Disney likes to set thrill rides in mountains. One possible reason is pragmatic—the conical shape of a mountain makes a good base structure for a track, and the protruding peak is a natural “weenie” making it easy for guests to find the exciting ride. Another could very well be thematic—mountains are places of adventure. They are the lairs of monsters, the strongholds of villains, things to climb or cross in the name of exploration. A mountain is a semi-self-contained environment, a perfect canvas for the theming that Disney so excels in.
I've identified three key ingredients that make each of Disneyland's “mountains” unique. Each one has a distinctive Setting, an exotic and memorable environment. Its track has a particular characteristic, a Track Quirk, that harmonizes with the setting and imparts a little something more to the kinetic aspect of the ride than a standard roller coaster. And it offers a Threat, turning a simple fast and/or bumpy ride into a story with the riders at the center.
So this week, I'll summarize how the five mountains of the Disneyland Resort use these ingredients, and then propose a couple of entirely new variations on the recipe.