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Vote of the week: Journey of the Little Mermaid vs. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

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Published: January 21, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Which of the two headlining rides planned for Walt Disney World's new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom interests you more? That's our vote of the week.

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train stand one next to the other in that concept art for the New Fantasyland - the Little Mermaid dark ride at the top and the Seven Dwarfs roller coaster at the bottom.

This week, Disney released a behind-the-scenes look at the California Adventure version of the Little Mermaid ride, which will debut in Anaheim this spring:

We've also got two pieces of concept art for the Snow White-themed roller coaster, which will be unique to the Florida park and feature mine cars that sway around the turns on the twisted track.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train exterior concept art

The ride's also said to feature a musical soundtrack and animatronic characters throughout, making it a blend of traditional Disney dark ride and family roller coaster experience.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train interior concept art

So, after taking a look at all this, let's put it to a vote:


Let's continue the discussion in the comments about these two rides, and whether they're enough to convince more families to book a trip to Orlando.

Readers' Opinions

From Kevin Scharf on January 21, 2011 at 12:18 AM
I'm voting for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train purely for the fact that it's nice that the Magic Kingdom is finally getting an ORIGINAL attraction, not a clone of a ride from Disneyland. Different is better!
From 80.195.30.218 on January 21, 2011 at 12:22 AM
I think both attractions as part of Fantasyland could bring guests to Orlando if marketed correctly, but not so much just one.
From Sylvain Comeau on January 23, 2011 at 12:22 AM
Same reason. The mine ride will be unique to WDW, while I might experience Mermaid at Disneyland first.
I think the entire Fantasyland makeover will prove to be a big draw, maybe second only to the boy wizard across town. I just pray they don't disappoint us with budget cuts or other kinds of cop outs. It's time for Disney to answer the challenge from Universal and other rivals.
From Rob P on January 21, 2011 at 1:51 AM
Definitely the Mine Train for me. I think it's because of my age and that " Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has such memories for me. Younger audiences might go more for the characters that were prevalent in their childhood.
From Joshua Counsil on January 21, 2011 at 2:01 AM
I hope Mermaid has some dazzling special effects because, let's face it, those animatronics don't seem to be any more impressive than the decades-old models you see in Splash Mountain. That's not to say I don't love the Splash Mountain animatronics, I just thought that the new models would be significantly more fluid.
From Tom Rigg on January 21, 2011 at 4:13 AM
^ Have you seen The American Adventure and The Hall of Presidents. Those animatronics are FAR more advanced than splash mountain. And beside, must of the animatronics in splash mountain are based of of the ones in the DL version which are reused ones from a scrapped show that took the place of The Mickey Mouse Revue over 30 years ago.
From 86.27.153.19 on January 21, 2011 at 4:26 AM
I was going to vote for the Little Mermaid as the ride looks just like the version you got to see on the DVD years ago. However now I read that the Snow White train ride will have animatronic figures in it I vote for both!! All we need now is a Beauty and the Beast ride!
From David Sutter on January 21, 2011 at 6:21 AM
I went with Little Mermaid. Im hoping it has WOW factor not seen in other attrations. And Seven Dwarffs Mine Coaster I find it odd that the Malbummer is being taken down and now we have got a spin coaster comming to Magic Kingdom. Im thinking it will be a recycled ride with diffrent cars. And indoors and themed to Snow White. ANd correct me if Im wrong but there are spin cars available for it. Think TOm Hanks Big Spin. ANd the manufacter does say they can them the cars to the customers specifcations.
From Ryan S on January 21, 2011 at 6:43 AM
I really just interested in the Fantasyland rehab as a whole because I was at MK last weekend and the Whole time I was in Fantasyland, it felt really dated, kinda like the park was 20 years ago. And all of the outdoor stations really enhance this feeling.

All in all, I think both rides will be great addition, but i and especially excited about the mine train coaster.

From Anthony Murphy on January 21, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Disney is the creator of some of the greatest dark rides ever made so I am excited to see whats next since Dark Rides seem to have gone by the wayside.

