Disney Imagineer Dave Minichiello talks about Walt Disney World's new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

February 24, 2014, 1:15 PM · Disney Imagineer Dave Minichiello, the creative director on the Magic Kingdom's upcoming Seven Dwarfs Mine Train answered questions about the new family roller coaster dark ride attraction during a live online chat today.

The questions were screened by Disney PR reps, but we've included some of Dave's most notable responses and comments about the ride, below.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
View from the station, under construction, provided by Disney

"Pretty much every day is a milestone and some major ones that I’d like to mention are the Dwarfs Cottage, which is going quickly and looking amazing. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train being a part of the forest - we’re starting to see it as a part of the forest with the tree planting. We’re finally starting to see it all come together."

"The top of the mountain is being planted with trees, the final rockwork is being completed as well as thematic painting of the rockwork. Ride testing continues daily. Now what’s really nice is the propping the attraction both inside and outside."

"What’s special about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the journey. You travel through the forest and explore the mine where the dwarfs are working, but we’re seeing the mine in a grander scale in a way we’ve never told the story before."

"We do have some interactive elements in the queue. Part of the “scene one” in the queue area helps us start to tell the story. We have an area where guests can sort and wash jewels, and for the first time, we’re taking guests into the vault as seen in the classic film ‘Snow White.'"

"The queue has a surprise song in it that was originally written for the film called ‘Music In Your Soup,’ which we’ve recorded in instrumental version and added to our queue area. All of the music in the queue area is all instrumental, and we wanted to give it a feel that it was played by the Seven Dwarfs."

"It’s a family coaster and it’s a unique experience unlike anything else in our parks. This attraction is more innovative in its ride system and vehicle. It is for the entire family. It gives the guests a new sensation they’ve never had before. And we felt that uniqueness was the best way to tell our story."

"It has proven to be pretty amazing and a very smooth attraction. It’s a completely new experience - not only having the sensation of pivoting back and forth and it varies throughout the attraction. You feel differences in the various terrain around the mountain."

During the chat, Disney posted a YouTube video that included a side-by-side view of a CGI design ride-through of the attraction, along with a GoPro camera view of the ride, taken a few weeks ago. Note that there is a dissolve edit in there, so we might not be seeing the whole length of the attraction. And the GoPro footage does not show the installation of all on-ride animation and effects, which might not be complete yet.

"What’s interesting about the video is that there’s a CGI model, which was the first concept model that we developed for this show. What’s amazing is seeing how accurate it was to our initial concept and vision. What’s amazing is how accurate the sight lines are, the staging, the scaling, the variable speeds. We’re fortunate to use innovative technologies during the development of our attraction."

"The reason the train slows is to allow the guests to enjoy the details of the scene. We wanted to let our guests discover their favorite dwarf. All seven are hard at work in the mine scene - and we do have some hidden stuff in there."

Dave reported that the ride will have a 38-inch height requirement. He did not give an opening date for the ride, beyond reiterating Disney's previously announced "spring" opening.

Replies (18)

February 24, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Looks like a real winner... the interiors are already more elaborate than I expected. Can't wait to see and experience the finished product when I head back to Orlando in '15.
February 24, 2014 at 2:43 PM · Anyone else see the irony? Dwarfs vs. Goblins.
February 24, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Is Snow White and the Witch going to be in the ride at all?
February 24, 2014 at 4:32 PM · The 38-inch height requirement seems awfully tall. Why can't they make adjustments lower? Alternatively, haven't they considered a parallel kiddie train for 3 to 5 year olds? I can see many kids crying over another ride that they cannot ride.
February 24, 2014 at 4:50 PM · Perhaps it's worth nothing that Snow White wasn't in the original Snow White ride at first. I've heard people suggest that the guests were supposed to be experiencing Snow White's POV for most of the ride, which is why you didn't see her. But guest complains eventually led Disney to add Snow to the ride. (Anyone better versed in Fantasyland history may jump in here with corrections or more detail. I always was a West Side guy, myself.)

Given that this is the Dwarfs' mine, I hadn't expected to see Snow White or the witch in the ride.

February 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM · Anon, the average height of a five year old is ~40". Even my kids, all a bit on the short side, were over 40" at five. I think at 38" the height requirement is going to let most 4 and 5 year-olds ride. Any younger than 4 and they won't really care that much if they miss out since there are plenty of other more suitable family attractions at the Magic Kingdom to occupy their interest.
February 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM · A height requirement for a ride about dwarfs?

February 24, 2014 at 6:37 PM · Great point Daniel.LOL
February 24, 2014 at 7:12 PM · Souds really good. My question is this: will this ride have real animatronics?
February 24, 2014 at 9:31 PM · James, great for you to decide what is suitable. Even for kids that are barely 38 inches at 4 years old, some kids still might not be strong enough to handle a rollercoaster no matter how mild. The height requirement is a restriction that implies several limitations including health, size, strength, and content. Boo hoo.
February 24, 2014 at 10:03 PM · And Daniel drops the mic. Great comment.
February 25, 2014 at 4:38 AM · Height requirements are nothing new, Anon. And being as this attraction is in fact a roller coaster, you had to know there would be limitations. At 38", it appears that Disney is trying to be as accommodating as possible within the realms of safety. Not sure what you would be "boo-hoo-ing".

BTW, is it Dwarfs or Dwarves?

February 25, 2014 at 6:22 AM · I would be boo hoo'ing the nothing new height requirements for safety for a rollercoaster that they just had to do for a dwarfs mine train. Yes, it is just so clear that this is what they decided to do and it is thoughtful to know people must, yet again, work around their decisions. BOO HOO.
February 25, 2014 at 6:44 AM · This looks like a pretty darn good ride! I can't wait until it's finished, all the trees are planted, the rocks get their final paint jobs, and everything else is put in place. I really think it's going to be a big hit.

I'm looking forward to riding it and experiencing that slow moving section prior to picking up speed again. That's a very interesting concept to have in a roller coaster that I'm not aware has been done before.

February 25, 2014 at 8:48 AM · @Anon Huh????
February 25, 2014 at 9:45 AM · This looks so lame. They should have improved buzz light year or the speedway. Magic kingdom really needs a new E ticket Splash mountain opened in freaking 1992

Wow four years for this. Disney is really losing its way

February 25, 2014 at 1:16 PM · ^Revenues are up. Profits are up. Attendance is up. Yep, Disney is clueless.
February 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM · People keep lumping the Mine Train project in with the original announcement of New Fantasyland. Keep in mind, this was not part of the plan. It was a late change in the process, a change that probably wasn't even fully fleshed out design wise when they announced it. It didn't take three years to build the mine train alone, it's taking that long from phase 1 which was redoing the exterior of The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh to finally opening the last phase, the coaster.

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