Theme Park Ranger
9:58 AM EST, February 3, 2011
The Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom will produce several new attractions at Walt Disney World, including the dark ride Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, the Be Our Guest restaurant and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster.
But on the way out is a classic, Snow White's Scary Adventures, which dates to Magic Kingdom's opening day in 1971. It will be converted into Princess Fairytale Hall, where guests can interact with Disney royalty.
"All the original rides I hold in esteem. I feel like Walt Disney himself had his hands on this," says Jennifer Neal, a Scary Adventures fan and mother of two from Alabama. "It's an insult to tear it down, but to tear it down for a meet-and-greet building is truly an insult to Walt Disney and the loyal fans."
Neal has made annual trips to Disney World for the past seven years from her home in Smith, Ala. She says she had been excited about the "new" Fantasyland until she heard about the Scary Adventure closure.
"I was floored that I was feeling pain and negativity toward Disney World," she says. She tried to rally support on the TripAdvisor website but didn't get much response.
"One person tried to make me feel better saying that Walt Disney would be for innovation and improvement. But in my mind this is neither of those things," she says.
Kevin Yee, an Orlando-based author and contributor to the Mice Age website, says Disney executives had to choose between "unpalatable options."
When they added the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to the Fantasyland expansion plan, some princesses were displaced.
"Either you have to put the princesses somewhere else or not have the princesses around," Yee says. "And either one of those options is going to upset somebody's apple cart."
Meeting princesses is an in-demand experience, Yee says. For instance, waits to meet Rapunzel, recently featured in Disney's "Tangled," have been an hour or more.
"These are people who come from far out of state and they are willing to wait. That says something about their burning need to see the princesses and satisfy their young daughters," Yee says.
He understands why people would be unhappy about losing the Snow White ride but says it may have been doomed by its low-tech feel.
"This may be a way of making sure that the new stars of Fantasyland don't get their stars dimmed by lower Fantasyland, by the older offerings," Yee says.
The princesses currently gather in Toontown, an area that's closing for good next week.
"It's much more appropriate that they'll be in Fantasyland rather than Toontown. It's going to be adjacent to the [Cinderella] Castle and part of that royal experience," says Eric Jacobson, senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering. "It's going to be much better than we've ever done before and a beautifully themed environment for them."
Of course, Snow White isn't being driven out of the Kingdom. She'll make appearances at the new digs and be represented in the new coaster.
"I think it's really going to appeal to a broader audience than Snow White's Scary Adventures ever did," Jacobson says.
He says the word "Scary" was added to the attraction's name as a warning because so many children were frightened by the "old hag popping out, out out." The Dwarf coaster will keep the story of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" movie, the first full-length animation feature, in the forefront at Magic Kingdom.
"That's part of our heritage that we want to make sure is celebrated in the right way," Jacobson says.
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