Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Walls Come Down

Written by Kevin Yee. Posted in Kevin Yee, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Published on April 29, 2014 at 2:00 am with 49 Comments

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been under construction for so long, we could be forgiven for almost accepting that it’s never coming. But that day is almost upon us. Last weekend, the construction walls finally came down around the remaining areas of the mountain, revealing many more vistas of the undulating tracks and surprisingly thickly-forested valleys.

The walkways in the area are wide again, now that the construction walls are gone. The walls have spiky rocks at the top to discourage climbers.

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One turn near the Mad Tea Party emerges from a tunnel before heading to the upramp (where the vultures are).

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The tunnel that the train comes from has lanterns in it. Is this right as the ride begins? The first drop maybe?

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From a distance, the tracks rise and fall so much they seem to writhe.

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Almost none of these tracks are straight!

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On Saturday we saw the “envelope of protection” vehicle. This approximates outstretched arms so that neither sets nor people get damaged. It was being winched back up the final section of track.

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At the end of that winching process was another tunnel.

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The front sign is visible over some temporary hedges. Here’s one side:

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And the other side likewise has a temporary sign across the bottom.

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Love the shovel and pick axe on the clock.

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The standby sign has theming, too!

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As the safety sign tells us, the height requirement will be 38 inches for this attraction.

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Opposite Winnie the Pooh is a new stroller area.

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The queue seems to lead into a tunnel at one point.

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The queue feels almost like Splash Mountain, with a lot of back-and-forth, many trees, and a rustic feeling.

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What’s the overall verdict? We won’t know for sure until we’re on the ride, of course, but things look promising. The rock work isn’t “cheaped out” and there are numerous details in the queue if you know where to look.

My “Clicks” podcast walks you through some of those details, including tree bark theming on light poles, recycled icons from the former Snow White ride, and an apparent interactive game in the queue:

Direct link: http://youtu.be/XFjQ_La8O9E

I’ve also written elsewhere about that cottage in the back of the queue (from where we can see it): it appears to contain props that are an homage to the former ride just up the road, which I think is pretty cool!

But as much as I love the little details, they do appear to be pretty hidden. I’m not sure every visitor will see them. Some visitors may see a somewhat barren mountain, actually, but at least it’s well-integrated with the area. And I’m sure a great many will like how many trees there are. In a few years, this area is going to look like Disneyland, it will have so many trees.

The ride inside matters much more. As do the ride mechanics. Early feedback suggests the ride – while halfway between Barnstormer and Big Thunder in size – may actually *feel* more like Barnstormer, a.k.a. a kid’s ride.

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I’m starting to wonder if the swinging vehicles actually make the attraction LESS thrilling rather than more thrilling. Wouldn’t your body go through more forces if those high banks had you riding all the way up the banks? With the swinging car, it almost seems like the rider’s body suffers LESS intense g-forces. But this is third-hand… we won’t know for sure until the ride opens for testing.

That could happen this week. There’s a press event later this week so I’m sure they have a vested interest to have it as ready as they can in the next couple of days. We may soon (either right before or after that event) start seeing very targeted tests, where they grab 20 people off the street and then immediately close up the chains on the front of the attraction again. A true “soft opening” – which means full operation with everyone on Standby – won’t come until later. And even then, they might need to close the ride completely with no apologies (after all, it’s not officially open yet).

Stay ‘tuned. It’s been a fairly long time since WDW opened a major ride, so we’ll give it all due coverage when it happens.

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About Kevin Yee

Kevin Yee is an author and blogger writing about travel, tourism, and theme parks in Central Florida. He spent more than a decade working at Disneyland and cultivating a never-ending fascination with that park’s rich traditions and history. Now relocated to Orlando, Kevin enjoys the Disney offerings on both sides of the country. Kevin is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History. Readers are invited to connect with him online and face to face at the following locations: UltimateOrlando.com – Kevin’s personal blog for daily WDW updates Public Facebook page – or friend his personal Facebook account, Twitter feed (user UltOrlando), Google+ account (user cafeorleans), Email at [email protected], Weekly Walt Disney World, a Facebook group of regulars who visit Disney World each weekend. Visitors from out of town are encouraged to come and say hello when in Orlando! Join the FB group to learn when/where the next meet is. Kevin’s books on Amazon

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49 Comments

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  1. Thank you, Kevin, for this article. The ride looks intriguing. So just how long has it been under construction?

