Anymore Fantasyland Dark Ride Updates?

May 3, 2016, 5:31 PM

After the refurbs of Alice from two years ago and Peter Pan last year, it seemed clear that the dark rides of Disneyland's Fantasyland would be receiving some much TLC. But a year later and no word on any dark ride updates. Will we ever see love for the dark rides that need it the most like Snow White and Toad? I personally think Pinocchio is the worst dark ride but I think they won't wast time and money here since this ride would be first on the chopping block for a ride that would be replaced by a Frozen dark ride.

Replies (10)

May 3, 2016, 7:52 PM

My guess is Disney has postponed refurbishing any of the Fantasyland dark rides due to Star Wars Land. With so many other attractions closed due to Star Wars as well as the 60th celebration going on, Disney can't afford to close any of those right now. Once the Rivers of America Attractions and the Railroad have reopened, we wil see another ride in Fantasyland get refurbished.

May 3, 2016, 9:21 PM

The last thing I heard is that Disneyland still plans to do one dark ride refurbishment per year, but they aren't resuming them until next year after the 60th celebration concludes. Snow White, Mr. Toad, and Pinocchio are all supposed to get upgrades, but I don't know what order they'll be going in. None are getting removed as Disneyland needs to increase capacity. After Star Wars Land opens, the next major project for Disneyland park is supposedly an overall Fantasyland refurbishment which will include a new Frozen E-ticket dark ride (supposedly replacing either the Fantasyland Theater or the old Motor Boat Lagoon) and possibly 1-2 additional attractions (no idea what these could be, though I'd like a copy of the Beauty and the Beast area coming to Tokyo).

May 5, 2016, 1:43 PM

Disney's plan was to refurbish all the classic dark rides. Like AJ points out, they got a little bit behind and have postponed further refurbs until after the 60th. To my knowledge, Toad was confirmed to receive similar technology as Alice and Pan; but no word on what would be coming for Pinnoccio or Snow White. Snow White received some minor upgrades about a decade ago, so it's probably the last one in the lineup which will see a significant refurb. Of course, all of this could go out the window with Star Wars Land being under construction at the moment. If AJ is correct, we may have to wait a while until we see the other FL dark rides receive updates, especially if they're considering adding a Frozen attraction. I know Disney has confirmed a Fozen 2, but any movement on that project seems to be at a halt. If they want to capitalize on Frozen Fever, they need to put it out in the next 2-3 years, after which the young fanbase which grew up with Frozen will be pre-teens or teens, and most likely not care about a Frozen sequel.

Assuming all of this is true, then that would seem to indicate that the Frozen project would be fast-tracked after Star Wars Land. But it's Disney, and things change on a month-by-month basis. Who remembers all of the Monstropolis rumors a few years ago? It seemed like it was out of blue sky and was only days away from being greenlit when they pulled the plug on the whole project. Same could be said for the Marvel Studios addition to DCA, the Paradise Pier expansion, and the mythical New Tomorrowland project that always seems to be in blue sky but never getting any further.

May 5, 2016, 4:02 PM

Must...update...Toad. The plywood cutouts just don't cut it anymore.

May 5, 2016, 4:06 PM

These are the kinds of easy, relatively low budget, things they can do to give the parks a slight bump in attendance any time they need it. They'll probably do them during off years where there are no other major additions planned.

Edited: May 5, 2016, 8:21 PM

They need to give Snow White a storyline instead of being in the point of view of Snow White.

Pinnochio needs to up the excitement factor. A little boring even for a short ride.

Mr. Toad needs a storyline too. The abrupt hell ending should be changed and also too hot in the summertime.

The Frozen Ride sounds terrific!!! Let It Go On Forever!!

May 6, 2016, 9:44 AM

Gonna have to disagree with you on all of your major points anon. Snow White's value is enhanced by the concept that the riders are Snow White. It gives the ride a claustrophobic and truly terrifying premise, mainly that we, the riders, are being chased by a homocidal witch rather than passively watching another character experience the chase. For children, this is especially effective. It also is unique among the other classic FL dark rides for this reason.

Pinnochio does need some added work, but the ride itself is effective for its target audience.

Mr. Toad's strength lies in it's seemingly random and chaotic narrative and ride track. It is, after all, a "wild ride". It does follow a loose narrative, especially if you're familiar with the old cartoon (which was fantastic, BTW). At any rate, the cutouts are a little crude, but they give the ride a nostalgic factor that I personally love.

Edited: May 6, 2016, 11:27 AM

@Black: I only heard about the Snow White's point of view from others. It was never apparent from the ride itself. There was no logical flow of the ride.

The witch was about to be mowed over with a boulder that the dwarves will set loose. Snow White couldn't possibly see this part since she was sleeping shortly after eating the apple. Thus, it can be argued that this ride is also told in the point of view of the dwaves.

The scary part of it fell flat when the ending declared "And they lived happily after". How did that happen? The Prince was no where to be seen, not even in the beginning of the ride. The dwarves would know since they saw the whole thing including the beginning of the ride that starts in the mine.

Pinocchio and Mr. Toad's aren't as flawed, but improvements could make them better.

May 6, 2016, 3:43 PM


That's because the version of the ride we currently have at DLR has changed over the years to actually be 'less scary'. Hence why we have a "Happily ever after" message. As far as the narrative being disjointed, the original ride had no Snow White figures at all, these were added later as riders were confused as to why there was no Snow White if the ride was in fact titled Snow White's Adventures.

Here's a fantastic article detailing the attraction's history and it's significance in the history of Disney Theme Parks.

May 6, 2016, 4:49 PM

Anon, I agree that Snow White in particular has an extremely abrupt ending. I don't know if there is enough space, but one thing I'd really like to see in a refurbishment is the addition of the ending on the Paris version. At Disneyland Paris, the ride is 95% identical to the Disneyland version for most of the attraction, but after the witch gets struck by lighting there is an additional scene featuring Snow White and the Prince, showing that she's been revived. Other than the ending, I actually think Disneyland's version works pretty well, and to me has always felt like the riders are racing to save Snow White from the witch. In my opinion, it actually has a stronger narrative than some of the other Fantasyland rides.

Pinocchio's Daring Journey has never felt boring to me, just a bit disjointed. This ride feels halfway between the earlier Fantasyland dark rides, where riders assumed the role of the main character, and the more modern take like Winnie the Pooh or Monsters, Inc., where riders are a bystander witnessing events of the story. This one probably has the most missed potential and I think going full Monsters, Inc. on it (removing any sense that riders are a character) may be a good option.

Mr. Toad is real challenge because it is simultaneously the best and worst of the dark rides. This is the only one that still feels like the original premise of the rider being the main character and actually has a fairly simple story: You steal a car and go joyriding despite not knowing how to drive, you eventually get caught, but when you try to escape you die and go to hell. In the world of IP attractions, however, this gives it a lot of problems as Mr. Toad never appears in the ride and it is pretty nonsensical to those unfamiliar with the original cartoon. More than the others, this one could be tricky to upgrade as they need to maintain the bizarre charm the ride currently has while maximizing appeal to all visitors. I hope this ride remains 100% the same except for adding some 21st century effects as significantly altering the attraction could quite possibly kill it.

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