As for the mine roller coaster, I still am a little sad that the actual Scary Adventures ride is going away. I also am afraid that the roller coaster is going to be toned down due to its location in Fantasyland.

From 64.8.46.4 on January 21, 2011 at 10:28 AM
Can someone explain this "dark" ride term to me? I'm new around here. :-)
From David Kirby on January 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM
I can't imagine the Mine ride being as fully enveloping experience like The Little Mermaid. If it were a major attraction, there would be so may more details about it. Due to the lack of information, I'm fairly certain it will turn out to be a kid's roller coaster with a few static Snow White props thrown in, and certainly not a fully fledged E or D ticket some people seem to be expecting. I think a lot of people will be disappointed when it opens.
From Robert Niles on January 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM
A dark ride is any type of track or water flume ride inside a building, usually traveling through various show scenes. Think Disney's Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. The inside of the building is kept dark, save for the show lighting on the various scenes, giving this type of ride that name.
From Manny Barron on January 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM
People actually voted for the neither interest me much category!? Disney certainly isn't their cup of tea. Both of these rides look to be pure Disney brilliance. Rides in which the entire family can enjoy based on classic Disney movies.

I'm happy about these additions and can't wait to see the final product of this Fantasyland update. I voted for the Little Mermaid ride because Sebastian is just that cool.

From Daniel Etcheberry on January 21, 2011 at 12:19 PM
The mine train is a wonderful idea. The mermaid ride looks like the Nemo ride at Epcot. My vote goes to the dwarfs.
From 24.62.191.130 on January 21, 2011 at 12:34 PM
I completely agree with Daniel. the Little Mermaid Ride reminds me of the Finding Nemo Ride at Epcot. It's going to be slow moving, just going through various scenes. Even the clam seats are exactly the same. Unless Disney World is planning on going a different route than Disneyland with the Little Mermaid Ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train seems to be the better, more unique ride. However, I do hope Disney doesn't make the rollercoaster too kiddie-ish, or else I can't even see myself enjoying that ride either.
From Anthony Murphy on January 21, 2011 at 1:09 PM
To the Anon. poster, a dark ride is an attraction that, well, takes place in the dark, and takes you though a storyline in an attraction. It is not a roller coaster, show, or a water flume attraction either. They also usually have animatronics

Here is an incomplete list of Dark Rides:

Pirates of the Carribean
The Haunted Mansion (Disney)
Finding Nemo (EPCOT)
Great Movie Ride (DHS)
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (IOA)
Spiderman (IOA)
E.T (USO)
Peter Pan's Flight (Disney)
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (DL)
Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (MK)
Roger Rabbit's Toon Spin (DL)
Mike and Sully to the Rescue (DCA)

Etc.....

From Joshua Counsil on January 21, 2011 at 1:50 PM
Tom -
Indeed, I have. I love the updated Hall of Presidents; it's one of the few Magic Kingdom attractions I genuinely love. I was hoping that some of that technology would be put to use in the Mermaid ride. I guess it's unfair to judge the mechatronics from a short video clip, but the technology at hand was pretty underwhelming considering the hype surrounding this attraction.

Manny -
I voted for "neither", and Disney is my cup of tea. However, "pure Disney brilliance" is hardly how I would describe these attractions based on the concept art released to date. They look nice - that's about as positive a review I can give at the moment. There doesn't seem to be anything groundbreaking about either attraction, which is unfortunately ironic considering the amount of technical innovation that went into each classic film, particularly Snow White.

From Ali Salem on January 21, 2011 at 4:16 PM
I believe they said in the video that the Animatronics for the Little Mermaid ride were not in yet...only the props had been placed in the ride so... there's still hope! I find it odd that Disney would create so much hype to go along with what seems to be a pretty standard dark ride. Hoping for a big surprise but as of right now the mine coaster (if done properly) definitely seems to be the cooler one!
From James Rao on January 21, 2011 at 6:43 PM
I am a huge fan of both roller coasters and omnimover style darkrides. While I am excited for both attractions, I gotta give Mermaid a slight edge just because new omnimover darkrides are so rare these days.

