Friday, January 21, 2011

Found Imagineering: A Mine Train and Storybook Circus

The most interesting new component of the redrawn Walt Disney World Fantasyland plans is certainly the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  This indoor coaster will supplant the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty venues that were part of the original expansion plans.  According to Disney sources, this new Snow White-themed attraction will, " . . . take you on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine,” and, " . . . feature a first-of-its kind ride system with a train of ride vehicles that swing back and forth as they whisk along the track."

The existing Snow White's Scary Adventures will be no more, replaced with the Princess Fairytale Hall, an elaborate meet-and-greet featuring all the Disney Princesses.  I found this bit of news particularly disappointing.  While I am not in any way opposed to the elimination of the Snow White's Scary Adventures due to its evolution into a wholly new attraction, it is disheartening to learn that it will be replaced with yet another meet-and-greet location instead of a brand new dark ride.  When you consider that Disneyland is overflowing with unique Fantasyland dark rides (Pinocchio, Toad, Alice), what would be so difficult about creating another D-Ticket level attraction in Florida?

Surviving the revisions are the Beauty and the Beast restaurant and attraction venues that were previously announced.  These include the Be Our Guest Restaurant, Gaston's Tavern, Belle's Village and the Enchanted Tales with Belle interactive show.  The Dumbo-centric circus grounds also remain and have been formally named the Storybook Circus.  Details about this area are still somewhat ambiguous, although it has been confirmed that the Barnstormer coaster will be re-themed and feature Goofy as the "Great Goofini."  The existing Toontown Fair tents will be recycled and re-purposed as circus tents and contain, " . . . fun-filled interactive experiences for kids of all ages."  And of course, The Journey of the Little Mermaid, perhaps the project's most high profile attraction, remains in place.

The Fantasyland expansion at Walt Disney World is due for overall completion sometime in 2013.


stu29573 said...

I too wish they would do something a little more creative with the Snow White area. Although we're picking up what reports to be a combination dark ride/coaster, it would be nice to have a regular dark ride in that space...

Anonymous said...

What they're doing to the Snow White's Adventures space is good enough, considering the fact that the Toontown Hall of Fame is closing for good soon, along with the rest of Mickey's Toontown Fair.

You also need to consider the fact that since the once-announced interactive play-and-greet experiences with Cinderella and Aurora (which I still think would've made great additions/enhancements to the park) have been cancelled, those remaining princesses are going to need a new indoor meet-and-greet location for park guests to meet them at...and there's no other suitable place for them, so their best bet is the Snow White dark ride area, especially since we're going to be getting a new, more elaborate Snow White themed attraction (the Dwarfs mine ride) anyway.

So, complaining about any percieved "lack of creativity" is null and void here, IMO.

Jeffrey Pepper said...

To anonymous-

A lack of creativity was not what I was addressing.

Meet-and-greets are a step down from an actual attraction. Simple as that. If you have an established dark ride infrastructure already in place, why waste it? Surely there could have been other options for a Princess m&g in what is a pretty broad expansion.

Your very narrow point of view betrays a blind loyalty to everything the Disney Company does. My comments were neither overly critical nor without merit. Lighten up.

Paul F. Anderson said...

Hear Hear Jeffrey. One less dark ride is truly moving away from the roots and legacy of Disneyland/WDW-Magic Kingdom ... that is Walt Disney. Having an attraction where ALL can go on. Dark rides are one of the few rides an entire family can enjoy (even elderly grandma and grandpa who have back/heart/etc. problems that they are warned about on so many other attractions). And when whimsical enough (think original Journey Into Imagination), they are truly a magical experience every age can enjoy (even teenagers!). So yes, while the old Snow White attraction was in dire need of some help, as you state the fact that there is infrastructure already intact why NOT let the Imagineers use their creativity and come up with a new generation Dark Ride! (Perhaps because so much is outsourced now!) And brilliant point, there is land aplenty to build a meet and greet, so why remove what is basically an essential component of what constitutes a Walt Disney (the man!) family experience! As always, love your blog!!

Snow White Archive said...

I will certainly miss SWSA. A simple yet effective design, it kept the edge of the dark side in Fantasyland. It wasn't a kiddie ride by any measure, and it's magic (which has its roots in the original 1955 DL attraction) truly worked its spell on me.

While the Mine Train sounds exciting, I hope it doesn't lose the edge (WITCH shenanigans) that SWSA possessed.

Anonymous said...

Paul Anderson, you're wrong and you know that you're wrong!

End of story.

Paul F. Anderson said...

Dear Anonymous: You make a very convincing argument ("you're wrong ..."), how can I compete with that. But I do know Walt Disney, and I know what he wanted for Disneyland. I work for his daughter and the Walt Disney Family Foundation. I have interviewed over 250 of the Disney old-timers that worked with Walt. I am routinely consulted on historical matters by the Walt Disney Archives. I've written extensively on the topic. So thank you for letting me know that I know I'm wrong! It's a whole new world for me (in keeping with a Disney theme). Brilliant! AGAIN, have nothing against meet and greets, but as Jeffrey so ably illustrated, there is no shortage of real estate to create a fantastic m&g. Enough said.

philphoggs said...

Now drop and give me 20!
Well the die has been cast for sure, that is generally, Disneyland preserves one attraction while WDW another. Not so bad when considering what could be the alternative. That said, it does pang me to see yet another one go, and no doubt my preference are firmly with Paul.
Besides, this whole girl centric reaction seems bizarrely knee jerk; oh where oh where was this issue when 20,000 Leagues got dozed?