Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Resurrecting Snow White's Scary Adventures, Part One: Why I Loved It

Tonight, May 31st, will mark 5 years since Snow White's Scary Adventures at Walt Disney World closed for good. 5 years since the last pocket of scariness in Fantasyland was boarded up and gutted into a princess meet-and-greet. Two years afterwards, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened up across the way, and the general public moved on from their memories of the old dark ride. But to me, Snow White's Scary Adventures is gone, but far from forgotten. I had loved this attraction for every minute I rode it since my very first trips to WDW. And if it was up to me, it would return in a spectacular way. In this part memoriam, part hopeful post, I'll try to explain why I loved Snow White's Scary Adventures so dearly, why I think it should return, and how I would have it return. In this first part, I will talk about why I loved Snow White's Scary Adventures. I dedicate the following to that attraction; may it rest in peace (unless someone decides to resurrect it!)

Why I Loved It

(this photo and all others from Ricky Brigante, unless noted)


Whenever me and my family found ourselves in the center of Fantasyland, one attraction was always nearby that was a perfect choice for our next ride: Snow White's Scary Adventures. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by that ride; it was hard to stop me from rushing to the line far ahead of the rest of the family just so I could get on it sooner. The blue and white canopy tent, and the beautiful mirror with the Witch and Snow White painted on it beckoned to me, especially when seen from the carousel.

Seeing all of the beautiful scenery and characters on the load mural was fantastic, especially the Wicked Queen and Huntsman who glared from a bridge above the end of the ride.

The Wicked Queen's castle, with its turrets and pathways set into the distance, and a stone wall with wooden doors leading inside, was by far the best thing to see while in the line. The anticipation would always build up fast when I saw the Dwarfs mine carts turn round the wishing well, then reappear from another u-turn and enter the castle.

When it was my turn, I'd step into a minecart, and off I'd go. It was a novelty every time to have the ride start by turning around the quaint Wishing Well. Seeing Snow White on the courtyard steps with the Queen staring through a window was an excellent prelude to our entrance inside the castle.

The Magic Mirror and the Queen's Transformation, besides being incredible scenes in of themselves, remain two of the most impressive illusions I have ever experienced in a Disney attraction. What commanded the flames of the Mirror to move, and how on earth did the Queen, whose reflection was plain to see, turn into the Wicked Witch as she turned to us?

(Loren Javier)

 Then came the skeleton in the dungeon, the witch at her laboratory, the wooden crocodiles in the murky swamp, and the nightmarish trees in the dark forest. These are all things that should have frightened me, but instead amazed me. I kept my eyes wide open to see the nightmares, and scoured every corner of these frightful scenes for details hidden in the dark.

Contrasting but welcome was a sudden change to light and warmth, as a bright and cheery Dwarfs Cottage appeared in the darkness, and the doors swung open to reveal the Dwarfs singing their silly song.

But the absolute best moment of the ride besides the Queen's transformation was the confrontation between the Dwarfs and the Witch. When she shouted "I'll crush you fools!" she must have meant us, for the boulder she pushed leaned menacingly down towards the vehicle, and it and the guests it carried were spared only by the lighting that struck down the Witch. The only other ride that gave me that same sense of complete immersion and involvement in a single scene was the Haunted Mansion with its ghosts that followed me home.

The happy ending with true love's kiss was a fitting end, mainly because of the powerful music from the end of the original film. Seeing Snow White and her prince head to his shining castle in the distance as the dwarfs waved goodbye was a great way to end our adventures with Snow White.

There was never any good excuse not for me to ride Snow White's Scary Adventures. Perhaps it was the fluorescent paint, perhaps it was my active imagination, perhaps it was my love of the original film, but where others may have seen darkness and fright unsuitable for children, I saw a masterpiece. There was so much beauty to be admired, from the painstakingly painted sets to the unequaled music from the film. Even the constant appearance of static figures wasn't enough to deter me for my profound admiration of the ride. I couldn't believe it when it was announced that this attraction I loved so much was to be closed forever. Luckily, I got my wonderful but sad opportunity to say goodbye to Snow White's Scary Adventures. One spring evening in 2012, only a short while before it was to close, I went through the switchback queue one last time. I gazed at the load mural and its numerous parts, knowing I’d never see it in the flesh again. I sat down in the mine cart, and for the last time, departed around the wishing well. There is no experience quite like riding an attraction for the final time. I tried my hardest to see every last part of the ride I so loved, from the infinite elegancies of the queen’s throne room to every single thicket and scrub in the Dark Forest. Struggling to take it all in, I traveled with Snow White on her adventures, passing through castles and dungeons, cottages and mines, dark and light forests. It went like a blur, and yet, as long as it had always been. Soon enough, I found myself at the end of my journey, and Dopey waved goodbye from above, this time in earnest. In short fashion, I stepped out to my left, and left Snow White to live happily ever after with her prince.

By the morning of June 1st, Snow White's Scary Adventures was only a memory, its entrance walled up, and my beloved ride that laid inside was gutted to its supports. In a cruel twist of fate, the space where Snow White's Scary Adventures once was would not even be made into a new attraction, but into a princess meet-and-greet, of all things. Every young girl and their parents who has visited Princess Fairytale Hall since then may not have ever known about the classic dark ride that once stood there. Where Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and others now entertain their fans, bus-bar carts once took guests through a subtly brilliant attraction, where beauty and fright combined, Snow White and the Wicked Witch were both stars, and there were as many princesses, skeletons, crocodile logs, frightening trees that moved, Wicked Witches, and countless other things I loved as there are diamonds in the Dwarfs mine. I sorely miss Snow White's Scary Adventures, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

In Memoriam

Snow White's Scary Adventures        1971-2012

In Part Two of Resurrecting Snow White's Scary Adventures, I will talk about why and how I would bring back Snow White's Scary Adventures from the dead.


  1. I had forgotten the beautiful mural even though I was always awestruck by it as I waited for my turn. It had the incredible quality of the animation drawing and coloring of the movie itself. I hate that this subtle classic very special attraction gave way to the cheap thrill of the mine coaster. (And a meet & greet??? Egad! No respect.)

    1. The real problem of the mine coaster IMO isn't that it's a junior thrill ride, but that it's so short, is a storybook attraction that follows two scenes of a movie, and only has ONE dark ride scene, which BTW is one of the most impressive scenes in a modern Disney ride I've ever seen. The mural of Snow White's Scary Adventures was indeed beautiful, and indeed almost the entire ride had that same pastel beauty of the film. What a shame it was destroyed. But in Part Two, I explain why and how I would not only bring back SWSA, but also reimagine the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as an incredible dark ride.

      Sincerely, Kyle
      PS: Congrats on being the first person to leave a comment on Haunted Serenade!

  2. This brought me to melancholy...Reading your words and understanding how much the ride meant to me and then to you and so many others. Truly a devastating end to such a fairy tale come true through art and motion.