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.
One turn near the Mad Tea Party emerges from a tunnel before heading to the upramp (where the vultures are).
The tunnel that the train comes from has lanterns in it. Is this right as the ride begins? The first drop maybe?
From a distance, the tracks rise and fall so much they seem to writhe.
Almost none of these tracks are straight!
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.
At the end of that winching process was another tunnel.
The front sign is visible over some temporary hedges. Here’s one side:
And the other side likewise has a temporary sign across the bottom.
Love the shovel and pick axe on the clock.
The standby sign has theming, too!
As the safety sign tells us, the height requirement will be 38 inches for this attraction.
Opposite Winnie the Pooh is a new stroller area.
The queue seems to lead into a tunnel at one point.
The queue feels almost like Splash Mountain, with a lot of back-and-forth, many trees, and a rustic feeling.
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.
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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