I would gently argue with Anthony, though, that (FWIW) the Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts (DAFE) organization states that darkrides can be coasters, flumes, and shows too. In fact a darkride is, by their definition, a mostly enclosed adventure that utilizes props, scenery, and sound to convey a fairly strong and immersive narrative. The ride system employed whether it be omnimover, track, water, our own feet, or a Kuka robotic arm is irrelevant. Revenge of the Mummy, Rock n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Dinosaur, Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, Journey to Atlantis, Calico Mine Ride, Fire in the Hole, Buzz Lightyear, MIB, Toy Story Mania, Stitch's Great Escape, Frankenstein's Castle, Haunted Mansion (Knoebels), etc, etc... are all considered types of darkrides by DAFE (check out this DAFE article for more info).

Now if you narrow your definition down to what folks call "classic darkrides" then you are probably correct.

From Flavio de Souza on January 22, 2011 at 5:16 AM
Both rides will be good addictions but more than any ride, what would really make a good impact is a very good redesign of the external area of Fantasyland.
When you go to adventure land or frontierland you fell like you are in an exotic place, but in fantasyland instead of felling that you are inside a farytale place, you have the feling of being in an old street fair.
From 208.106.7.213 on January 21, 2011 at 7:39 PM
Frankly I was torn--I love most Disney dark rides, and dark rides in general, and the "Little Mermaid" version looks terrific in its detail and fun concept, judging from the backstage video--I'm guessing it will be very re-rideable and a relaxing, colorful, cool escape from the park hubbub outside. But I voted for the Mine Train because the combination concept sounds like loads of fun, especially the "swaying" coaster cars. So I'm looking forward to both, but the Mine Train a little bit more than the Mermaid dark ride!
From 98.21.96.110 on January 21, 2011 at 8:47 PM
I voted for the Mine Coaster because it's the one I am most interested in, but I am very excited about both. I think both will have family appeal. I do see what people say about the Little Mermaid seeming somewhat simalar to the Nemo ride at Epcot, but hopefully they plan to make the rides somewhat different..... and they will be located in different parks.

I think it's smart of the Magic Kingdom to keep thier improvements more family oriented in the rides. If they want to do more thrilling type rides (stuff that would appeal more to the Islands of Adventure people maybe) then I think they should do that at Hollywood Studios..... or maybe Animal Kingdom. I think Hollywood Studios already has two rides I'd consider thrill rides, and really out of all the Disney World parks is my least favorite. I have been once and thought it was not a nice looking park and had little to do. I was not impressed. However, it seems to be the park that some of the Universal and IOA fans woud like the most because of the two thrill rides. I think that is the park that Disney would use to try to beat Universal at thier own game so to speak.... not Magic Kingdom. I think the new Fantasyland looks awesome, but if your biggest draw is thrill ride oriented it may not excite you as much as others. It will probably draw in a lot of families though!

I also really like the idea of them being able to do interesting and different things with the landscaping in the area. The drawings look awesome, and the idea of Fantasyland Forest makes me think more trees and shade. I read there will be more places for trees since a lot of the new area will not be built over the underground utility areas. Also, the fact that the land will be bigger I find nice too. Even the redo of the Winnie the Pooh ride line looks like an improvement to me.

From Ryan Sanford on January 21, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Is the new Little Mermaid ride going to be any different than Nemo ride at Epcot? Seems very similar to me.
From Amanda Jenkins on January 22, 2011 at 12:59 AM
First off, I have been away for a while due to health issues. Thankfully I am on my way back to normal and am trying to catch up on news so please forgive me if this has already been discussed in previous posts. Many of TPI readers know I am a die-hard Disney Fan. They also know that I usually back up and think that most of Disney's ideas are swell, but...

Does anyone else feel that the circus theme does not seem...for lack of a better word, appealing? I understand that people love the Dumbo attraction, but do we really need a whole area centered around just his theme? I think that there are more popular classsic characters that could have had Toontown's place. I personally liked the idea behind Toontown and the showing off Mickey's and Minnie's homes. I don't really see my husband and I taking our children in that direction once it is completed, unless they really, REALLY want to. To me, it just seems like the imagineers ran out of ideas about what to do with this section. With the teacup ride close to the entrance of Toontown, they could have just centered the theme along Wonderland. That to me would have seemed to flow better with the rest of the Fantasyland redeux. Maybe I am missing something here while looking at the drawings.

