While the newest princess-driven epics – think Tangled, Brave and Frozen – are as alive with music, color and wonder as any from Disney’s earlier days, they still look different. Animation’s evolution has changed the look of these films. Fans could debate for days on end over which are better, but none would argue there’s no difference.
The Disney experience is about the details. And in Orlando, the final addition to the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland – its largest expansion ever – is a striking example of this down-to-the-very-fiber philosophy.
Dips, turns and some inspiring views of the park delight riders on the Magic Kingdom's newest coaster — Photo courtesy of Disney / Matt Stroshane
Opening very soon: the long-awaited Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s a brand new coaster, one with a height requirement of just 38 inches, which makes it a thrill ride for all but the very littlest visitors. For months, park-goers have traipsed around its central location, peeking surreptitiously into “holes” in the construction screening – some generously placed at toddler height – as the project has moved toward completion.
The blinders are gone now, and the ride’s reveal is one that merges technology with the richness, depth and even “old-timeyness” of the 1937 classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A beautiful replica of the dwarfs' idyllic cottage and myriad other details – shovels, sacks, wheelbarrows and more – greet riders as they stand in the queue.
New attractions often have ample lines. The Mine Train gives its riders lots to occupy their time — Photo courtesy of Disney / Matt Stroshane
Interactive elements entertain during the wait, as well. A touch-screen game – players match the gemstones as they travel past in a miner’s washing trough – will be the savior of many a child and parent during what will likely be long stand-by waits. A musical water-spigot station, another of the line’s well planned time-killers, offers a melodious and cooling respite. Corresponding notes play as each jewel- (and dulcet-) toned water stream – it’s done with light, not dye – is broken.
The Mine Train will have FastPass+ reservation capability; online availability begins on May 28.
The inclusion of several recycled animatronic dwarfs from the park’s former Snow White’s Scary Adventure ride will please old-school fans, and perhaps environmentalists, as they make their way through the interior portion. Additional figures were match-crafted to complete the story’s cast; older pieces were upgraded to state-of-the-art.
Snow White figures in along the way, of course, but make no mistake: this attraction belongs to her humble hosts.
The stars of the ride whistle while they work amid gleaming gemstones — Photo courtesy of Disney / Matt Stroshane
There are no tummy-twisting inversions on this coaster; its biggest drop tops out at 41 feet, but views of the park are inspiring, if brief. It’s also smooth. (Read: an excellent choice for “breaking in” the smallest riders in your group.) Though the cars have a bit of a sway and the ride offers speed and excitement, it isn’t 100% thrill ride. During its trip through the mine, things slow down and riders can delight in the dwarfs’ diligent work amid sparkling gemstones.
In fact, it’s an ideal time to check out some of those aforementioned details. The gentle swing of the cars on the track, the innumerable hand-painted features, the expressions of the tale’s characters, both beloved and reviled, all lovingly recreated. It serves Disney magic in spades – and shovels and picks.