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  2. Based on the aerial photos of the construction site it appears that work began on the Mine Ride in September of 2011.

  3. Disney is so authentic that only seven singing dwarfs were used to build it.

    I hope that it can hold up to Storybook Circus. It’s cheap Circus theme with reused tents and rides is why I pay a premium for Disney. The real clowns are that extra Disney touch. I also love that kids can see a business model that profited from animal abuse. If they had clowns whipping elephants it would perfect. It’s so magical

    • “Disney is so authentic that only seven singing dwarfs were used to build it.”

      Officially nominated for best comment regarding this ride’s construction process! LOL

      • okay, but the rest of his comment diminishes it. He’s trying to say something but it’s not clear to me.

    • This reply reminds me of a Debbie Downer SNL skit when she went to Disneyland

      • Disney needs to be made fun of for how long it took them to open this. Test Track which was a completely new ride system opened faster then this.

        Universal built all of Harry Potter Diagon Alley and a train that connects two parks in less time.

        I really do not like the direction that the Magic Kingdom is going. Paving in the hub after they cut down all the trees is making it the parking lot in front of the Main Street mall. Losing the magic shop and the penny arcade for a huge store was bad. Putting the bus stop right in front of park after Walt spent millions on a man made lagoon and TTC is just all about packing them in with no attention to history or detail. It’s becoming less unique and more mall like each year which is a real shame.

        Luckily Universal is not controlled by the bland penny pinchers at Disney and actually designs thrilling new ride systems that push the industry forward like Disney did when Walt ran it.

      • Thanks, solar. We really needed another Diz vs Uni post.

        Are you sure this isn’t another account for Captain Action/tooncity?

      • Your welcome Marko. I’m glad that I could help.

      • So, Solarnole, our plan is almost complete.
        We have made WDW execs so lazy that they make no E Ticket attractions for 10 years. Special props on no E Tickets at MK since Splash opened over 20 years ago!
        We have sped up Universal with the greatest immersion experiences of any theme park in the USA. We completed Universal’s plan of creating 4 E Tickets and new lands in 2 years and 3 more coming in the next 2 years not to mention the newest lands and resorts and theme parks coming.
        The Magic Handcuff is our crowning jewel.
        WDW grew between negative and 2% from 2009-2013.
        Universal grew 39% from 2009-2013.
        Next, we put Universal ahead of AK, DS, or Epcot!
        WAAA HAAA HAAA!
        Long as they don’t blame Iger and his minions. These are OUR plans!

      • “WDW grew between negative and 2% from 2009-2013.
        Universal grew 39% from 2009-2013.”

        To be fair, this is highly misleading. For WDW to grow with basically no new attractions to speak of, and to retain their positions as #1, #3, #4 and #5 in the US park attendance lineup speaks to Disney as power brand. This is like looking at metro areas and noting that NYC ‘merely’ grew at 1%, or 1.8 million people, while Orlando grew at 20%, or 200,000 people during the aughts.

        For Universal to grow by about 40% is quite impressive, considering that they were being lapped by SeaWorld in terms of attendance at that time. Which is to say that they grew from piss poor numbers to decent numbers, and it took billions to get them there.

        That whole Orlando Sentinel article missed the larger point, and the greater achievement of Universal Orlando. Universal didn’t “take” people from WDW (yet,) but they did something that neither they nor any other amusement operator has been able to do in Orlando, save for Disney: they GREW the MARKET. Which is to say that more people are going to Orlando than prior, and a whole lot of them were new people who went to UO. Mass props.

