In 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the first ever Disney Social Media Moms Conference. It was during a press conference at that event that they first outlined the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history: New Fantasyland. Just a little over a week ago, it all came full circle as I attended the media launch event for the last addition to New Fantasyland. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a beautifully themed roller coaster that at once thrills and evokes the type of magic that Disney Parks are known for.
The ride, which officially opens on May 28, reminds me of a cross between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. No, there’s no water involved, but the ride takes a break from zipping around its track to gently coast through a “dark ride”-type experience involving the Seven Dwarfs. There is singing involved, of course, before the ride races you “home” in your mine car. While this isn’t as intense as some of the bigger Disney thrill rides, it does have a few plunges that will be too much for the youngest and most timid of the family. But, if Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is on your family safe list, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will probably pass muster. The ride on this coaster is as smooth as I’ve experienced and the individual cars have a gently rocking motion that seems to eliminate any jerkiness to the ride.
One thing Disney Imagineering has been focusing on is the line experience. And rightfully so, as the best rides can easily have waits of an hour or more. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a gem of a queue (pun intended). Kids (and grownups) can make music using only their hands and some clever water spouts. They can spin the gem barrels to reveal surprises on the ceiling. And they can play a video game that requires matching gems that are floating down a river. Pictures of some of the queue activities and theming are in the collage above.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train entrance is just across from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. With this location, you’ll find an amazing view of both Cinderella and Beast’s castles, Space Mountain, Dumbo, and more. In fact, if you only get one ride, make it a nighttime one. The views of the major Magic Kingdom landmarks lit up in the evening are spectacular and you may even find a better ride experience as well. Some of the special effects are more easily seen in the dark. Read on for some more details on that.
Spoiler alert! Stop here if you want to keep a few secrets for your first ride. Expect to find upgraded versions of some of Disney’s favorite technologies at play. One of which is the animation of the Dwarf’s faces using a CGI version of the same projection effect we see on the five singing busts (Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub, and Phineas P. Pock) in The Haunted Mansion. The coaster slows at this point to enjoy the Dwarfs singing at work and, as it begins its ascent for the end of the ride, the Dwarfs appear as shadows marching along the wall (just as they did in the movie). At the very end of the coaster, you’ll get a view of the back of the Dwarf’s cottage (the front is visible from the queue). It’s harder to see in daylight, but look through the windows to find audio-animatronic versions of Snow White and all of the Dwarfs re-enacting “The Silly Song” dance (aka the yodeling song) from the movie. Beware, though, because just outside the door, the Queen (disguised as the Hag) waits with a poison apple. As you ride by, she may glance over as if considering offering the apple to you…
Disney shared a forward-facing video that leaves out a few moments, but gives you a sense of how gorgeous the view is.
And then one I really love… a time-lapse video of the building of the ride. It’s possible that we passed across the screen when we visited last year for the Disney Social Media Mom’s Conference.
If you’re excited to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it opens on May 28. Make sure you use your FastPass+ to book ahead of time. If you’re staying in a Disney World hotel, you can do it 60 days in advance. I’d expect long lines at this attraction for a quite some time to come. On a good note, maybe it will ease up a bit of the congestion at the other three thrill rides in the Magic Kingdom! Heigh Ho!
Disclosure: I was invited to Disney World for a media event and received airfare, lodging, park tickets and some meals. There was no additional compensation and the opinions contained in this post are my own.