Although I’m a huge fan of Disney Parks, I haven’t touched too much on them here. I think there’s plenty of coverage of Disney on countless other blogs so we usually prefer to focus on smaller lesser known parks. However, last week I got to visit the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World on opening day of the brand new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I was so thrilled to be among the first riders that we booked our trip just 3 weeks in advance upon the announcement so that we could be there on this ride’s opening date! As much as I love the new coaster, I want to take a moment to honor Snow White’s history in the park and pay tribute to the little ride that was removed to make way; a creepy dark ride I’d grown to love called Snow White’s Scary Adventures.
I was present at the 2011 D23 Expo in 2011 at the Parks and Resorts presentation where New Fantasyland was announced and was able to see concept art and ride vehicles for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I was also fortunate enough to visit the park 6 times during construction of New Fantasyland and see the various phases of construction culminating with the May 28th opening of the coaster.
Here is some mine train concept art and a vehicle prototype from the 2011 D23 Expo in Anaheim.
In Disney World, Snow White’s Scary Adventures was an original Magic Kingdom attraction that opened along with the park on Oct 1, 1971 and it took riders through the dark for the next 41 years. The ride went through a few revisions, most notably in 1994, where it became “less scary” and finally closed for good on May 31, 2012. There are still three operating versions of the ride at Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland in California, but each slightly differs from the now defunct ride in Orlando.
As Disney dark rides go, it was scarier than most, though I was never able to ride the pre 94 “scarier” version. Still, even post revision, the ride included dark forests with terrifying enchanted trees, spooky skeletons, strobe lights, menacing vultures, and riders had at least 7 terrifying encounters with the witch!
If you never got to ride, you can see a ridethrough tribute below.
I wish I’d taken more photos, since I found many of mine to be on the blurry side, but I’m going to share them anyway as this ride took you through strobe lights, and quick turns so at times, what you saw actually was disorienting and blurry!
The ride stood in Fantasyland, on the left side of the rear entrance of Cinderella Castle (next to Sir Mickey’s). Above, you can see some of the ride Signage in May 2012 before construction began. The image of the witch handing snow white an apple was painted on a mirror, so you saw the reflection of Fantasyland all around them.
As you boarded your mine car named after a dwarf (or should we say mine cart?) you got to enjoy the amazing Snow White mural featured on the ride’s facade. I hope that Disney preserved the painting somewhere! The exit featured an ominous image of the wicked queen and a the woodsman painted in the same style.
Once inside, you took a quick trip through the 1931 movie, where you encountered haunted trees, vultures, and witches! Again, apologies for the blurry shots, but here are some of the scarier elements of the ride interior! As your cart tripped the gag in the forest, the trees would quickly turn toward you scaring the smaller riders in your cart. That forest was downright frightening (and I loved it!)
Here are a few more shots of the interior and the dwarfs which have (thankfully) been re-purposed in the final scene of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride (The dwarf band can now be seen playing its instruments as the coaster breaks and guests encounter the cottage scene of Snow white dancing with Dopey and Sneezy prior to exiting!) Our vulture friends also made the move and now perch atop the first lift hill on the exterior of the ride.
So that there is no confusion around the location, the Mine train did not replace the Snow White’s Scary Adventures, at least in terms of location. Disney just did not want to devote 2 rides to the same princess in Fantasyland. Here’s a short history of the changes that took place:
In April 2010 Pooh’s Playful spot moved its large tree across the way to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride along with an updated interactive queue. Pooh’s playful place was closed and we now know that this was to make way for the Seven Dwarfs Mine train. In May 2012, Snow White’s Scary Adventures closed permanantly and the building reopened in September 2013 as Princess Fairytale Hall, a princess meet & greet area. (Currently you can wait in 5-6 hour lines to meet the Anna and Elsa from Frozen, if you are so inclined..I was not!)From 2011-2014 construction on the Mine train took place. Disney was kind enough to open little peep holes for curious guests like myself! And those of us willing to bend the rules and climb on benches could sneak a few photos over the construction walls. Here are some shots of the construction.
Since I was too excited to ride, I barely took any photos, but for an in depth look at the mine ride, visit Inside the Magic’s awesome article or watch this early ridethrough video! I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but if you watch all the way to the end, you’ll see that there is a little nod to the scary side of Snow White.
Disney Parks will always change and update themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled about the new Mine ride. It will surely become a favorite here in Kiddieland, but we’ll always miss the simple charm of a good scare found in Snow White’s Scary Adventures. We hope Californians keep their nostalgia for this ride, and it remains open there, along with other lost Florida attractions. Until then, stay away from poison apples and don’t go running into any dark forests alone.
Update: I have just come across this fantastic 1991 light attachment video of Snow White’s Adventures showing the ride pre refurbishment. Definitely employs some classic early dark ride tricks (Did you see that mine car!?) Enjoy!
Please step out to your left. Step out to your left please.