Since the long-anticipated Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride attraction opened at the New Fantasyland expansion, there have been countless videos and pics on Disney’s newest addition to their ride arsenal. So for this article, I wanted to give a little more of a personal view and a bit of background of this amazing finish to Fantasyland. The attraction is exactly what Disney is all about…Storytelling. Walt, I sure of is very proud of this new entrant, for it embodies everything that he has strived for in his parks.
Ever since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt’s first full-length animated film, it has become a cult classic amongst Disney fans. It premiered on December 21st, 1937 at the Carthay Circle Theater, whereas a nation-wide release on February 4th, `1938. To further emphasize the popularity of this film, for a short time after its initial release, is was the top grossing sound film for the period. And since its re-release in theaters and home video over time, it has been among the top ten film performers, adjusting for inflation.
The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train attraction, must be remembered, is a nod to the Seven Dwarf’ and their lives and where they lived. It showcases the Dwarfs working in the diamond mine and their cottage that Snow White was led to by her friends the woodland creatures after she runs away from her evil Queen step-mother, after the woodsman sent by the Queen to dispatch her, relents and tells her to run away and never come back.
Let’s go through the attraction. I rode this 10 times in a row, just to get the flavor and see how it unfolds. (Yes, even with several Fast passes, it was a Day Long adventure!) You can of course get Fastpass plus, or wait in the stand-by queue line. The Fastpass line is unremarkable. After checking in with your Fastpass, you go a short distance directly into the loading area. Not too much to see here. But if you have the patience and don’t mind the wait (The line said 120mins, but it was actually about 60mins!) the stand-by queue is worth the wait. Here the Imagineers did an amazing and detailed job of immersing the guests into the story and lives of the Seven Dwarfs. There is a detailed timbered queue area you enter after winding through the maze outside. Let me say that the whole attraction is like being in a fairy-tale forest, all live trees, streams and an amazingly detailed rendition of the Dwarf’s cottage can be seen from the line. The mine, or mountain is visible all around; you can’t help but believe you are in the story.
In fact, don’t rush and just look at the detailed timbering used in all the attraction. Entering the covered queue area, massive post and beam construction abounds. Observe the carved beams and lanterns overhead. The same goes for the interior; it looks just what one would expect in a mine. Here is where a few interactive activities will keep you busy while you wait. There is a video game where you drag colored jewels passing by and fit them in the proper colors and shapes. Up ahead is another detailed activity. Over a trough filled with stones and jewels is a line of wood-carved animals, placing your hands under each produces water and music! For the highlight of the queue, you enter the barrel room, where there are barrels of colored gems around a centerpiece. Spinning the barrels with your fellow guests in unison, a projected scene above will show Snow White dancing with the Dwarfs.
Finally winding your way around the detailed queue line, you are now in the loading area. (This loading area is very reminiscent of the Big Thunder Mountain loading area). Take your time to look around and see the tools and paraphernalia all around, just was is needed in a mine. After getting into your mine car, you exit and take a short trip through the forest of the Dwarf’s; suddenly you are entering the Dwarf’s mine, the main show scene. What makes the Dwarf audio-animatronics stand out are their facial expressions. When the ride was first envisioned, the Imagineers wanted to make the faces with the same “Squash and Stretch” technique used by the animators in the original 1937 film. What was used is a technology that has been around since the early ‘90’s. If you look at Leota or Buzz Lightyear in their respective attractions, you will see the face is projected onto a plastic face with miniature projection equipment in the head. So with improved LED lights and projectors, and the Imagineers watching the original movie over and over, and seeing how each Dwarf facial expressions looked, they captured the original feel of the 1937 classic.
As you pass the scenes of the Dwarfs working the mine, pay attention to the beautiful colors of the gems and mine itself. It is just a work of art! As you ascend from the mine, look to the left, you will see shadows of the Dwarf’s leaving the mine for the day, singing “Hi Ho”, the images are a clip from the actual movie itself. After the mine scene, you will go down another hill, past more trees and scenery and before entering the exit area, a life-sized, very detailed Dwarf’s cottage is on the right. Look inside and you will see Snow White dancing with the Dwarfs, as in the movie. But be quick as the train moves forward, look for the Evil Queen as the old Witch, looking in the cottage with a basket of fruit, containing the poisoned apple!
I really love this new attraction. It exemplifies the heart of soul and Disney Storytelling and is outstandingly detailed in every way. My only reserve is that I wish it was a bit longer, especially Mine scene. Pictures and descriptions cannot due this justice; it has to be seen firsthand! The new swaying mine cars are another bit of technology that Walt would have loved. The ride gives enough thrills for the older and more adventurous, and yet for the younger crowd, it’s just a hoot. A perfect family attraction! I have some nice pics of the attraction I hope you will enjoy!