Hong Kong Disneyland has confirmed that its new Grizzly Gulch land will open on July 14, 2012, along with the highly-anticipated Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars roller coaster.
Similar in style to the Frontierland areas at other Disney parks, but featuring a unique storyline all of its own, Grizzly Gulch will be themed around a Gold Rush-era California town. It will be dominated by Grizzly Peak, one of Disney's trademark faux-mountains, which will host the land's headline attraction.
Riders on Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (which has previously been dubbed simply "Big Grizzly Mountain Coaster") will board mine-train themed cars, which will race around a series of twists and turns on the mountain. As its name suggests, the new ride will borrow elements from the enduringly popular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rides that are a feature of Disney's Frontierlands. However, it will be more intense and thrilling than Disney's other mine train coasters, and will borrow other elements from Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars' circuit will span the entire Grizzly Gulch area, and will start with a backwards plunge down a steep hill. Riders will travel in reverse for one-third of the ride's circuit, racing around a series of twists and turns in a section that is clearly inspired by Expedition Everest. Animatronic grizzly bears will menace guests as they plummet through the opening section.
Following this, the train be blasted back up the mountain at breakneck speed by an "explosion", before traversing a series of hills, twists and turns in Grizzly Gulch and the Geyser Gulch water play area. Hong Kong Disneyland promises that the ride will be synchronised so that as many as three trains will cross Geyser Gulch simultaneously, creating a unique visual spectacle.
Roller coaster specialist Vekoma has built the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars ride system, with Disney adding in a host of audio-animatronic creatures alongside it to provide something of a storyline. While the ride is designed to be thrilling, it is still very much aimed at a family market.
A number of other attractions will be housed in the Grizzly Gulch area, including Geyser Gulch and the Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show. The Lucky Nugget Saloon will be the area's major dining outlet, with the Bear Necessities shop offering a range of merchandise. Guests will also be able to meet-and-greet Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip,Dale and grizzly bears Koda and Kenai.
Grizzly Gulch is the second of three new lands to be added to Hong Kong Disneyland as part of an ambitious expansion plan, with Toy Story Playland having opened in November 2011. The third land, Mystic Point, is due to open in 2013 and will feature a new dark ride known as Mystic Manor.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.