Disneyland has confirmed that its popular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster will close on January 7, 2013, in order to undergo a major refurbishment.
The coaster is not expected to return to action until the fall, meaning that the park will be without one of its major rides for the majority of the 2013 season. Significant work will be carried out on the ride, which has long been rumored to be due for an overhaul.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will receive all-new trains, although Disney has promised that these will retain the visual style of the existing mine train-themed vehicles. The ride's circuit will remain unchanged, but large sections of the track will be replaced. Big Thunder Mountain itself will also be repainted to restore its original Bryce Canyon-style coloring.
The similar Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Walt Disney World is also currently undergoing changes. The attraction was reopened in May, having undergone track replacement work. Further work is currently ongoing to install new interactive elements in its queue line.