      • Aaronius, I think it’s called a trend. Some guests are tired of paying $500/day for a park that won’t support new infrastructure to take care of their guests.
        You aren’t the target market anymore. No one who visits often is their target market anymore. That’s what everyone here tells me.
        The target is the theme park novice who won’t notice things haven’t improved in the last 10 years and will think a fastpass to Imagination is pretty cool.
        So, since WDW execs don’t consider me a target for marketing any longer, I don’t consider them target for my wallet either.
        That’s why negative to 2% growth over the last 4 years.
        The bad news for WDW exec enablers is that Universal just got started. They’ve only opened 15% of what they have planned over the next 5 years.
        Families will not be able to afford WDW and Universal after the next 5 years of Universal’s plans are complete.
        Families will have to make a choice between what’s new and what’s old.
        Can a family easily skip OLD Epcot – yeah.
        Can a family easily skip DS – yeah (half day park anyway)
        Can a family easily skip AK – yeah (half day park too)
        Can a family skip MK, not likely.
        Can a family skip all the new lands, third gate, new waterpark theme park with Jaws type attractions, new resorts, and several new E Ticket attractions, and all the Potter stuff at Universal – not likely. Then they connect it all in year 5 with a monorail system. All resorts will have boat or monorail access to all parks and Citywalk.
        So, the trend of 39% growth should continue at Universal.
        It could be that families go to Universal Parks and MK, while skipping AK, DS, and Epcot.
        That’s the problem for WDW if they continue to cheap out on competing.

      • “Aaronius, I think it’s called a trend.”

        No, it’s not, at least not yet. A trend, at least in terms of marketing and sales involves a paradigm shift in the market. That’s not been evidenced as of yet in the Orlando market. People are still going to Disney in droves. Universal’s real and really remarkable accomplishment is that they grew the market with new visitors and new people coming to town. To put this another way, this isn’t (yet) a case of Hyundai stealing market share from Ford in a stagnant market. This is a case of Universal increasing the amount of people going to Orlando on a vacation, while Disney slightly grows. If anything, it’s SeaWorld who is bearing the brunt of Universal’s ascendance to full-on playa with their drops in attendance (as much as I’d like to think that it’s Blackfish, I’ve met Americans. It’s not.)

        “No one who visits often is their target market anymore.”
        Actually, it’s people who visit often and for a long period of stay who are clearly, obviously Disney’s target market. The target is multi-generational families who want an all-inclusive “something for everybody” vacation. That’s obvious from Disney’s multi-day, hotel package, Disney Vacation Club sales focus. Disney wants captive visitors to have the tradition of generational visitation to their theme parks and resorts. They want you to stay for a week! Or two! They’ll even pick you up at the airport! If you had fun, why not buy a DVC condo?

        “The target is the theme park novice who won’t notice things haven’t improved in the last 10 years and will think a fastpass to Imagination is pretty cool.”
        I THINK the target audience are parents looking for a safe, clean, all-inclusive vacation without too many rough edges. I THINK Disney trades on their reputation as a family-friendly, entirely not edgy brand that’s “safe” for all, and where everyone will find something to do. Again, that’s obvious in the way they price their vacations and packages. That’s a week of stuff that’s clean and safe with no repeats.

        “So, since WDW execs don’t consider me a target for marketing any longer, I don’t consider them target for my wallet either.”
        Stay a week! They’ll target you.

        “Families will not be able to afford WDW and Universal after the next 5 years of Universal’s plans are complete.”
        Well, to be fair, families can’t afford them now. We’re a looooooong way away from reasonable prices at ANY major theme park.

        “Families will have to make a choice between what’s new and what’s old.
        Can a family easily skip OLD Epcot – yeah.
        Can a family easily skip DS – yeah (half day park anyway)
        Can a family easily skip AK – yeah (half day park too)
        Can a family skip MK, not likely.”
        Well, this implies that should Disney think that it’s going to lose guests to Universal that it will do nothing. This also implies that Disney, old as it is, divested though it may be, doesn’t have a dramatic marketing and sales packaging advantage to play in Orlando. Heck, they HAVE been playing it; they’re going after people who want to stay awhile, who will buy a vacation club, who clearly, obviously and plainly will sacrifice the “new” or the “complete” for the “safe” and the “Disney branded.” To put this another way, and to take Universal out of the picture for a minute, there’s no reason under any logical higher power that anyone would go to DAK over Busch Gardens. None: BG, outside of theming, is the superior animal theme park. More animals, more rides, better pricing on food, etc. They go to DAK for convenience, because it’s highly discounted in a long-term visitation package, and because Disney picked them up at the airport!

