Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thoughts on Walt Disney World's New Seven Dwarfs Mine Train


Photo courtesy of TheDisneyBlog.com
The new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had its big media preview today at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The attraction has been several years in the making and is the final step of the Magic Kingdom's "New Fantasyland" expansion. With such a long development timeline, many fans have been questioning if the ride would be a fitting climax of the new expansion and a suitable replacement for the original Snow White dark ride.

The first full video point-of-views are making their way onto the internet today allowing everyone to get a better understanding of what the ride is and what the ride is not. Take a look at the video and I'll share some thoughts about it below.




The ride looks beautiful. There are incredible details inside and outside the mountain. The view from the top of the second lift hill, right before the biggest drop of the ride, is just gorgeous. For a family coaster, it looks to be a lot of fun. There are several different elements and moments that look to provide enough thrills for the parents but just enough restraint for young kids. The Disney Imagineers look to have delivered a beautiful replacement for the Snow White dark ride.

My biggest concern about the ride has nothing to do with the quality delivered, it has to do with the existence of the ride. I don't quite understand Disney's thinking in greenlighting this project. Snow White is an incredibly popular story, but is it still that popular with young kids? Is it only older parents who will be interested in seeing more of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs brought to life? I know Snow White is an iconic princess, the dwarfs are still popular characters, and Snow White and the Huntsman was released not long ago, but did anyone really need or want this?

I don't have children so I honestly do not know if Snow White is still "magical" to them. Are parents actually showing their young children the old film? I don't know, but I would love to hear from any readers. Are young girls and boys interested in the story the ride is based on?

I think Disney has created a beautiful and fun ride. My only question is why focus on Snow White now? It is certainly an upgrade from the previous dark ride and I'm not against a quality attraction addition. I just don't understand the draw of creating a new ride for children around a very old property that doesn't seem to be something children are excited for.

Disney doesn't have to produce original properties every go around, but as the final part of "New Fantasyland" it would've been interesting to see them try something new. It's hard to argue with the quality on display and a quality attraction will always retain some kind of relevancy. That being said, there is something about re-using the Snow White story at this stage in time that zaps the ride of a different kind of relevancy, the wonderment of having a new fantasy brought to life. As is, this kinda feels like a quality movie reboot. Thankful to see a beloved property updated and enhanced with new technology, but also robbed of the opportunity for a new story.

What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

8 comments:

Mickey Micklos said...

All things are revealed, even true wisdom once you become a parent. Snow White is legit.

Kyle Leaman said...

Yea?
Do you have a daughter/son? Did you introduce them?

Matthieu Nambot said...

Ok so I don't know much (my niece is 2 1/2 yrs old so too young for the ride or the movie for that matter) but all I know from seeing little girls in parks and D stores is that Snow White seems to be a very popular princess.
It's one of the dresses you see the most and to me the nicest face character to talk to (yes I talk to the princesses, I'm that cool) so I guess it would legitimize the theme. To the point of making the focus point of new fantasyland I'm not sure, but it looks like they do.

Now I'm totally with you, I long for original stories! (And hope Scott Trowbridge brings lots of them from Star Wars) especially with Diagon Alley opening next door!

Do you think that Disney would be afraid to invest this much money (=detail and quality) in something new? Would that explain that they are playing it "safe" with new fantasyland? Is there some hidden directive from Walt to always have a Snow White ride in a Disney park?

I think we need to go together to check it out...

Kyle Leaman said...

Good to hear from you Matt.
It fascinates me to hear that young girls are interested in Snow White. I wonder how they are first encountering her and the story. That's very interesting.

This new fantasyland centerpiece is alright, but the rehash of Snow White is perplexing when other Disney parks are producing original rides based on pixar stories (like Ratatouille in Paris) or original rides based on original ideas (like Mystic Manor). I think the economics of Magic Kingdom are just different than the other parks.

The cynic in me feels that they know they already draw enough international visitors that they don't need to take the risk on "new" properties that make the park stand out from the others. Why take the risk when they are financially doing amazing? It's the other parks around the world that need to distinguish themselves from Orlando and Anaheim by original properties.

This should certainly be investigated as a team...

Matthieu Nambot said...

You've actually put words on something I've been feeling for a while. Some rides at the magic Kingdom do fall short of their counterparts in other parks like Pirates of the Caribbean or it's a small world but these are old rides from the opening(?) so I'm not sure it fits in our current discussion.
Nonetheless, I think you are totally right, why take risks with something new when things work perfectly with the old stuff, so their strategy may be to stick why the old licenses for the Magic Kingdom, the ones they know will still be popular in 20yrs.

So I propose we all get a tally and count the number of princess dresses we see then have random interviews with little girls to see why they like a certain princess. Oh we will need several days (and visiting all the pools) to carry this one out!

Kyle Leaman said...

I'm not sure the two of us doing that research would look appropriate!

Peggy said...

My kindergarten girls love the Disney princesses. Their favorites currently are Anna and Elsa (from Frozen) but I've definitely heard them talking about Snow White (and the "older" princesses: Aurora, Cinderella, etc).

I think you should definitely do that research. Just be careful not to get arrested. Maybe don't do it at a playground or with a camera.

Kyle Leaman said...

Hey Peggy, thanks for chiming in. I'm curious, how do you think your kindergarten girls have heard of and experienced Snow White?

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