When Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom opened on October 1st, 1971, it introduced attractions that have remained among the most popular and beloved in the park, even to this day. However, for various reasons, a few opening day experiences have been retired over the past 44 years. One of these was “Snow White’s Adventures,” a Fantasyland dark ride based on Walt Disney’s first animated feature film as well as an opening day attraction at California’s Disneyland. In honor of today being Walt Disney World’s anniversary and with Halloween just around the corner, it seems like an appropriate occasion to take a look back at this surprisingly spooky piece of Disney history.
“Snow White’s Scary Adventures,” as the attraction later came to be known, did not initially find its inspiration in its subject matter’s sweet princess or funny dwarfs but rather with the creepier aspects of the classic film. Scenes such as Snow White’s flight through a nightmarish forest or the Evil Queen’s transformation via black magic left quite an impression on those in the audience back in 1937. In facts, newspapers at the time of its release reported these scenes were considered so frightening that British film censors declared that children were banned from seeing the film unless accompanied by an adult. With these parts of the film at the forefront and Snow White not making an appearance at all, the original version of the ride proved to be a little too much for some kids visiting the park to handle.
In 1994 “Snow White’s Scary Adventures” received a major refurbishment to slightly lighten the mood of the attraction. While it still featured plenty of frightening moments, it also included multiple encounters with Snow White, more appearances by the dwarfs, and a happily ever after finale. While many enjoyed the reliving Snow Whites journey, scares and all, as time went on it attracted a noticeably smaller crowd compared to similar nearby dark rides like Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. As a result, it was closed for good in 2012 to make way for “Princess Fairytale Hall,” a meet and greet location for the Disney Princesses.
While Snow White’s original ride may be gone, Walt’s first princess and her friends didn’t have to wait too long to receive a new home. In 2014, the “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” opened with a greater emphasis on roller coaster thrills than haunted house style frights. However, sharp eyed rider may notice a few props used in the Mine Train that were once part of “Snow White’s Scary Adventure” including the vultures near the beginning of the ride and a few of the dwarf figures used in the cottage finale. The more things change, the more they stay the same.