As for the vote, I wish I could have voted for the restaurants. I am anxious to see another sitdown area for Magic Kingdom. I'm still a little unsure about the rides, but overall I think it looks great.

From Raymond Sydowski on January 22, 2011 at 3:47 AM
I had hoped for a return of working submersibles, ala 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but I should have known better. Oh, well.

As they say, Disneyland was built on a dream, WDW was built on a budget. :)

From Joe Cronin on January 22, 2011 at 7:21 AM
I think it would have been better for the Mouse House to pick something new. Mine ride-already have that with BTMRR, and Little Mermaid looks like a rip off of Nemo @ Epcot.
From Terry R on January 22, 2011 at 5:19 PM
Joe, I agree. The Snow White Ride looks like a toned down version of Thunder Mountain. I'm not saying it doesn't look interesting; I just thought it would be something more along the lines of a Disney/Pixar film. As for the Mermaid attraction that one looks very interesting. Can't wait.
From m johnson on January 22, 2011 at 5:59 PM
Both rides should be solid. But my vote will be cast after I have ridden both see if any budget cuts happen. Why get rid of Snow White dark ride to add a mine train with a height requirement that will be at least minimum 32-36 in. Keep both unless you need the Props and animatronics for the new mine train. Move the meet and greet to the old skycart ride next to small world.
From 98.21.96.110 on January 22, 2011 at 6:59 PM
I really like the revised Fantasyland plans. I think they are an improvement over what they had. I personally like the idea of the Snow White Mine Train, and I think the Little Mermaid ride sounds fun.

I do see what the poster means about the Circus area maybe being a weak link..... I think keep Dumbo for Fantasyland is important (I don't know why, but kids love those spinning up and down things)..... but I liked her idea of expanding on the Alice in Wonderland ish idea from the Tea cups a little. A circus does not seem very Fantasy like (unless you have a flying elephant). A Circus could be it's own land I suppose though, but it seems a little real for the land of Fantasy I guess. Maybe in the future they will do something big in that area near the Tea Cups.
I do think the Dueling Dumbos are needed though, and the more interesting que is always welcome. No one wants to wait in a line that just goes back and forth or herds you like cattle.

From Sylvain Comeau on January 23, 2011 at 12:37 AM
You can't form a negative opinion of Little Mermaid just based on that video. To me it looks promising, but in any case, you can't judge a ride until you've experienced it yourself. It's impossible to tell, from that video, the range of movement of the AAs, or how they, the scenes and the effects will appear in show lighting. Let's not forget that this is a $100 million E-ticket.
From Brandon Mendoza on January 23, 2011 at 10:43 AM
I agree, the video is missing a lot of AA's and effects. Plus the Nemo comparison isn't fair... the clam shells are pretty much Doom Buggies "reskinned" if you're gonna go that route. One is an AA heavy attraction, the other is a conveyer belt with projections and real aquariums leading to exhibits.

I worry that a Coaster in Fantasyland will end up like Gadget's Go Coaster. Fun for the less than 10 second ride... but not worth the wait. But I hope I'm wrong.

From Joshua Counsil on January 24, 2011 at 3:27 PM
You're right. You can't form a warranted negative opinion of something based on a short preview. You can, however, remain skeptical, which is where I sit. On paper, the concepts look great; so do most movie posters. Until something a little more substantial is released, I can't say I'm looking forward to either one.
From TH Creative on January 24, 2011 at 7:32 PM
Mr. Niles writes: "A dark ride is any type of track or water flume ride inside a building, usually traveling through various show scenes."

I Respond: Which means Shirley's Temple makes the Walt Disney World Jungle River Navigation Company (Ltd.) the greatest dark ride of them all.

From 66.75.82.224 on January 26, 2011 at 10:59 PM
I am eagerly looking foward to both new rides, but I think they should finish what they're starting by upgrading the
remainder of Fantasyland. Finish the job Disney. Do it right.

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