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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was previewed for the press and travel agents earlier in May. The official opening was announced for May 28, but additional opportunities to preview the roller coaster are expected between now and then. If you won’t have a chance to ride or just want a bit more insight into what to expect, I’ve written my take on this journey into the story of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, sharing moments from the movie that have never been possible before today.

No matter which direction you approach Snow White’s Mountain from, you are greeted by a Fairytale Forest. As you approach, you notice a small mountain rising out of the forest. It appears to be the home to a gem mine, and if listen close, faint sounds of happy work emanate from within. Near one end of the forest you spot the work of talented craftsmen and a sign inviting you in to tour the mine.

Moving down the wide trail, you can just see a small carefully cared for cottage through through the woods. Ahead of you are small wooden shelters that appear to be part of the mining operation. Inside the largest of the two shelters is a slough used to wash and sort gems from the mine. You can even stop and help for a while if you like. There is also a gem washing station that plays a musical tune as you help clean the gems. It’s quite clever and you scratch your head wondering how it’s done.

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We talked a bit about Disney’s new idea of improved scene one guest experiences during our first look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train interactive queue. These additions to the guest experience don’t just make waiting in time less boring, they transform the interaction all together.

Take the new Dumbo attraction. The play environment is friendly for kids of all ages and Disney has found that some families return to the attraction later in the day, just so the kids can experience the play zone again. In essence, it’s like its own attraction. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad recently had its own queue re-envisioning. It drastically updated the story Imagineers are able to tell and added a new variety of interaction as well.

With Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the audience is in the middle of those two attractions. As such, the interactive experiences are more a mix of the above some great Disney scene ones.

We were able to sneak back into the queue during a rainstorm and get some daytime shots and footage from the interactive elements.

I found at least one ‘easter egg’ in the gem sorting game. There’s a bar of soap, which we know the dwarfs don’t like, so when you touch it, it squirts off the screen. Cute.

There are also a few more photos below the jump.

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Walt Disney Imagineering is famous for their project documentation. The archives are full of great concept art, construction photos, and documentation from most of the major builds over the last 50+ years. But my favorite of these has to be the time-lapse video.

This short time-lapse video shows the construction of most of New Fantasyland, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Definitely worth expanding it to full-screen to view:

Interesting how construction on the coaster itself didn’t actually start until about half-way through the video.

Below the jump, I have an interview with Bruce Vaughn, executive vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, as they talk about how Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fits into New Fantasyland and how excited the Imagineers are to finally have it open to the public on May 28th.