Disneyland Paris. Phantom Manor, the fourth version of the Haunted Mansion attraction, is located in Frontierland in Disneyland Paris.

Description

Frontierland is universally characterized across the Disney Parks as being a, "Land" themed around a romanticized portrayal of the 19th century in the United States of America.

Disneyland

Frontierland was originally created by Walt Disney and his staff due to the then booming popularity of the Davy Crockett serials made by Disney. Said serials having been set in a glamorized version of the American west during the frontier era of the early 19th century. Frontierland was made to capture what made the show popular, including a ranch horse-riding, riverboats, dated (racist) portrayals of indigenous American peoples, canoes, and a shooting arcade.

Over the years with the faded popularity of the properties and stories of which Frontierland was built on, Frontierland came to incorporate in a variety of different themes and properties throughout the park. This was aided by the development of the Frontierland variants found in other Disney Parks (most notably Walt Disney World), weaving in these elements to the Disneyland original. Elements of the original Frontierland still remain in Frontierland, this includes The Ballad of Davy Crockett being a staple of the land's soundtrack, his coonskin hap being an iconic merchandise piece in the park, several locations and homages to defunct attractions being present, and Crockett being referenced as a resident of the land.

Walt Disney World

Background

Walt Disney World's Frontierland is (at the time of writing) divided into five settings with different locations and eras; this is also true of its neighbouring, "Land" of Liberty Square which directly leads into Frontierland. These five areas are: the early 1800s in St. Louis, Missouri,  the mid-1800s in the Colorado Rockies, the  1860s-1870s in the American Southwest, the 1870s in the American Deep South, and the 1880s in Arizona.

History

When Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the Davy Crockett serials had long since faded from the popularity it held in 1955. Instead, the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland was planned to be built around an attraction known as the Western River Expedition which would have been Florida's counterpart to the popular Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland.

The Western River Expedition was given a large development space and planned due to imagineers believing the Floridian populace would be uninterested in a pirates themed attraction due to the state's history of piracy and proximity to the Caribbean. However, when the public learned that there was no Pirates of the Caribbean planned for Walt Disney World there was relative outrage resulting in Imagineers changing plans and building a condensed replica of Pirates of the Caribbean in a small space in Adventureland; this meant however that the pivotal ride of Frontierland when un-made.

The space intended for the Western River Expedition was left empty and Frontierland was largely left as a largely unrealized area with assorted 19th century themes. This was until 1980 when imagineer Tony Baxter proposed the roller-coaster attraction Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (in-part inspired by the Western River Expedition) which became a cornerstone of Frontierland. In 1992, the popular attraction Splash Mountain would also be incorporated albeit to much controversy later in its run due to the attraction being an adaptation of the deeply racist film Song of the South (1946) and featuring inappropriate racial stereotyping in the ride itself. In 2020, this lead to the announced re-theme of Splash Mountain to be based on the 2008 film, The Princess and the Frog.

Disneyland Paris

Background

Frontierland in Disneyland Paris is themed around the fictional settlement of Thunder Mesa in the 1880s-1890s. The land is connected by an interwoven backstory which connects the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to the park's Haunted Mansion counterpart of Phantom Manor.

History

Disneyland Paris' Frontierland was once again largely developed by Tony Baxter which a mega-theme woven throughout the park. In addition to this, Thunder Mesa and Phantom Manor recycled several elements from the aforementioned Western River Expedition and tableaus created for it by Marc Davis.

Attractions

Disneyland

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1980-)
  • Country Bear Jamboree (1971-)
  • Frontierland Shootin' Arcade (1971-)
  • New Adventures with Princess Tiana (2022-)
  • Tom Sawyer Island (1973-)
  • Walt Disney World Railroad (1971-)

Disneyland Paris

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • The Chaparral Theater
  • Disneyland Railroad - Frontierland Depot
  • Legends of the Wild West
  • Phantom Manor
  • Rustler Roundup Shootin' Gallery
  • Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing

Westernland

  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Country Bear Theater
  • The Diamond Horseshoe
  • Horseshoe Roundup
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pecos Goofy's Frontier Revue
  • Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
  • Westernland Shootin' Gallery

Shops

Disneyland

  • Bonanza Outfitters
  • Westward Ho Trading Company
  • Pioneer Mercantile
  • Silver Spur

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Al's
  • Briar Patch
  • Frontier Trading Post
  • Prairie Outpost and Supply

Disneyland Paris

  • Thunder Mesa Mercantile Building
    • Tobias Norton & Sons
    • Bonanza Outfitters
    • Eureka Mining Supplies
  • Big Thunder Photographer

Westernland

  • Frontier Woodcraft
  • Western Wear
  • General Store
  • Westernland Picture Parlour
  • Trading Post
  • Country Bear Bandwagon

Restaurants

Disneyland

  • The Golden Horseshoe Cafe
  • Stage Door Cafe
  • Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante
  • River Belle Terrace

Magic Kingdom

  • The Diamond Horseshoe
  • Golden Oak Outpost
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  • Westward Ho

Disneyland Paris

  • The Lucky Nugget Saloon
  • Last Chance Café
  • Silver Spur Steakhouse
  • Fuente del Oro Restaurante
  • Cowboy Cookout Barbecue

Westernland

  • Plaza Pavilion Restaurant
  • Slue-Foot Sue's Diamond Horseshoe
  • Pecos Bill Cafe
  • Mile Long Bar
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant
  • Camp Woodchuck Kitchen
  • The Canteen
  • Chuck Wagon
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