Disney with Special Needs Park Breakdown: Digging for Gems on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photo via https://flic.kr/p/rkv7mr

I’ve made my way out of Tomorrowland and skirted around the back past the Tomorrowland Speedway and behind the Mad Tea Party on my way to New Fantasyland. Speaking of which — do you ever wonder if they will ever stop calling it “New” Fantasyland and the entire area will just morph into one cohesive “Fantasyland”, or if it will stay this way and be like a New York/New Hampshire/New Mexico type situation? These are the things I contemplate.

Anyway, so now that I’ve made my way past some of my family’s favorite attractions (which you and I just might be exploring together soon), I’ve made my way to one of the newest and still most popular attractions in the World — Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Sometimes referred to by super cool people who are far trendier and more in the know than I am as 7DMT, the Mine Train is considered the Crown Jewel of New Fantasyland and took the place of an attraction that I never had a chance to experience. The Mine Train (note it is written in the convention of the movie “Dwarfs”, not “Dwarves” as you might see sometimes written. Another thing that makes me twitch when I see it… much like DisneyWorld)  is gorgeous right from the very beginning. The mountain rises up from the middle of the land and the layout of the ride is such that as you watch it you really feel like you are watching a train soaring along the side of a mountain. It’s adorable and it’s thrilling, but like anything in the World, and, quite frankly, the world, little w, there are potential hidden challenges that you might want to know about to prepare you for your first adventure into those legendary mines where Snow’s favorite guys spent their days.

Let’s gear up and do a little mining of our own, shall we?

Do your part. By now you know my love of themed queues. Well, the Mine Train turns this concept into an art. A gorgeous queue, the waiting area for the ride is an incredible extension of the experience, and almost makes up for waits that still routinely stretch past the two hour mark. I won’t lie. For the first good chunk of the line, you’ll be outside wandering through a cute little woodland area and there won’t be a whole lot to do other than reach into your bag of tricks that I just know you have with you (you do have it with you, right?) and keep the family fed, hydrated, and entertained while you wait. Once you get closer to the ride, however, you’ll get to step into the mountain and the fun begins. Look for all of the interactive ways that you can do your part to enhance the experience for everyone, including the virtual rinse stations where you can sort gems. No spoilers, but if you see someone frantically spinning a barrel, jump in and spin the one beside them, and be sure to keep your eye on the ceiling. Trust me. It’s totally worth it

Yes, you’re swinging. Right along the lines of Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, is Yes, Disney World, there is a Swinging Roller Coaster. It might not have quite the same seasonal impact, but it’s still pretty magical. The Mine Train is unique in that the ride vehicles are designed to look like trains of mine cars and the individual cars are made so that they swing independently. Be prepared that this swing is definitely noticeable, but it’s not so extreme that you’re ever going to feel like you’ll fall out. I’ve found that the swing changes depending on whether I’m riding with Hubby or Baby, so try with different family members to get a feel of the unique effect. Keep in mind that the times when you will feel this swing the most are during the slower portions of the ride

Where a million diamonds shine. If you or any of your super hero league deal with issues with bright colors, shadows, or hyper realistic animatronics, brace yourself. The inside of the mountain is nothing short of breathtaking, but it is also a touch overwhelming. At this point in the ride the train slows down and you are treated to a surrounding view of the mine, the gems, and animatronics singing a song that was intended for the original movie but didn’t make the cut. Some of these animatronics utilize a form of computer projection that makes them look extremely lifelike (think the singing busts in Haunted Mansion), which can be unsettling. If you start feeling overwhelmed by all of this, utilize our usual go-to of closing your eyes, or focus directly ahead of you. The exit of the tunnel is readily visible and will give you plenty of notice for when the ride speeds up again and you head out on the fastest portion

Catch the view. Right as you leave the mine is the point that the whole ride becomes worth it even if you are feeling overwhelmed or aren’t enjoying yourself, much like Tutu. Make sure your eyes are open and look around you. You will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful views of the Magic Kingdom around. Try to time a ride for during the fireworks. There’s absolutely nothing like it.

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Taryn was born and raised, and still lives in Richmond, Virginia. Neither she nor her husband ever had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World when they were children, but when their daughter Avalon came along, they decided she was not going to follow in their footsteps. They brought Avalon for the first time when she was 3 and have been hooked ever since. Now along with Taryn’s mother and equally Disney-loving older brother, they go “home” at least once a year, and by the time she is staring longingly at Cinderella Castle from the ferry on their last night, Taryn is well on her way to planning the next trip. As a group consisting of two adults with Asperger’s, including one who is also vegan, a very accommodating husband, an only child, a senior, and a service dog, they are a pretty special family, but Taryn is excited to show that the World really is The Most Magical Place on Earth and that there is a place there for everyone. When she isn’t thinking about her next Disney adventure and trying to come up with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costume that will beat her Oozma Kappa nerd look, she is a professional blogger and novelist, but Taryn also likes to indulge her Disney passion on her Etsy shop It’s Better in Vinyl.

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