Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ride Review - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train


THE SEVEN DWARFS MINE TRAIN


Background: Built as the final piece of the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train officially opened in 2014 after years of construction, basically in the center of the park. The family coaster is the Magic Kingdom’s fourth and is also the closest thing to a new “e-ticket” attraction in the park since the opening of Splash Mountain in 1992. (Although not really and I’ll have more on that later.)


Queue: The winding track is visible from various points in Fantasyland but the actual entrance is near Winnie the Pooh and the Teacups. The queue can sometimes back up into the walkways of Fantasyland (a nightmare on a hot summer day) but is for the most part a winding path through trees, past the dwarfs cottage, and then mercifully inside the mine itself. There are some of the now-standard time wasting games and diversions for the kiddos but by and large the queue is nothing all that inventive or spectacular. The story here is pretty simple: we are whistling off to work and joining the dwarfs in their mine.


Ride: We board a mine train car that is more akin to a one that would haul rocks and gems than people like its Frontierland counterpart. The cars do a little bit of free range rocking as we head out of the station, down a hill into a curve, and then up a lift hill. The dwarfs “Heigh Ho” working song can be heard in the distance as we reach the top of the hill and then twist and turn through “the countryside” and finally down into the mine. The dwarfs are down there, picking at rock, collecting gemstones, and singing their tune just like in the movie. Dopey is first to make an appearance, followed by some “blink and you’ll miss it” cameos from the others including Sleepy who is, naturally, asleep on the job. Finally Doc calls out to the others to head on home as our train heads up another lift hill. The dwarfs’ shadows are projected on the wall of the cave as we climb to the top and get a good but brief view of Fantasyland including Beast’s castle in the distance. 

The train heads down another hill, twists past a waterfall, and then winds back towards the station. We make one final stop in front of the dwarfs’ cottage. A quick glance inside reveals Snow White dancing with her friends while the Evil Queen, disguised as an old hag, lurks outside the door while carrying a basket of presumably poisoned apples. Then, in a moment completely unprecedented for Disney Parks, the ride does something that I am almost certain has never happened before. It ends on a cliffhanger. There is no resolution to the story. Our heroes are stalked by an evil villain who never gets any comeuppance…she just lurks. What a strange, strange ending.


Thoughts: So yeah…the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a short but fun little coaster that delivers exactly what it promises. It’s an enjoyable ride, perfect for whole families to go on together. It’s got thrills for kids who haven’t quite graduated to the “big” coasters and it’s tame enough for grandma. Its popularity successfully draws some FP+ reservations and riders away from the park’s other headliners but it is definitely not the big time “e-ticket” that some people had hoped for when it was announced. While not a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination, it is certainly not a second-coming of Toy Story Mania that people will wait hours to ride time and again.

One big selling point of the ride are the unique train cars that independently rock and back and forth. The effect is noticeable more if you know that it happens and try to feel for it. My wife, upon riding for the first time, had no idea that the cars moved until I told her and agreed on a second ride that she noticed it then. Overall I’d call it a unique but underwhelming feature.

I also just can’t get over that ending. Disney has been on a streak of delivering rides that break the cliché of “…then something goes terribly wrong” and serving up attractions that are heavy on pure grin-inducing fun (Toy Story Mania; California’s Radiator Springs Racers.) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train appears to be well on the way of doing the same until the final moments when, for no explainable reason, they throw a villain into the mix to do nothing but look menacing. Would anyone ride this thing without the witch and come off asking why she wasn’t in it? If someone went into the ride hoping to see the witch cause tension, would they be pleased by her randomly appearing in the ride’s final seconds to serve no purpose? It’s such a wacky final scene that also isn’t helped by the fact that you can’t even see into the windows of the cottage depending on where in the sky the sun happens to be when you ride. It just jars me every time and I can’t shake it. The ride ends…in a CLIFFHANGER. Why?

Rating: *** ¼ 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Kickoff Disaster

Disneyland kicked off their 60th Anniversary celebration in much the same way as the park's opening day: unmitigated disaster.

That might be too strong a term to describe both days but most certainly yesterday's 24-hour event had more negative than positive associated with it and will likely jeopardize the future of these events at Disney Parks.

What happened was that a massive crowd descended upon the park, many of whom were willing to camp out along Main Street from early in the day to wait for the evening's debuting parade. The park was completely inundated, closing to all guests in the afternoon resulting in a backlog of hopefuls crowing the esplanade between Disneyland and California Adventure, into California Adventure park, and up Harbour Blvd. Worse, the park never announced a closing for California Adventure despite it being impossible for guests to get in. The park never reopened until very late at night (we're talking 2am late) and social media was filled with guests furious with Disney.

