Another one of the Magic Kingdom's original attractions closes today, May 31. After 40-plus years, Snow White's Scary Adventures will be shut down and the space reconfigured as part of the multi-year Fantasyland expansion project.
For many, today will be a day of fond farewells. For others, it's out with the old and in with the new.
When Snow White's Scary Adventures first opened in 1971, Snow White did not appear in any scenes within the attraction. Instead, guests were supposed to be experiencing the story, based on the 1937 Disney animated film, from the princess's perspective. In addition, the Queen-turned-witch popped up more often and the Dwarfs were seen less. Consequently, that version was considered by many parents to be scarier.
A refurbishment in 1994 toned down the witch's dominance of the attraction by adding Snow White to several scenes, including the classic Happily Ever After ending in which the Prince awakens Snow White from her spell. The Dwarfs also are more prominently seen alongside the ride, too. (Want to read more about Snow White's history with The Walt Disney Co.? See Jack's blog HERE.)
Although I always have a sense of deja vu when riding Snow White's Scary Adventures, I don't have specific memories of the attraction from my first childhood visit to the Magic Kingdom in 1979. I can recall a vague sense of adventure circling the wishing well and heading into the mines, but I do not remember being overly afraid.
By the same token, Snow White's Scary Adventures was not a ride that I begged to go on repeatedly, and neither do my elementary-school-age children today. My 7-year-old daughter would much rather be interacting with the Disney Princesses than just zipping by murals of them. For our family, spending 30 minutes in a queue for a meet-and-greet has more value than the same amount of time in this old-school ride. I can imagine we are not alone.
And so, although I am sad to see another bit of Disney World history disappear, I am excited about the new Princess Fairytale Hall, which will be built in the building that now houses Snow White's Scary Adventures. Set to open late in 2013, this location will be the new home for princess meet-and-greets.
Disney describes it this way: "The castle-like entrance will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows. The entrance will open into a large gallery -- an airy space with a high ceiling and portraits of Disney Princesses. When it's time for their audience with a princess, guests will proceed to an elegantly finished room to meet her."
In the meantime, guests can continue to meet the Disney Princesses, including Snow White, at the Town Square Theater at the front of the park. There, you can even get a FastPass and avoid a long wait. (A tip: The princesses rotate appearances in the theater. If Snow White is a must-see for your little girl and she is not there when your audience occurs, ask a cast member when she is scheduled to return.)
Snow White usually appears for meet-and-greets with all her Dwarfs at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
One of the last parts of the Fantasyland expansion to open will be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster in 2014. This gentle ride is expected to use new technology to create a swaying train on a course that includes the Dwarfs' cottage and mine.
Are you among the fans eager for something new? Or would you have preferred that Disney preserve Snow White's Scary Adventures?
The previous post in this blog was Walt and the Promise of Progress City: The Florida Project.
The next post in this blog is A Blast From The Past: Dining at the 50's Prime Time Cafe.