        And I’m betting that the suits know darn well that a family can’t skip MK; heck, that’s the vacation paradigm! Which, again, plays to Disney’s strengths regarding quantity. Right now, today (and I suspect for the next couple of years, at least,) Universal Orlando holds the edge and the cards on quality. Hands down. Bar none. They win. The Harry Potter ride (outside of the backside of the queue,) and the Spider-Man ride are easily the two best theme park rides on the planet, certainly the two best I’ve ever been on. Hands down. Bar none. But if a family “has” to go to the MK, and Disney can offer up four theme parks to two, and two highly themed if dated water parks to one, and golf, horseback riding, cooking classes and direct drives to the airport or your very own cruise ship cabin on the Magic or Breeze…maybe even a couple of days at the beach? Now do you get it?

        You are absolutely right to critique Disney on divestment. You are absolutely right to look at UO and their massive investment in their property as a great buy for your vacation money. And you’re absolutely right that if Disney keeps doing nothing, or in the case of the Dwarf Coaster, does something really slow, UO is going to bite them in the arse.

        But Disney has a loooooooot of leverage to combat that. And really, one flick on the Star Wars button basically ends this conversation. Clearly, a press on the Frozen button would also drop some trow. (And diss Avatar all you want: we all know it’s going to make zillions and people will want to ride the banshees.)

        “Can a family skip all the new lands, third gate, new waterpark theme park with Jaws type attractions, new resorts, and several new E Ticket attractions, and all the Potter stuff at Universal – not likely.”
        I dunno. I thought IOA when it opened was a super strong contender, and that it could have and should have knocked Disney attendance. People love them the Potter, but I suspect they could miss out on Jaws, especially if they’re looking for “safe, non-edgy family vacations.” I’ll go, though!

        “So, the trend of 39% growth should continue at Universal.”
        Actually, the trend declined. IOA had tremendous growth when Potter opened, going up about 3 million visitors, which is TREMENDOUS, but about 75% of that growth was in the first year of opening. Growth then slowed to about 9%. USF has trended at about 10% growth but only since Potter opened next door, and irrespective of their own attractions, and from low attendance numbers at least according to IATPA and wiki. The trend of growth at Universal should continue, but there’s weaknesses in their business model; namely that they are highly dependent on the Potter franchise to drive visitation to the resort, and that they require a massive amount of capital investment to drive visitation. Good for visitors, heck yes!

        “It could be that families go to Universal Parks and MK, while skipping AK, DS, and Epcot.”
        Could be, who knows? I’m betting that plenty of families, especially those who have established traditions at Disney, who spend multiple days at Disney, who pair a week on a cruise with a week in the mouse compound, and those who have already bought into the vacation club experience that Disney is offering them in a safe, non-edgy manner (like, the edgiest brand at Disney is the Muppets, right?) will keep going to Disney. And again, Disney has a major franchise relaunch with Star Wars, so I expect they’ll drop a $400 million dollar bomb on DHS, and they have a franchise partnership with Cameron on Avatar, will will make zillions and drive visitors to “Space Smurfs under Blacklights” (I detested that movie.) In DisneySpeak, that’s “three entire lands plus the new glow tree experience” to combat whatever is going on at that dump up the street.

        “That’s the problem for WDW if they continue to cheap out on competing.”
        And, of course, the thesis of the New Fantasyland expansion is that it is many things, but it is, obviously and of course, not a cheap out investment. It’s family phat.

      • …and going with their PR blitz regarding the ‘DisneySpeak’ “completion of the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history,” it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the marketing and public relations gnomes at the House of Mouse decided that the opening of the Dwarfs Coaster is the ideal time to show off and announce plans for Star Wars rides and attractions.

  4. It has been a long time, but the effort in theming and landscaping was well worth it. Looks like its been there for ten years with the amount of foliage and trees. Not the ride I was looking forward to, but at least now Fantasyland is finally looks finished.

  5. Thanks for a great update. It looks like WDI did a great job with this. The landscaping and theming look great. I originally thought this was going to be a fully enclosed ride, so a little disappointed to see so much track outside. Otherwise, can’t wait to see this in action.

  6. As always Kevin…Great article! The landscaping does look really good but it will be the actual ride that matters the most. As you, I too am a little concerned about the swinging mine cars. Mickey’s Fun Wheel in DCA as both the stationary cars and the ones that swing back and forth on the track. I always opt for the stationary ones. The “scary” aspect of those actually ruin the ride for me. So, we’ll have to see how these swinging mine cars fare. But, as always…really good article.

