RIDE REVIEW: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

The largest expansion in the history of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is now complete, and New Fantasyland now has its crowning jewel.  The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a swingin’, swayin’ family roller coaster that takes guests inside the mountain where “a million diamonds shine.”  The ride is a fantastic addition to New Fantasyland, filled with 3D audio animatronics, and enough speed and height to thrill the little (and not so little) ones, but this is NOT a roller coaster.  No, with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Walt Disney Imagineering has created a STORY Coaster.  The attraction officially opens May 28, 2014 to the public.  Continue reading for more photos, video, and detailed review of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Multi-angle VIDEO from our partner John Saccheri of BigFatPanda.com

In this media age, where kids are excited about wizards, magic, and passionate first loves, do they care about a 75+ year old movie?  Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs debuted in 1937, was a first-of-its-kind animated feature, took four years to produce, and was critical to the success of the Walt Disney Studios.  Without a successful Snow White film, there would be no theme park.  Snow White’s Adventures was an original Disneyland attraction in 1955 when the park opened, and one of the first attractions to allow guests to go inside a film.

Poster with Snow White

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

Interactive Stand-By Queue for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Disney has done an amazing job creating the wooded glen hidden inside the bustling theme park, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train takes you through key elements of the film from a perspective that has never been told – the dwarfs.  The story emerges as you wind your way through the queue.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

On the stand-by entrance side, Imagineering has created an interactive queue filled with games to entertain families while they wait and set up the story.  Kids learn about the mine, Doc’s in charge, and gives directions to all the games and interactive elements.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

On video panels kids can sort gems in a sluice; wash them with a “musical” spout; enter the mine’s vault, spin the barrels of gems for projections to appear on the ceiling.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Details and gags from the film (as well as Walt Disney World’s Snow White Scary Adventures) abound; the dwarfs are master woodworkers, and throughout the queue and attractions are intricately carved animals and details.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

In the film, as the dwarfs leave work they pull an ore cart out of the mine during their normal work routine – clearly an inspiration for the ride vehicles of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Innovative Swinging Ride Vehicle

The train cars are swinging ore carts, just like the one you see in the film.  The seats are a little tight, with a lap belt, and might be constraining for larger folks.  Once everyone is loaded, you’re off to the mine.

Seven Dwarfs Mine TrainSeven Dwarfs Mine TrainSeven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train starts with a quick drop, and you’re whisked around a bend.  The ride is smooth – ultra smooth – any jerks and jolts buffered by the swinging mine car.  Before you know it, you’re climbing the first hill towards the mine – look out for vultures and boulders, homages to the Snow White dark ride.

On Ride VIDEO provided for media by Walt Disney World Resort

Our first glimpse of the dwarfs in the film is inside the mine where they “dig, dig, dig” for diamonds; in the 30’s Disney studio animators created rich visual detail of a mine filled with hand-carved objects.  A prominent example was the tree clock that strikes 5:00pm and signaled the end of the work day as forest critters struck an anvil… “Heigh-Ho!”

These details were all reproduced inside the dark ride portion of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (see VIDEO above).  Dopey pops up with starry diamond eyes, the dwarfs work, and sing “we, dig, dig, dig…” reproduced in state-of-the-art animatronics.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

 

Also re-created straight from the film, the dwarfs’ mine clock signals 5:00pm, work day is done, animals come out striking anvil; and Doc gives a hearty “Heigh-Ho…”  The dwarfs sing their marching song, “it’s home from work we go…” as our ore car creeps up the lift hill and shadows of the dwarfs march and sing beside us.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Crest the hill and down the “big drop” – not huge, but big enough and fast enough to give a thrill.  I rate the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train somewhere between Goofy’s Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in terms of intensity [a little higher than Goofy and lower than Big Thunder]. Very little ones may be nervous about the hill and drop, but they will feel proud of their accomplishment once tackling it, and one step closer to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and even bigger coasters.

A Small House, Just Like a Doll’s House

The dwarfs’ cottage is an important setting for the film; Snow White finds shelter and safe haven in the home of what she thinks are “seven untidy children.”  The cottage is where the dwarfs first meet Snow upon returning from the mine.

Seven Dwarfs Cottage

Just like the film, when we return from the mine, we arrive at the dwarfs’ cottage.  Peering inside we see Snow and the dwarfs dancing in their musical dancing sequence taken right from the film (and old attraction).  Notice the intricate details of the Cottage – owls carved into the ends of the beams and stairs, and the handmade whimsical musical instruments played by the dwarfs such as Grumpy’s pipe organ.  But always beware, just outside the fun festivities, an evil lurks.

In closing, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a ride the whole family will enjoy, and  everyone get something out of the shared experience.  The roller coaster is smooth, not too intense, but still thrilling.  You can ride again, and again, and again to see all the details packed within the mine sequence, or just gape in ownder at how the audio-animatronic wizardry that brings the dwarfs to life in audio-animatronic form.  Make sure to experience Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during the day and night as the atmosphere changes when the sun goes down.  Walt Disney Imagineering has a winner in its centerpiece of New Fantasyland.  But please, don’t call Seven Dwarfs Mine Train a roller coaster – it’s a full STORY coaster.

Walt Disney Imagineering team for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Walt Disney Imagineering team for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the ride’s dedication, May 2, 2014

 

Just for fun, here’s the meet and greet opportunity with the Seven Dwarfs set up by Walt Disney World Resort for the media preview event plus exterior night views of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from John Saccheri of BigFatPanda.com.

DISCLOSURE:  Walt Disney World Resort provided transportation, accommodations, park tickets, and meals in order for the author to experience Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.