The 7 Dwarfs Mine Train is opening this spring with the beloved Walt Disney characters that made them a household names since 1937. The Magic Kingdom’s dwarfs attraction is about to shine in a bigger way.
In fact, Snow White doesn’t even make a cameo until the very end of the ride.
“This is the next chapter in the story,” says imagineer Mark Kohl.
Billed as a family-style coaster, it features toe-tapping new music, a first-of-its-kind ride system and audio-animatronics that would make Walt proud. As the most anticipated part of New Fantasyland, the coaster completes the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history and becomes the first new roller coaster at Walt Disney World since 2006.
“The ride system is unlike anything we’ve seen,” says Lou Mongello, a Disney expert who has written three books about Disney World. “It looks and acts like a true mine cart while still being accessible enough for kids, parents and the entire family.”
With tame 31-foot and 41-foot drops and no upside-down turns, it’s something that even a kindergartner could handle. Imagineers even found a way to nearly nix that horrible clicking noise you normally hear on a coaster before a drop. You know, the part that often bumps up the butterflies in your stomach that much more.
Here’s the rundown: After boarding rustic-looking, wood-carved mine cars just like the ones in the movie, riders are whisked away to the countryside. By design, the ride vehicles are mounted in cradle-like pivots and sway independently as they swing around the track with each twist and turn.
Almost immediately after takeoff, the car rocks to the left and then to the right, and the G-forces go right down through your seat. As a result, it is delightfully smooth.
But it’s not all fast-paced. During the middle of the ride, while you are inside the mountain, there’s a slow-motion section where you see the dwarfs in their natural habitat. Sporting lifelike expressions and movements, they are the most advanced audio-animatronics ever created by imagineers.
How’d they pull it off? “It really starts with the team looking at all the classic motions that are in the original animation,” Kohl says, “from how they move their arms to how they position themselves.”