Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow White's Adventures: The Early Years

Because of the limitations of cameras back in the day, interior photos of the original Fantasyland dark rides are difficult to come by. They are probably some of the most coveted photos (when found), as many would love to know what the ride was like in its original incarnation. Thanks to a few vintage photos in my collection and a Winter 1956 Mickey Mouse Club Magazine, we can get a flavor of what the attraction was like. You'll note that Snow White herself is nowhere to be found; instead, the original attraction was meant to be from her perspective, or, for the guys, from the perspective that you were the one the Evil Queen was after. It was noticed during the beginning of this attraction that many guests were confused that the attraction bearing Snow's name only showed her in the queue murals. It was a lesson that Imagineers learned (and should still follow): if you have to explain something for it to be enjoyed, that typically means it's not working!

First, let's board our Bashful mine car. Be sure to notice the lovely mural in the queue area, starting from the right side:

Panning to the left:

Panning farther to the left:

Using the Ken Anderson art published in the Mickey Mouse Club magazine and the accompanying text, let's begin our journey.

1. All aboard! The mine car starts, the journey is begun. The Seven Dwarfs are busy, for their work is never done. They dig new jewels every day, adding them to the display.

This 1950's publicity shot shows the actual attraction:

2. Dopey flaps his ears in glee and opens the vault door happily. He's inviting his friends to come inside and enjoy the thrills (and chills) of the Snow White Ride.

3. Here stacks of sparkling gems, mined by seven little men; sapphires blue, and rubies, too. The merry Dwarfs sing "Dig, dig, dig" as jewel piles grow big, big, big.

4. Each jewel in the diamond bin glows with fire from within. Their dazzling light cuts the night. The diamonds, wondrous fine, are only found in the Seven Dwarfs' mine.

5. Two staring eyes pierce through the dark, and grotesque shadows chill the heart. The owl hoots and creatures cower in apprehension of this magic place and hour…

6. The witch's castle looms ahead. It's stark and grim…what is within? The vulture on the tree stares evilly. Down drops the sharp-tooth gate! Escape? Too late!

7. Here in the witch's dungeon, all is black. A skeleton sways mournfully…"go back." His rasping voice and luminescent frame are testimony of the witch's evil name.

8. And now the old witch plays her part. Her specialty's Black Magic art. She cackles in her fiendish glee, and reads the poison recipe. The cauldron boils merrily.

Two vintage shots from my collection illustrate this scene, with the first from April 1959:

Followed by January 1966:

9. In and out, again, again, the old witch dips that apple in. She holds it up the fruit drips dry. It's ready for someone to try. Who will the victim be? You…or me?

10. The old witch wants to make the test to see if this new brew is best. Beware! Her heart is black, though her voice is cheery, as she says "Have an apple, dearie…"

A vintage publicity shot of the actual scene:

11. Flee from her dungeon, flee from her wrath—you still hear her voice and her mocking laugh. Grotesque tree branches seem to try to snatch at you as you whizz by.

12. A lightning flash! On the mountain top the old witch pries a boulder off. Crash! It missed! You step outside, filled with the thrills of the Snow White Ride.

I hope you enjoyed your vintage journey through this beloved attraction!

See more vintage & current Disneyland Snow White attraction photos on my Snow White web page.

1 comment:

K. Martinez said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the Ken Anderson art and accompanying text on the Snow White attraction. What a find!

It's been so long since experiencing the pre-1983 original Fantasyland dark rides, that I've forgotten most of the details.

Thanks for posting.