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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - A Few Thoughts and Predictions For the Future

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

In 2014, Disney unveiled the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. At that point, the ride system was one of the most creative in the industry and and even to this day, it remains an incredibly forward thinking ride vehicle that truly immerses guests in a theming element that many of us have desired to experience for many years, a true swinging mine car experience. While the project took many years to fully develop into what it is today, the current attraction shuttles guests through a roller coaster style platform at a brisk 30+ mph while retaining a height requirement that can accompany guests of nearly all ages at just 38 inches.

Believe it or not, up until that debut, Fantasyland never truly had a height requirement for any attractions. It was a piece of Magic Kingdom designed to be the pinnacle of places where kids and adults could have fun together. There was nothing to worry about and truly no disappointment on the faces of young guests who couldn't "measure up." Of course, that practice had to come to an end due to obvious safety reasons, but nonetheless the attraction requirement remains rather short at just over 3 foot.

In the realm of theming there's nothing that truly compares to the mine train experience. The level of detail in the rock work, greenery, and even down to the wood grain is near perfect and sets the stage for a picture perfect icon of New Fantasyland. With all of that being said, the attraction set a precedent in many other ways and aspects as well, so we'll dive right into that with today's post!      


New Standard for Attraction Queues
As you arrive at the attraction you'll notice two things that stick out. First, the theming is incredibly diverse, but additionally you'll almost immediately notice the interactive elements of the queue. As you make your way through the line, a touch screen game, hands on water elements, and a sets of projections occupy your time as you slowly make your way to the attraction itself to board your mine train and head off with the Seven Dwarfs on a short but memorable experience.

The steps taken here in the realm of theming have truly set the pace for interactive queues in each and every new attraction coming to the parks. Of course, it wasn't the first interactive queue developed, especially considering it was predated by Soarin's simple original interaction and The Many Adventure's of Winnie the Pooh's queue redesign, but it also led the way for fully integrated lines to create a way for guests to be entertained as they journey through the queue. In doing so, Disney achieves a few things. First and foremost, it's a guest satisfier. It turns a two hour wait into one that seems far less tedious if your mind is occupied and you're entertained along the way. Second, it allows Disney the opportunity to test new ideas in the realm of wait times. In the future, I wouldn't be surprised if we see continued tests to expand the use of technologies similar to what is currently offered at Dumbo the Flying Elephant. It may not be that exact utilization or design concept, but inevitably Disney is going to have to find new ways to manage wait times as crowds continue to build. If you're looking to overcome crowds this spring/summer, check out our How To Beat the Walt Disney World Spring and Summer Crowds in 2018 article. 


Join the Event

A Continuing Piece of History
As many of you may know or may have even witnessed first hand, up until 1994 a portion of the space currently occupied by Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was home to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. While the original attraction was quite simple, it's most loyal riders have developed a highly attached following that attempts in every way to keep its legacy alive. As a result, Imagineering mad e special effort to "hide in plain site" a small tribute to the departed attraction inside the tree included in the pooh attraction queue. For a few brief years, the tree was a part of an interactive children's play area which set right where Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is today. On the inside of the tree's little walkthrough home reminiscent of the iconic franchise, you'll find a small Nautilus carved into the inside of the door frame along the top of the entrance. It's a subtle nod to the past but a hidden gem of Imagineering you wont want to miss. This fun fact even made it into our Top 5 Things We Enjoy About Fantasyland at Walt Disney World!

An Unexpected Nighttime Opportunity 
In a rather strange way, the surrounding area of the mine train lends itself to being one of the most unique fireworks viewing areas of the Magic Kingdom. As you exit the attraction, head around to the right towards the viewable downhill aspect of the attraction. If you stand on that bridge with the min train behind you, you'll catch a unique glimpse of the fireworks coming from the rear launch site while simultaneously catching the fireworks elements being sent into the air near the castle. It's not the ideal viewing location if you've never seen the Happily Ever After performance from the hub area, but a unique option nonetheless.

In a similar way, if you manage to be on the attraction and time it just right, there's nothing quite like catching a glimpse of the fireworks as your ride vehicle heads down the hill from within the attraction itself. It's a fleeting glance but a memorable moment that rivals one of my very favorite on-ride fireworks views over at Splash Mountain as you slowly traverse the top of the mountain before entering the internal portion.      


From A Motion Sickness Perspective 
If you've read the site for a while you may be aware of another article I shared detailing Flight of Passage From A Motion Sickness Perspective. In that particular post I shared a few thoughts of the experience as someone who gets horribly motion sick. I have to drive most places to avoid carsickness, and avoid most simulator style attractions at all costs. With that being said, I do ride Space Mountain from time to time, enjoy Thunder Mountain, and have ridden Expedition Everest, but draw the line at Rock N Roller Coaster and Mission Space. Without a doubt, basically anyone in good health should be able to enjoy this attraction. It's short and the ride system is incredibly smooth. If you have hesitations, try it once and you'll probably love it!   

How to Avoid the Long Line
Avoiding a long line at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is quite difficult. Even today, nearly 4 years after it's original debut, the attraction welcomes lines of guests easily reaching well over 2 hour wait times on a regular basis. Of course, that sounds terrible, and to be quite honest it isn't the best way to spend your time in the parks, but it is an attraction where the posted wait time tends to be a bit over exaggerated. There is a way to avoid the long lines though. The first is the most obvious and that is to book a fastpass+ selection for this experience in order to guarantee yourself a ride without risking the extreme wait times. Additionally, you can avoid the lines by riding the attraction during morning extra magic hours. Head to the mine train as soon as the gates open and you'll get there before the line starts to truly back up for the day. The posted wait time will likely start at near an hour, but rarely actually takes that long early in the morning. Our "go-to" plan for touring Fantasyland quickly and affectively can be found in a portion of our How to Ride 6 or More Attractions in 90 Minutes or Less: With Only 1 Fastpass+! post, but believe it or not, Seven Dwarf Mine Train is part of that plan. 


The Subtle Details
As you leave the attraction experience, be sure to catch a glimpse to your right as you walk out for a little hidden gem that many guests look right past. There's the full front side of the cottage you see on the attraction tucked back in the trees decked out in little details to build authenticity. So many guests are so excited about their journey that they never quite catch the unique photo opportunity.

Additionally, Disney put a certain level of time and effort into making the on-ride experience so incredibly realistic that you'll likely never notice the wood grain on the buildings, the vast shrubbery and foliage throughout the ride, or even the dense man made elevation variations that allow the ride vehicle to whip around objects and in and out of small valley's as you go about you journey into the mine and beyond. It's the little things that often go largely unnoticed but set the tone for the experience and are integrated so incredibly well that it just feels right and truly authentic to the intended representation.  


These little details are what set Disney apart (in my humble opinion) and give a certain level of appreciation and depth to the parks that is beyond what you'd ever expect from a theme park destinations. Disney is set apart in so many ways and the details you can find hidden in plain site are truly hard to put into words at times. Here's a closer look at a few of our favorites that help create that iconic "Disney Magic": 
Your Thoughts
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! 

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Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections!



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