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After having done our part to blast open the mines at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad it is time for the real work to begin.  First we look down into the mine shaft (an effect that Disney previewed on their YouTube Channel) and then it’s off to check the air quality of the mine.  And how might we do that? Well with the patented AutoCanary of course!  With a simple push of the lever air is released into a chamber and we see if our good ol’ Canary is alive and well.  If the bird is chirping away we know it is safe to go deep into the mine ourselves.  It is a simple but effective effect and the birds and their animations look nice and crisp.  Well except for that one poor Canary that didn’t make it, represented by a gas cloud in one of the chambers.  There are multiple canaries making each of the chambers unique and we think it’d be neat if the canary we see inside would be random but we can’t know if Disney will go that route until we move beyond the testing phase of the effect.  But the AutoCanary isn’t just a visual wonder alone!  It also includes scent effects and to my nose it felt as if there were multiple unique scents depending on the chamber.  One of the smells even reminded me of the infamous burning Rome scene from Spaceship Earth.  The smell is activated from a “vent” above your head and blows air and the scent onto you as you push down on the AutoCanary’s lever.  It is a simple but charming effect especially when done in such a personal way within the queue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  And that is a good way to think about these new additions, they have made Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a personal favorite for many, feel real, feel alive and feel personal.  It means that you won’t just get excited when you make it to the down ramp at Big Thunder’s queue and instead will be waiting to see what is around each and every turn.  That is what a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has always been and now it has a queue truly worthy enough to match.

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