Disney’s 7 Dwarfs Mine Train is a real gem

Imagineers include many details in their design of the parks and attractions immerse guests in Disney magic. Whether it is force perspective used to create Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, or the remnants of British occupation found in the African village of Harambe at Animal Kingdom, the details enhance the guest experience. Although The Mature MouseTM has often stated that a Disney vacation is not just about riding an attraction, we cannot ignore the details evident in those attractions. Imagineers’ attention to theming makes a Disney attraction more than just an amusement park ride.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, often referred to as the crowning jewel of New Fantasyland, is more than just a rollercoaster; it is an experience that immerses you into the world of Walt Disney’s original full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Before we discuss this attraction, take a few minutes to watch this clip from the 1937 movie.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 2.56.39 PMRising up in the middle of New Fantasyland, surrounded by walkways and other attractions, Imagineers were given a relatively small space in which to design and build this attraction. They did an amazing job capturing the key elements of the original movie, while offering guests a family-friendly thrill ride.

The Mature MouseTM experienced Seven Dwarfs Mine Train twice during my last visit, both times utilizing a FastPass+ selection. The queue has been designed to keep guests entertained while waiting to board the mine train. However, with wait times that can often exceed 90 minutes, this is one of those attractions for which I recommend reserving a FastPass.IMG_1980

You board the train in the Dwarfs’ cottage. It is obvious that Imagineers took great effort to create a ride vehicle that looked and acted like an authentic train car that would have been built by the Seven Dwarfs. Each car looks and feels as if hewed from trees, weathered and worn over the years.

JPEG image-8EFFF49EF7C4-1Your car takes a short spin before climbing a small hill. The track then drops as you speed your way into the mine, where the coaster becomes a ‘dark ride.’ You slowly pass each Dwarf working in the mine. The Imagineers have created an experience that replicates scenes from the movie. The audio animatronics and new 3D projection technology brings each Dwarf to life. Toward the end of this portion of the ride, the clock chimes and the Dwarfs break into a round of “Heigh-ho, it’s home from work we go.” As you climb out of the mine, you see the shadows of the Dwarfs following along beside you. From there you rdsc_0008ush through the woods, pass a waterfall, and back to the cottage. Your car stops in front of the Dwarfs’ home. You can see them dancing with Snow White through the front window, oblivious to the imminent danger that lurks at their door.

The ride is smooth with none of the clickety-clack of most coasters. Each car sways independently from side to side as you take each curve of the track. The Imagineers included several of the original items from Snow White’s Scary Adventures, which closed as part of the New Fantasyland construction.

This is a the on-ride video from my recent trip. Look for me in the second seat of the first car, wearing the blue shirt. This type of video is available for purchase if you have the Memory Maker package.

Have you had the opportunity to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train? Is it on your must-do list? If so, why? Or, is this attraction you choose to skip? If so, I would enjoy hearing why? Please leave your comments below.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not have to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next bookingIMG_1869

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

The Mature Mouse™ interviewed on WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes podcast

The Mature Mouse™ had the great pleasure of talking Disney with Jesse Barrett and Heath Jarvis, podcasters from WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes.  I appreciate your feedback, so please leave a comment below.

Follow WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes through their website, their Facebook page, and iTunes. And, please vote for WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes as the fan favorite by following this link: Disney Podcast Survivor.

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A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not have to do a thing. IMG_1869Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking.

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

My Plans for Touring Disney

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Considering that crowd levels are consistently higher at Walt Disney World, The Mature Mouse™ believes in researching and planning park touring before every trip. As I stated in my previous post, Planning My Solo Trip to Disney World, I rely on TouringPlans.com for the best way for dealing with crowd levels. I purchased a subscription, which currently cost 12.95 a year, and renew it each year. I do not work for, nor do I profit from, TouringPlans.com. I believe in the value of this site and just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

UntitledDuring the planning process for my recent solo trip, TouringPlans.com made a reevaluation of the crowd levels and sent me an email informing me of these changes. This allowed me the opportunity to make changes to my daily plans before my trip, including making any alterations of in my FastPass+ reservations. Expectations for crowd levels increased, but I did not make any changes. I believed that my personal plans created by TouringPlans.com would still work given the different expectations.plan

My touring plans are generally very orderly and structured. However, for The Mature Mouse™, a well-planned touring of the parks allows for flexibility once in the parks. The image to the right is a visual I created to outline my touring plans for my recent trip. I took images from my files created in TouringPlans.com. The X in the upper section indicates the FastPass+ reservations, based on the TP suggestions, for morning at Magic Kingdom.

The graphic below indicates how close their expectations were to the actual crowd levels in the parks during the week of my vacation, along with an analysis of the results. The outcome is very impressive, which is the reason why I rely on this site in planning my Disney World trip.

