The Snow White Ride at Disneyland: a Plotting Nightmare

My family just got back from a trip to Anaheim where we spent four days at Disneyland to celebrate a birthday.  While we were in Fantasyland waiting for the Peter Pan ride, we noticed the non-existent line at Snow White’s Scary Adventures so we decided to check it out.  Here’s how the ride works:

You get in an old mining cart and travel to the woods where you see Snow White & the seven dwarves dancing gaily.  (Make sure to say goodbye to your happy place now, because it’s all downhill from here.) Then you rumble along to the evil castle where the crazy queen scares the freaking daylights out of you with her ugly hag face.  Then you are plunged into a dungeon with skeletons, followed by a dark forest of moaning trees and horribleness.  Then the ugly hag-witch jumps out at you again with a poison apple. There’s a bunch of thunder and lightning, and just when your heart is pumping and you’re cringing and wondering when things are going to lighten up. . . they don’t.  Ride’s over.  You are whisked through a tunnel where a wooden wall plaque reads, “and they lived happily ever after.”  That’s it, kids.  Have a nice day.

What?

I know it’s twisted, but my husband and I laughed. Oh, how we laughed. No wonder tiny kids come out of there crying.  No wonder I rarely see a long line for that ride. I recently learned that they closed it down permanently at Walt Disney World, which isn’t surprising. Who planned that ride and what were they thinking? Didn’t anyone point out that many small children can’t even read yet, so the “Happily Ever After” wall plaque doesn’t really bring it home? How about a bigger sense of closure, instead?  Maybe a nice 3D scene where we can see that the pretty princess, you know, lives in the end?  And since we’re on the subject of these old-school dark rides, I would also like to ask what is up with Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, because that one is equally disturbing.  It’s like being inside a dream sequence from a David Lynch film.  I’m pretty sure at the end of that ride you go to hell.  As in, hell, hell. Complete with horned, cartoon imps leering down at you.

All I’m saying is that some of these rides could really use an overhaul, and maybe some help with plotting and pacing.  Kids are smart! They want story structure and resolution.  So there.

And now I will run for cover as die-hard Disney fans pelt me with poison apples. . .

About Tara Sheets

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10 Responses to The Snow White Ride at Disneyland: a Plotting Nightmare

  1. Brandon says:

    You forget – the “They Lived Happily Ever After” comes after the dwarves chase the witch off the cliff. Who lives happily ever after? The dwarves, I suppose.

  2. This is closer to the original version of the ride than what existed at Disney World. In the original, you, the guest, were to be taking on the role of Snow White, and it was meant to be a scary attraction. The WDW version premiered like the DL version, but was modified rather quickly to remove that portion of the ride story, and it became a true dark ride that went through the entire film. It has been a long time since I have been to DL, and now that I think about it I’m not certain I ever rode Snow White’s Scary Adventure at that park… Interesting that they never changed the storyline based on guest feedback that the ride was too frightening for younger children.

    • Tara Sheets says:

      I think I heard that they actually changed the *name* of the ride (adding the word “scary”) at Disneyland, but I don’t know that they ever changed the experience, itself. I didn’t go on the ride at Disney World, but I think it’s interesting that the guests took on the role of Snow White during the ride. That must mean you never actually saw the princess in the scenes? In Disneyland, you do see her with the dwarves, and then later taking the apple from the witch.

    • Tara Sheets says:

      Thanks for the link! Very interesting stuff. . .

  3. Ted Henkle says:

    Maybe these are the kind of rides parents take their unruly kids on? 🙂
    Remember in the movie Pinochio, boys that misbhaved on that island were turned into donkeys.

    • Tara Sheets says:

      I remember that! Pinocchio always freaked me out when I was little. . . somehting about those little boys being led astray and growing huge ears, then turning into donkeys who were used for hard labor. What a nightmare!

  4. That’s really funny. Sounds like the ride designer forgot to have his critique group review the final scene. And there is nothing creepier than moaning trees! I also love how a ride with a name that includes, “Snow White,” sounds far scarier than the one with a bunch of no-good, thieving, pistol packing, womanizing hooligans in feathered hats (“Yo ho, yo ho). Maybe the park’s plan is to leave the kids so traumatized that they need an expensive Monte Christo sandwich at the restaurant near the Pirates of the Carribean. 😉 Just kidding.

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