Perhaps the seven coolest features of the highly anticipated The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coming to the New Fantasyland expansion at Disney World's Magic Kingdom are actually Bashful, Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, and Dopey (especially Dopey) -- eight if you include Snow White. But it's likely that you are already familiar with the famous characters. You may not be familiar, however, with the unique new attraction based on the popular animated film that will be opening in 2014 at the park. In honor of The Seven Dwarfs, let's take a look at seven of the more intriguing elements and features of the new ride, which promises to be another Walt Disney Imagineering E-Ticket attraction.
1. First-of-its-Kind Swinging Coaster
There are spinning coasters (like Disney World's own Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom) in which individual Wild Mouse-style cars spin around. And there are fourth dimension coasters such as X at Six Flags Magic Mountain, which have cars that rotate to the sides of the track. But the innovative design of The Seven Dwarfs coaster will mark the first time that coaster cars will pivot, somewhat like a Ferris wheel but with side-to-side motion instead of back-and-forth movement.
At the time this was written, Disney hadn't elaborated much on the pivoting motion (or much else about the attraction for that matter), so I don't know the precise nature of the ride experience. But I am guessing that the cars will gently sway to and fro, possibly in time to the ride's musical score. Can't you just see passengers bopping along to "Heigh Ho! (The Dwarfs' Marching Song)?"
2. It's a Coaster. It's a Dark Ride. It's Two Rides in One!
It will be more of a full-fledged dark ride, like Pirates of the Caribbean, with animatronic characters, show scenes, props, music from the film, and other elements that will tell a linear story and immerse riders in the dwarfs' mythical workplace. Unlike Disney World's other mine train coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the New Fantasyland ride will more than just hint at mine activity by taking riders into a "working" mine. In that sense, it will give equal weight to its status as both a coaster and a dark ride, not unlike (the wonderful) Revenge of the Mummy at the Universal Studios parks.
3. It will Have Variable Speed Vehicles
4. New Animatronic TechnologyDuring a brief backstage tour of the attraction's construction site in April 2013, Imagineer Dave Minichiello said that the animated characters, which will include the dwarfs, Snow White, and forest animals, will introduce some new technology. He wouldn't elaborate, but he did promise that the ride would deliver some "wow factor." I'm ready to be wowed. And you?
5. It will Be Mildly Thrilling, but Widely Accessible
The new coaster/dark ride should hit the sweet spot. It will have some mild thrills (I'm guessing it will be milder than the relatively mild Big Thunder Mountain), but will not be intimidating enough to scare away wimps or have too much of a height restriction. It will be a true family coaster that most young children will be able to enjoy with their grandparents.
6. It will Include an Interactive QueueThe bane of theme parks has long been the interminable lines guests must endure to experience more popular rides. For the last few years, Disney has been adding entertaining diversions in its queues to make the waits more palatable. This has included features such as a tricked-out pipe organ in the line for Haunted Mansion and an air-conditioned "circus tent," complete with benches, games, and climbing equipment, for guests waiting to board Dumbo. Disney has not revealed the details, but it did confirm that the new attraction would keep riders engaged with some interactive features while waiting in line.
7. Other Possible Features
Check back in 2014 to see what the ride does include.