I'll have more thoughts on this as the weekend progresses but for now it should go without saying that Disney needs to seriously reevaluate the way it handles these 24-hour events if they plan on having them again in the future. Which, after yesterday, is a definite "if."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Internet Wins Again

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lorynbrantz/disney-princesses-as-office-supplies?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#.ahpZPQ6Qn

That right there is a link to a bunch of pictures of Disney princesses re-imagined as office supplies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

16 Disney Characters Who Were Probably Gay

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mathewguiver/disney-characters-who-were-probably-gay#.klvxz7A7Z

This had me laughing a few times but I almost totally lost it at "Baloo also seems to enjoy having his prostate stimulated."

Well done, Buzzfeed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Polynesian DVC

http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2015/01/polynesian_dvc_sales_begin_ope.html


These look so excellently kitchy yet modern at the same time...like a room designed and built in 1965 and then remodeled in 2015, which is probably exactly what they were going for.

And the perks...like a private balcony with a pool with fireworks viewing with music pumped in to your own speaker system! Brilliant and amazing. Probably way out of  mine and most people's price range but awesome nonetheless and somewhere to dream of staying for certain.

Tipping my cap to Disney for this one...hopefully not prematurely and the execution really matches the imagination.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Disney Female Character Analysis


http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinezwiebel/we-did-a-census-of-all-the-disney-female-animated-characters

Results: much like their cartoon ducks, Disney's women rarely wear pants.

They're also white orphans with no discernable responsibilities outside of sewing, singing, and hanging out with their non-human sidekicks. But you already knew that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jurassic World Trailer



This movie is going to be awesome. Also there's a scene where rampaging dinosaurs chase guests past a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, so there's that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Disney's Most Popular Princess is Not the Fairest of Them All

http://www.buzzfeed.com/leonoraepstein/here-are-the-most-popular-disney-princesses


Buzzfeed counts down the Disney princesses in order of popularity based on a reader survey. Disney should take note of this...especially as concerns their Snow White obsession.

Yeah, I know it was their historic first film...but like I have commented here before, the movie doesn't hold up at all and modern audiences have very little connection to Snow White. There is certainly more connection to the dwarves, which I guess is why it made sense to switch from the dark ride to the mine train at Walt Disney World.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Pixar Theory



The genius thing about this is that it's absurdly preposterous and obviously not "real" but the argument is so thoroughly laid out that for awhile you actually believe everything the guy is saying. Then, you know, it ends and you know it was ridiculous but you also want to watch every Pixar movie in "chronological" order like those Godfather trilogy compilations and search for clues.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Maelstrom Gets Frozen


"The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take our guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film. The pavilion will also include a royal greeting location where Anna and Elsa can meet our guests. We think these “Frozen” elements are great compliments to the Norway Pavilion, which showcases the country and region that inspired the film."

Big announcement from Disney today making waves online as the company finally made it official: a Frozen attraction will replace the Maelstrom in Epcot's Norway pavilion. There was no further news on the move like a timetable for the change or any info on if this will simply be a layover or if it will be a complete overhaul. A layover would be like the additions of Nemo to Living Seas or the Three Cabaelleros to El Rio Del Tiempo and would likely be something like Frozen characters giving a tour of Norway. This, quite frankly, would probably suck. But it could also be done much much quicker to appease the Frozen-starved masses. A new attraction, on the other hand, could be a very welcome investment on Disney's part into World Showcase, a neglected part of the Resort for years.

That having been said, there are many angry over the decision. Both the usual qualms about Disney replacing an old "classic" with something new and trendy and from those who like World Showcase as an adult area fairly untrampled by Disney characters and screaming kids. Now, as someone who has "drank around the World" and will often dedicate an entire day of vacation to just exploring World Showcase, I can see their point. But the flipside, like I've said, is that Disney might be investing money, REAL MONEY, into World Showcase for the first time in forever (yes, totally intended.) Maybe this leads to more improvements and general overhaul.

I do certainly hope Disney has the foresight to wait until after the Christmas season to shut Maelstrom down. Because that gobbles up lots of people all day. They certainly don't need to make Epcot lines even longer during the busiest time of year. There is also always a chance that they shut it down now for a cheap overhaul open in time for Christmas. This could also be a pretty terrible plan since Food & Wine Festival season is now, making it also a bad time to close an Epcot crowd guzzling attraction and since, as I mentioned earlier, an overlayed ride would blow.

Most importantly, ALL Disney has said on the "Frozen to Epcot" front is that it is happening, there will be music from the film, and it will end in a Meet & Greet. So we won't know the whens, whys, or hows until a later date. Let the speculation and squabbling continue!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Disney Afternoon Revisited

https://d23.com/cue-the-disney-afternoon-theme-song/

Thanks for going ahead and making me all nostalgic, D23. Now I'm going to have to fire up my Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck DVDs (yes, I have them!)


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pixar's Inside Out = Cranium Command

http://thedisneyblog.com/2014/05/29/pixar-releases-details-of-next-film-inside-out/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheDisneyBlog+(The+Disney+Blog)

So Pixar is making a film version of Cranium Command. Thought you might like to know.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Today in "The Internet"...


https://twitter.com/schoolbread

Because of course the School Bread from the Norway pavilion has it's own Twitter account. I mean OF COURSE it does.