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One of the common complaints I hear from non-Disney fans is that the parks are crowded, and they do not wish to deal with all those people while on vacation. The Mature Mouse™ is not a fan of crowds, either, but I am a fan of the Disney Parks. As I have expressed in many of my posts, I revel in the storytelling, the theming, and detailing Imagineers have created. Erin Foster, an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, is a guest writer on various Disney oriented blogs. Her article, An Introvert’s Guide to Disney World, offers an interesting look at dealing with the crowds in the Disney parks.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not have to do a thing. IMG_1869Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking.

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

Planning My Solo Trip to Disney World

IMG_7405Now that I have returned from my solo trip to Walt Disney World, we should review the planning for this trip. This will allow us to discuss in my future posts whether these plans worked and if any rescheduling was needed during my time in the parks. The planning steps i mention here will work for any type of Disney World vacation.

As with any trip to Disney World, planning for The Mature Mouse™ always begins with a call Jennie Nowers. I had a fixed budget and a short span of time for traveling, so Jennie helped me figure out my choices of resort, park tickets, dining plan, and plane flights.

IMG_1838Pop Century is the resort I chose for this trip. This is a value resort with rates ranging from $95 to $186 per night, varying according to the season in which you stay. The resort is themed after the pop culture of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. These last two decades are reflected in the same unit within the resort. As a middle-aged vacationer, The Mature Mouse™ can certainly relate to the theme of this resort. Pop Century is just one of the few resorts to feature dedicated buses that travel directly to and from the various parks, without any additional stops at other resorts. Here is a link to a previous post about Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

The next step in my planning process involves researching expected crowd levels in the 4 theme parks during my stay. I rely on TouringPlans.com Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 11.54.10 AMfor this information. The site is simple to use, and it offers subscribers the ability to create personal touring plans for each day of their trip. You pick a park and attractions you wish to experience, then add the start and end times for your time in the park, along with lunch and rest breaks, and the site creates an optimized plan to avoid long lines. As you can see from this example, the plan even includes a map of the park. They have an excellent track record.

Supported by suggestions from Touring Plans, I made the choice to include the Park Hopper onto my ticket purchase. By adding the Park Hopper option I would have the possibility to visit any or all of the four major Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) during each day of my trip. Here is more information on the value of the Park Hopper option. The various prices listed on this site may have changed since it was last update; please see Disney’s website on ticket pricing.

My final decision in planning was to determine whether to include a dining plan. I enjoy having an all-inclusive trip so as not to worry about added expenses. Of dining plans offered at Disney World, the Quick Service plan appeared to make the most sense. This would allow me two Quick Service meals and one snack. There are numerous QS restaurants throughout the parks, offering me numerous choices. Breakfast on the QS plan includes 1 entrée or a combo meal and a beverage. A QS lunch includes 1 entrée, 1 desert, and 1 non-alcoholic beverage. This dining plan would allow me to focus on touring the parks, not spending time sitting at a Table Service restaurant. Please do not misunderstand, Walt Disney World offers incredible fine-dining experiences. Please see my various posts about adult dining at WDW.

Chapter 7: Disney Magic and Romance at the California Grill

Top 10 Places to Dine Without Kids at Walt Disney World

My final step in planning was to book my FastPass+ choices 60 days prior to my trip, which was made based on the plans I created through the Touring Plans website. Making these reservations early insured I would have FP+ selections during my vacation, knowing that I would have the flexibility to alter these choices before and during my trip.

There was a period of time when a visit to Walt Disney World could be done on a whim, with little or no planning. However, times have changed. Planning is important and allows for flexibility. The process of planning your trip serves another purpose, educating you about the ins and outs of the resort. Think of it this way: Would you plan to travel to a city you have never been to before? The entire Walt Disney World Resort covers 40 Square miles, which is the equivalent in size of San Francisco. Would you research and plan your first trip to San Francisco?

IMG_1869Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

FastPass+ 2015

This is a simple, easy to read overview of the FastPass+ options for each Walt Disney World park. How much of your vacation plans are based on securing the right FastPass? Are you up at midnight to book your reservations 60 days in advance, or do you wing it once you are in the parks? Or, does your planning fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes? Has FastPass+ and My Disney Experience improved your Disney World vacations, or ruined them? FastPass+ is not going away, but there are rumors that there will be modifications and additions to the system. What changes would you like to see put into place? It has been two years since the inception of the new system, and it’s still a hot topic for many Disney enthusiast. Where do you stand?

Dole Whipped

Here is the most up to date information on FastPass+ for all 4 parks. At the end of each section I will give my suggestions for the high priority FastPass+ choices.

Magic Kingdom- Choose 3

Ariel’s Grotto

The Barnstormer

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Dumbo

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Festival of Fantasy

The Haunted Mansion

It’s a small world

Jungle Cruise

Mad Tea Party

Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Main Street Electrical Parade

Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet

Mickey’s Philharmagic

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

Peter Pan’s Flight

Pirates of the Caribbean

Meet Anna and Elsa

Meet Cinderella and Rapunzel

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Space Mountain

Splash Mountain

Tomorrowland Speedway

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular

High Priority:

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Meet Anna and Elsa

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Peter Pan’s Flight

Space Mountain

Big Thunder…

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