    • And in true fashion, people will probably start COMPLAINING about the swinging cars. “They’re too scary”. But I hope they don’t change them out. It’s a rollercoaster built for Fantasyland with kids in mind. How “scary” would it actually be? If anything, it will probably be more thrilling than it would be without the swinging cars. Because it’s a kiddy coaster, it won’t exactly be California Screaming, but with the swinging cars and all the turns, it should be more exciting, not “scary”.

  7. Ain’t nobody covers Disney news like Kevin Yee. This article was fantastic. And the pictures: amazing. However, I feel like Disney is a sinking ship these days. Is the Mine Train pretty? I guess. To me it’s kind of underwhelming when compared to Diagon Alley. Not sure how to articulate this but it reminds me of an arts festival I just went to at the local high school here. Our neighbor’s daughter was in it and there were a lot of pretty paintings and things done by the high schoolers. They were certainly better than what I could do myself, but they just seemed kind of passionless and going through the motions. Colorful, but not anything I would want to sit and stare at for hours. But, one or two kids had real talent and the paintings were so vivid and I just felt drawn into them. THAT is how Diagon Alley is making me feel, while Disney makes me feel like the colorful but ultimately lackluster high school art class paintings.

    I realize that Disney does not really do the immersive, detailed, richly layered construction that Universal is doing. In the past, that didn’t matter because Universal was churning out product at a much lower level than Disney. But now Universal has raised the bar and DIsney is the inferior one. I’m surprised this has happened but am finding myself daydreaming about visiting Diagon Alley but having a hard time even getting interested in the Mine Train ride.

  8. I think the ride looks amazing. Thanks for the update! I really don’t mind if the ride is made more for younger ones. I don’t know why they would feel they have to build a major thrill ride for older teens and adults in the middle of fantasyland. How disappointing would it be to take your small children to fantasyland and find they couldn’t go on the ride? At 38 inches, pretty young children will be able to ride. There are plenty of amusement parks around the country where adults can go on as many thrill rides as they would like. The constant comparisons are amusing. I think the adults who comment on this site have got their feelings hurt that Disney didn’t build a ride just for them.

    • And don’t forget the whole foundational concept of Disneyland as a place where parents and children could enjoy rides together. I remember a few years ago when people were complaining that Disney parks were becoming too heavily partitioned by demographics.

      • Explain to me how parents can enjoy standing in line for hours and waiting for a character? I believe that would go AGAINST the concept of enjoying time together.

      • Well, considering that my fiancée wants to meet Rapunzel and the Frozen twins, and I want to meet Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, it won’t just be kids doing it.

        Nevertheless, this is exactly what I was talking about: Disney is damned when they break things down to much by demographics, and damned when they make a ride everyone can enjoy.

      • Well then don’t wait in line for hours to meet a character. You choose how you want to spend your time together.

  9. So, considering what this ride IS rather than what it ISN’T, I think it looks pretty fantastic! The theming looks great so far, between these photos and footage of the animatronics and things. I actually am looking forward to it, since I love Snow White and “kiddie coasters” are right about my speed anyways, thankyouverymuch. To me, a Disney park is about the theming and the idea of entering into the worlds of these characters and films. The measure of success is how well any attraction does that, regardless of whether it is a kiddie coaster or a simulator or a walkthrough or a dark ride. At this point, I’m very optimistic about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

    • So much THIS. ^

      I’ve seen Disney criticism evolve over the years.

      EARLY EISNER: this was the period of people kvetching about Disney either being out of their own “cool” ideas (thus, Star Wars and Indiana Jones,) or being reactive to other amusement companies versus developing their own unique concepts (Disney-MGM Studios to combat Universal Studios Florida; dropping the then world’s largest aquarium into Epcot to discourage SeaWorld visitors.)

      There’s a degree of validity to these critiques, I think. One of the reasons Epcot retains a certain weird charm despite divestment is that unique, bet-the-farm Disneyness to the joint.

      EISNER/PRESSLER: this was the period post EuroDisney meltdown, where Disney began to cut corners or step of the investment gas entirely. This is where Imagineers not working for Japan had to make tough choices between opening with a decent amount of non-Disney things to do (DCA) or opening with basically nothing to do but look at the beauty of the canvas they’d eventually build on (DAK.)

