A lot of us have probably enjoyed various voices when listening to one thing or another over the years, be it music, TV, movies, or just a voice over a speaker on a favorite ride in a theme park. Well, if you’ve had the pleasure of riding Big Thunder Mountain in Disneyland then you’ve likely heard Dallas “Dal” McKennon, since he’s the guy who voiced the part of the old man that can be heard talking at various points in the ride. As Joey Paur of GeekTyrant tells it he passed away around a decade ago, but he left behind a pretty interesting legacy when he did. Dal worked for Disney on more than just the Big Thunder Mountain ride, as he was part of several projects that go back decades and show that he was something of a skilled voice actor back in the day as well as a valued part of Disney. What’s really fun to see though is that he looks like what a person might expect in the clip above, a white-haired old man that could possibly pass for an old prospector if he put on the clothing and acted the part. It’s not too often that we get to see people resemble the voices they give rise to since there are a lot of voice actors today that don’t look like the characters they portray.
The voice from Big Thunder Mountain looks exactly like we expected. Here’s Dal McKennon: pic.twitter.com/M2ifhyX6ez
— Attractions Magazine (@Attractions) April 7, 2020
Dal was definitely among those that could be labeled as one of a kind, but the fact that he looked every bit the part was great since it clicked into place for a lot of people that an old man would be guiding them along a ride that is basically set up to appear like an old prospecting site in the west way back in the day. The ride itself is a lot of fun for kids and adults since it’s fairly fast-paced but isn’t bound to do any crazy loop the loops as one might find at Knott’s Berry Farm or Six Flags. Instead it’s a slightly calmer and more sedate rambling along a track that’s designed to go just fast enough to keep people entertained and allow them to have a good time while not feeling their stomach do flip-flops through every other turn. Some folks might still feel a bit of nausea while rattling along this ride but that’s usually something that a person needs to take into account before getting on the ride since Disneyland might be tame when it comes to rides, which is kind of to be expected, but they’re not so tame that a person that suffers from motion sickness is going to be one hundred percent safe.
Obviously at this time the ride, like the entire park, is shut down for now thanks to the spread of the coronavirus, but hopefully one of these days the park will open up again and people will get to hear Dal’s voice urging them to hold on and keep their arms and legs inside the cart. Of course if a lot of people can remember this, along with Space Mountain and from time to time Splash Mountain, used to be one of the rides that appeared to be in need of maintenance or was being worked on almost all the time. The fact is that roller coasters do need pretty routine maintenance thanks to how hard they’re ridden and because a variety of different things can happen. That kind of makes it possible to believe that now and again the rides will be going down at the most inopportune time. But when they’re up and running these rides are without a doubt some of the most fun and engaging parts of the park. The one great thing about Disneyland’s various roller coasters is that pretty much all of them tell a story as they’re going along, even Space Mountain, which is in absolute darkness from just after the beginning until the end.
I still recall being in Disneyland when Splash Mountain opened, and it actually suffered a malfunction at one point during the ride. Michael Ramirez of Disney Parks has more to offer on this topic. People had a choice to stay in line and wait for it to be fixed, or come back later and try again. As you might imagine a good number of people left to explore the rest of the park, but the most dedicated stayed on line and continued to move up as people left. Once it was determined what the problem was, and a log-full of sopping, drenched riders came walking out of the ride, thankfully laughing as they’d been stuck in a particularly wet area, the ride was up and going again and it was time to have fun. Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain though were definitely closed for business once anything malfunctioned, as many people might remember from their own personal trips to the park.
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