Disney Attractions Around the Globe: Snow White Edition
Joan L. Feder
AllEars® Staff Writer
This article appeared in the January 22, 2019 Issue #1009 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)
Editor’s Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.
Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated film. It was a hit when it was released in 1938, and has had incredible success in its many re-releases over the years. In fact, when adjusted for inflation, Snow White is still one of the top 10 box office money-makers in North America. According to the American Film Institute, it is the greatest American animated film of all time, as well as one of the 100 greatest American movies. It has even been preserved in the National Film Registry. With a track record like that, it is no surprise that every Disney theme park worldwide has at least one attraction based on this fabulous film.
When Disneyland opened in 1955, the first Snow White attraction debuted right along with it. Originally called Snow White and Her Adventures, the ride was designed so that guests would feel like they were Snow White, and she did not appear in the attraction. Most guests found it confusing. This changed in 1983, when Fantasyland was renovated. Now called Snow White’s Scary Adventures, the princess was finally part of her own attraction.
From the outside, the ride looks like the Evil Queen’s castle. Guests board mine cars named after the Seven Dwarfs. They travel through the Dwarfs’ cottage and jewel mine as well as the scary woods. Entering the dungeon of the Queen’s castle, her majesty transforms into the witch, and prepares the poison apple. As she approaches Snow White, the forest creatures run and alert the Dwarfs who rush to the princess’ rescue. The ride ends assuring guests that Snow White and her Prince lived happily ever after.
Disneyland is also home to the original Snow White Grotto. It is a beautiful quiet area to the right as you approach Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The Grotto includes a wishing well, waterfall and garden statues of Snow White and all of the Seven Dwarfs.
Walt Disney received these statues as an anonymous gift, and wanted to put them on display in Disneyland. The problem was that the Snow White figure was mistakenly made to be the same height as the Dwarfs. In order to make them look right, Imagineer John Hench used the optical illusion of forced perspective. By putting Snow White at the top of the waterfall and having the Dwarfs closer to the ground, she appears to be exactly the right size as compared to her companions. Hench did such a great job, that the three other parks with Grottos have them set up exactly the same way, down to the equal height statues and forced perspective.
When you enter the Grotto area, if you listen carefully, you will hear Snow White singing I’m Wishing. Adriana Castelotti, the original voice actor rerecorded the song as part of the 1983 renovation of Fantasyland. Her voice wafts out from the statue on the waterfall, and echos back from the wishing well. Guests are welcome to toss a coin and make a wish. All of the money collected from the well is donated to charity.
Walt Disney World
Once upon a time, the Magic Kingdom had a ride called Snow White’s Scary Adventures, an even more frightening version of the Disneyland dark attraction. This was one of the rides that opened in 1971 along with Walt Disney World. Snow White did not appear in this version either, but unlike the original, the Witch showed up SEVEN times! Eventually, a warning sign was posted outside, telling guest that they would be encountering the witch. In 1994, the ride’s scariness was toned down and Snow White was added to the attraction. Additionally, the ending was revamped to be more light hearted and include Dopey sitting over the exit waving goodbye. The ride was closed in 2012 to make way for what is now the Princess Fairytale Hall meet and greet.
Do not despair though, there is still a Snow White attraction in Florida. In 2014, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened as part of the New Fantasyland expansion. It took the place of Pooh’s Playful Spot (2005 through 2010).
Unlike the Snow White rides, this attraction is a family friendly roller coaster. There is an interactive queue for the standby line. Guests take a ride in mine cars that have a unique swaying action. The coaster takes you through the mine, which is filled with jewels, along with all Seven Dwarfs and some of their woodland friends. At the end, you pass by their cottage where inside, you can see Snow White dancing with the Dwarfs to the Yodel Song. Be careful though, the Witch is lurking just outside the door. Fans of the old Snow White attraction will be glad to learn that some of the Mine Train animatronics, including the Dwarfs from the finale, came from the original ride.
This park has its own version of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, which is a mix of the Disneyland and mostly pre-1994 Disney World versions. Also, to the west of Cinderella’s Castle, Tokyo Disneyland has a Grotto. When it was under construction, the error in the original statues was fixed, and Snow White was made taller than the Dwarfs. Later, it was decided to mimic the the Disneyland version exactly, and Snow White is now the same height as her friends.
The Paris attraction, Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (which is French for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”) is a dark ride identical to the current Disneyland version, but with a happy ending similar to the one in Florida.
Hong Kong Disneyland
This park has a Grotto and wishing well to the west of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Additionally, in the Fairy Tale Forest, guests can see scenes from some of their favorite Disney films come to life. It is a magical garden that has scenes crafted in miniature. The second vignette is from Snow White, and includes a scene of the Dwarfs digging up gems to the tune of Heigh Ho, while Dopey rides a mine car above.
Shanghai Disney Resort
This, the newest Disney theme park, debuted its Seven Dwarfs Mine Train when the park opened on June 16, 2016. The ride is very similar to the one in Florida. The biggest difference is that in Shanghai, they have a Single Rider line!
Shanghai also has a unique Snow White attraction called the “Once Upon A Time” Adventure. This is a walk through similar to the dioramas in Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, but with a modern twist: all of the characters are interactive!
This attraction is in the middle of Shanghai’s Enchanted Storybook Castle which celebrates all of the Disney princesses. Guests climb up a winding staircase and through the Magic Mirror into Snow White’s world. Snow White sings at the wishing well, forest animals interact with guests, and the Evil Queen shares her wicked plans. Guests are a part of the story from the beginning through the happily ever after.
In addition to the attractions, Snow White meet and greets are available at each of the parks. In California she often visits with guests in Fantasyland and on Main Street. Snow White appears regularly at Germany in Epcot and the Town Square Theater Porch at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. In Tokyo, Snow White is in Fantasyland, or may be seen at the World Bazaar. She can be found in Paris at the Princess Pavilion. In Hong Kong, Snow White is at the wishing well, and at the Enchanted Castle in Shanghai. So there you have it, wherever in the world you choose to visit a Disney park, you can spend some quality time with the fairest of them all.
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Also by Joan Feder for AllEars®:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan Feder is a lifelong Disney lover and aficionado. She is a writer who loves to cook, read and travel. Her favorite spot to visit is Walt Disney World, where you can find her several times a year drinking a Dorma Nesmond at the Hollywood Brown Derby.