      This period of fan distress I totally get: the original DCA was a joke, HKDL was ridonk in its smallness, and don’t get me started on Disney Studios Paris.

      IGER/LASSETTER: This is the period of measured, but thematically superior investments. DCA got an overhaul that wasn’t exactly COMPLETE, but it was enough for the fans to remember why Disney was Disney (sorry, aspects of Paradise Pier are still really lipstick on a pig, and the Cincinnati Airport looks better than Condor Flats.) HKDL woke up with what amounts to one new land themed three different ways, and MK went whole hog into young children and families with their New Fantasyland redux.

      I think this period of critique amounts to “it’s not enough,” which is to say that after an extended period where the Big Mouse just embarrassed itself with cheapo SixFlags-esque moments in their attractions, the fans want MORE, almost like payback for the prior EISNER/PRESSLER period.

      …and so now, even with Disney “back on track,” which is to say even with Disney creating highly thematic and layered attractions and environments, it’s just not enough. Meaning that, leaving aside whether or not an attraction appeals to you or not in New Fantasyland, the entire land is layered, highly thematic, and entirely not done on the cheap. This is no Chester and Hester’s Dino-Land USA “expansion.” Outside of the forced perspective fail on top of the Beast’s Restaurant, the whole area looks really amazing and complete. Do I think that the construction of this coaster should have taken this long? Of course not. But even things that I’ll never do (such as Princess Hug Zone or Story Time with Belle,) look amazing, expensive, and integrated into a cohesive vision.

      We, as fans, have been clamoring for that for years, after all. So while the IGER/LASSETTER epoch might be marked by measured investment with an eye on the bottom line and the stock price, it HAS been marked by thematic, holistic investment as well. New Fantasyland is VASTLY better than Mickey’s Hick Toontown. DCA is VASTLY better in 2.0 than 1.0. HKDL is VASTLY better than it was with, errr…nothing to do.

      I just find it super hard to complain about Disney creating a vast, layered, integrated, thematic land in the manner which we expect them to do when they deliver on their promise. Or, to put this another way, if I were a ten-year old girl in my princess drag (or a grown gay man in princess drag at Gay Day at Disney,) I’d LOVE New Fantasyland.

      • Great analysis!

        I can vouch for the fact, as I’ve said before, that New Fantasyland IS THE REASON WE’RE GOING TO WDW AT ALL. Between us, my fiancée and I are vets of Disneyland USA, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney, and for the kind of money we’re spending going to WDW we could easily go back to any of those three. There was stuff at WDW I would have liked to see if I were going there anyways… Animal Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge, this or that version of a ride… but nothing that was a big enough draw to compete with France or Japan (or just not even spending half as much to swing down to LA). Then along came New Fantasyland.

        We made the choice to spend our honeymoon there in September because we both love Fantasyland and fairy tales, and my fiancée in particular loves Beauty and the Beast (though the irony isn’t lost on me that it replaced the ride that *I* really would have wanted to see: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). Technically the Mine Train is a E-ticket if you compare it to everything else that used to be called E-tickets back when they had ticket books (past E-tickets included the Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, It’s a Small World, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the DLRR and the Monorail!), but okay, it’s not the ONE Harry Potter ride that was actually original. So what? The Mine Train, and Enchanted Tales with Belle, and The Little Mermaid area, and Storybook Circus, and even Be Our Guest look like AMAZING, immersive themed spaces which accomplish the goal of drawing you into the world occupied by characters from Beauty and the Beast and Snow White and whatnot. That’s the POINT. And that’s exactly why we’re going.

        P.S.: I agree with you about Paradise Pier… Not because it fails at rides, but because it fails at theme. In fact, I’m partly convinced that Mickey’s Fun-Wheel is actually a piece of satire. They took down a perfectly good, properly themed sun icon to put up a giant Mickey face, as though they were sarcastically responding to complaints that DCA wasn’t “Disney enough.”

      • “P.S.: I agree with you about Paradise Pier… Not because it fails at rides, but because it fails at theme. In fact, I’m partly convinced that Mickey’s Fun-Wheel is actually a piece of satire. They took down a perfectly good, properly themed sun icon to put up a giant Mickey face, as though they were sarcastically responding to complaints that DCA wasn’t “Disney enough.””

        I think all of DCA is flawed because the initial concept was poor. The Imagineers had to reach far into a hole best left to the boudoir to pull out “the California that Walt would have experienced” to tie the concept together, and that’s loose, at best (where does Cars Land fit into that, one ponders?) Don’t get me wrong: I think that they did a bang up job of rescuing that property from the Sawgrass Mills hellscape of its original conception, but I still think the concept is weak and muddled.

        LOL on the giant Mickey face, although that ties into my general annoyance with that side of Paradise Pier. It’s still a tacky, plastic FERRIS WHEEL in a Disney Park. It’s next to a SWING RIDE that, Mickey’ed up or not, is a SWING RIDE in a Disney Park. They sit in front of CARNIVAL GAMES that, prettied up or not, are CARNIVAL GAMES in a Disney Park. And around the corner from a super-cheapo now-Goofy OFF-THE-SHELF ROLLER COASTER in a Disney Park.

        I respect that DCA came from the bottom of the barrel to a place where elements of the experience, if you water your eyes and tunnel your vision, resemble and pay respect to “Disney Magic.” But, c’mon. At least two of the lands there are as basic and craptacular as Dino-Land USA is. And there’s a looooot of forgiveness for the West Coast Crap compared to the East.

      • If Paradise Pier were more closely resembled an ideal Victorian seaside amusement park from the beginning, I would probably have been more into it in the same way I’m into Main St. USA. I’m a die-hard nostalgist, and love the old timey shtick. Victorian amusement parks are an interest of mine (I’m even writing a future article for MiceChat on the circus, and a month on the Columbian Exposition for my Victorian Sci-Fi blog) and a Disneyfied recollection of one would have been great, ferris wheels and swing rides and wooden roller coasters and all… Had it been designed that way from the ground up. Had they, it wouldn’t be the sum of the rides that makes or breaks it, but the manner in which the rides build the theme of that nostalgic past. They’ve done a good job fixing it up, but it still doesn’t quite have it right because it doesn’t have the right bones. Last time we went, we did the Fun Wheel, Silly Symphony Swings, and California Screamin’, and that was it.

        To me, the single biggest problem with DCA has nothing actually to with DCA. It has to do with being next door to Disneyland. It’s awfully hard for me to get into it when Disneyland is RIGHT THERE, luring me across the Esplanade. Next time we go, I’m committed to spending just one whole day in DCA to give it a fair chance. After that, the next biggest problem is that it’s about California IN California. I get what they were trying to do, but it’s less effective when it doesn’t take all that long to actually GO to Hollywood, or Sequoia National Park, or Mojave National Preserve, or Santa Monica Pier. We found that it actually helped my fiancee to appreciate DCA more AFTER we already went to a few of those places.

      • So what do you wear on Gay Day?

      • Grandram, after a few drinks, nothing at all.

  10. Great pictures… the landscaping looks really nice and detailed.
    I also just saw the new video that Disney released with more details about the next-gen audio animatronics. They really look AMAZING!

  11. Perfect capstone to Fantasyland. When folks see the Cottage finally materialized in full size, I think they’ll love it. The rockwork as you come out of the ‘big’ hill tunnel is an exact color match for the colorwash tones of the film Why on earth people keep comparing this one attraction’s theming to Diagon Alley is puzzling. There are several attractions in Universal that don’t compare at all to Diagon Alley’s theming, but you don’t hear that every 2 minutes on here. At the end of the day, these are rides, meant for enjoyment. Not for antagonistic and biting comments. I’ve seen people called derogatory names on here recently, just because they dare to LIKE the efforts WDW is making. Lighten up. You’ve forgotten that these are amusement parks. If theme park news makes you stressed and frustrated, and compelled to be ugly towards others, you’ve lost the point. We all have opinions, but the fun stops when you beat others over the head with yours.
    I look forward to riding this with my 10-year old nephew. He buys into the magic and its a joy to watch him enjoy what Disney creates. Thanks Kevin.

  12. Congrats to the Magic Kingdom. Enjoy the last new attraction you’ll see for 10 years.

  13. It’s certainly a lovely centerpiece for New Fantasyland. A green oasis. Really love the look of it.

  14. Thanks, Kevin, for an informative article (and great pics!). I’ve really enjoyed your in depth and honest write ups. That said….

    Wow. i really cannot believe the vitriol that I’m reading on comments across this and other sites of late. I don’t think I’ve ever read comments that were so full of hatred and grousing about every tiny thing (especially compared to Orlando). I’ll admit that it’s been a little hard to get excited about such drastic changes to WDW (especially in regards to the demise of the GAC card which is the number one reason why I would even consider taking my special needs son back to Disney). However, it’s becoming even harder to get excited about what will most likely be our last trip in many, many years thanks to the constant droning of complainers who seem to hate every little direction the Parks are taking. Sure, I try to avoid reading the comments but with great articles like Kevin’s, that’s getting rather difficult.

    While I’m a little worried about our trip this year, I certainly do not want to hear the doom and gloom spouted across the Boards. I’m looking for Pixie Dust, folks. If you guys are truly that unhappy, please move along to Universal and let your tickets (and money) do the talking for you. Otherwise, and in the words of my rather wise Grandma, “if you can’t say nuttin’ nice, don’t say nuttin at all.”

    I’ve waited two years for our dose of Pixie Dust (which, on a single mom’s paycheck is a neat trick to say the least). Thanks, Kevin, for bringing us beautiful pictures and stories from across the Kingdom. It’s made us smile on more than one occasion.

    • Tinka Tink, the parks and surrounding areas are just places. Great places that we all love.
      The criticism isn’t really at the parks, it’s toward the men and women running them.
      The Snow White Coaster is cute and would be a fine addition if these execs wouldn’t be so penny pinching as to take 3 years to build it and were doing other rides as well over the last 10 years.
      Dumbo has too many folks who want to ride the simple little ride mainly because there aren’t many rides in Fantasyland. At Disneyland you have about 7-8 nice extra rides, that WDW doesn’t have, which distrubute the crowd and the Dumbo line isn’t a big issue.
      Well, building those 7-8 rides at WDW (as rides go they are very simple, inexpensive, and cute except for Matterhorn) was too expensive because folks don’t pay for each ride.
      Instead they built another Dumbo next to the other one, tore out Snow White (like they were landlocked) and put in the least popular ( Mermaid) ride due to cheap execution.
      Instead of new rides these execs are trying to use armbands to distribute crowds.
      New Fantasyland was about stores, restaurants, and money. Many of us hoped it was about new attractions.
      So these are criticisms toward the current lazy, greedy WDW execs of the past 10 years.
      The parks have made tons of money when they put in lots of new rides and E Tickets.
      We would like new execs to get back to that, but today we are told that these execs have moved on and we are not the target audience anymore.
      Ok, well, they aren’t the target of my wallet anymore either.
      So, that’s where the criticism is aimed.
      I hope you and your son have a wonderful vacation. I hope it’s your best ever. The parks are very pretty and you guys should have a great time.
      I don’t think you’ll see the WDW execs and they are the real problem (in some of our eyes).

    • TinkaTink,

      Don’t let people get you down. Some people can’t help dumping on things and they feel it’s REALLY IMPORTANT that we all know that they don’t like the things that we like. Unfortunately we can’t help that.

      Going to WDW is a considerable investment for most people, and it is discouraging to read people dumping all over it. Even I get a little discouraged at times when I read the comments. But they’re not you (or me)… Haters gonna’ hate. Just remember why you wanted to go there at all. For my fiancée and I, it is exactly BECAUSE we are totally into stuff like New Fantasyland and this “kiddie coaster.” They’re just complaining because they have different tastes than you or I.

      You vacation is YOURS. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. You’ve worked hard to bring your child there and that will make it all worthwhile. Don’t worry about the haters.

    • the words of your rather wise Grandma and Thumper’s father.

  15. That’s one nice little ride.

    In regards to the motion of the vehicle, if they had straight corners the cars would pull more to the side. If it then was followed by a straight piece of track the vehicle would have more side to side motion. All that would be fun but the side forces would have Disney change tires more frequently and I’m sure we all know they are low on cash so this is the result. Kind of a waist.
    All in all not excited enough for this little ride to buy a ticket. Lets wait for what is next in…. 5 or 6 years?