Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opening Day Observations
Unless you’ve been living underneath a magical gem mine for the past month, you’ve probably heard about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction that opened on May 28, 2014, at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Len Testa’s review of the ride does a thorough job of explaining why we feel this family-friendly roller-coaster is worthy of 3½ stars. I accompanied Len on a soft-opening preview of Fantasyland’s newest ride during the 24 hour “Rock Your Disney Side” party, and returned on opening day to experience the ride during official operations. Here are some Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening day observations that may make your visit more “heigh-ho” and less “poison apple.”
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Standby Queue
The queue area around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is lovingly sculpted and landscaped, but unfortunately there isn’t quite enough of it. The standby line runs out of the entrance (across from Storybook Treats snack stand) and stretches along the sidewalk towards Storybook Circus. When I stepped into the queue near the Mad Tea Party, the wait time was 75 minutes, according the portable wait sign held by a cast member marking the end of the line. However, by the time I reached the actual queue entrance, the wait was posted at 110 minutes, which proved much closer to my actual 100 minute wait.
Here are the stages of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, as I experienced them:
- From the sidewalk near Mad Tea Party, to the main queue entrance of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 30 minutes
- From the start of the main uncovered external queue, until the first shaded section of exterior queue: 30 minutes
- From the start of the shaded queue, to the first interactive “gem washing” game table: 20 minutes
- From the first interactive activity to the last one (spin all 7 gem barrels to make Snow White appear on the ceiling) just inside the interior queue: 10 minutes
- From the start of the interior queue to the boarding area: 10 minutes
As you can see, the interactive activities, though well done, comprise only as small fraction of the queue near its end, and if you want to fully explore them you’ll need to step out of your place in line. The unshaded exterior queues have virtually no shade, and will be brutally hot this summer. There are high-powered fans along the main exterior queue, but they don’t spray cooling mist. Disney was even handing out cups of free ice water along the extended queue on opening day, in hopes of preventing patrons from passing out.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+
In addition to riding standby for the sake of journalistic investigation, I also booked FastPass+ reservations for myself on opening day. The FastPass+ return line parallels the exit and bypasses all of the interactive queue, leading riders directly to the boarding area. From scanning my MagicBand to boarding the train took seven minutes. Until the crowds for this attraction die down, consider using FastPass+ here unless you can be among the first riders of the day, particularly if you’re not planning to use it for Space Mountain and Big Thunder.
Front Row vs. Back Row
As expected, you get a better look at the dark ride elements from the front row, while you feel slightly more sway from the swinging cars in the back. Luckily, you can decide for yourself which you like better by requesting the first or last seats. There are separate standby queues for the front and back rows; just let the attendant past the spinning barrels know which row you want to wait for.
Daytime vs. Nighttime
After taking multiple trips through the mine both before and after sunset, I can say that both day and night rides have their merits. During the day, you get a good look at the gorgeous rock work and faux horticulture cradling the train tracks. At night, the area around the tracks is oddly under-lit, leaving the spectacular scenery mostly in the dark. On the other hand, the darkness accentuates the sense of speed, making the ride feel faster than it is.
Night rides also have the advantage of giving an unobstructed view of the cottage interior at the end of ride, while glare on the glass often makes the animatronics inside invisible during daytime. Finally, the unshaded exterior queue will obviously be much more comfortable in the evening than at midday.
Mine Train Seat Size
The mine cars hold two riders per row, with molded seats and individual lap bars. I found them fairly comfortable, and cozy enough to prevent me from sliding into my companion, as I do on some coasters. But some larger guests have reported finding them a bit too confining. Unfortunately, I don’t yet see a sample car available outside the attraction to test before you get in the queue. On the positive side, the trains sit flush with the loading platform, making it relatively easy for wheelchair users to transfer in and out.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Rider Capacity
The biggest question leading up to opening was what the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train capacity would be like. We now know that the attraction can run up to five 20-passenger trains at one time, which is more than some observers initially expected. However, the real question is not how many trains can be on the track but what the average interval between train dispatches is, as that is what ultimately determines hourly ridership capacity.
- According to cast members, the minimum dispatch interval is 43 seconds between trains, which translates to 1,674 guests per hour.
- In actual observations, the average dispatch interval on opening day was approximately 55 seconds, which equals 1309 riders per hour.
Once the operators and guests become more familiar with the attraction, I expect average hourly throughput to end up between 1,500 and 1,600 riders per hour. That puts it ahead of C-ticket dark rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, but far behind people-eating omnimovers like Under The Sea or The Haunted Mansion. However, it has been rumored that Disney is distributing a much higher ratio of FastPass+ reservations for this ride than usual, which would further restrict the speed of the standby line.
13 thoughts on “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opening Day Observations”
We rode it twice prior to opening via fast pass + and were surprised at the limited amount of Seven Dwarfs theming there was on the ride itself. We were also surprised there was no exit gift shop or first ride memoriabila available. I would agree it is a 3.5 if the scale is 5.
Now that New Fantasyland is finished, it’s fairly disappointing to see how a major Disney project that was supposed to answer Universal’s Harry Potter turned out. The upshot is:
A rethemed, doubled, Dumbo ride
A nice new show (Enchanted Tales with Belle)
A very good restaurant (Be Our Guest)
A pleasant but not fantastic omnimover (The Little Mermaid)
And a moderately exciting roller coaster that’s no better than the MK’s 3 major thrill rides, even in theming?
This was Disney’s big ambitious project? It seems to pale in comparison to Cars Land, WWoHP, and probably in comparison to Phase 2 of WWoHP (it seems comparable to the Simpsons land renovation at Universal, if anything). What are they doing at WDW Imagineering?
According to Len Testa, in the comments section of the review mentioned and linked to above: “Keep in mind that Disney built New Fantasyland to add capacity to the Magic Kingdom, not to compete with Universal (and not to compete with Diagon Alley). So they’re two different projects with two different goals.”
That what I was going to say also. The expansion was in the planning stages well before Harry and it was being put in for a difference audience. If anything, Pandora/avatar is more in response to Potter.
And let’s not forget that the most popular new attraction is a princess meet & greet.
Speaking as a bigger girl, the seats themselves were not uncomfortable. The lap bar itself was also fine. The biggest problem was the lap bar was bound by two metal connecting bars. So fitting your legs in was extremely uncomfortable. In order to fit in between the two metal bars, I had to keep my knees crossed. It was doable, but not pleasant. I asked the cast member about the possibility of straddling two seats because of this and he said no. He also said that management had received numerous complaints and it was being looked into (Example: in our vehicle, there was a disabled woman who could not get the lap bar down and she was making it known to management she was not happy. She was had to use a wheelchair and was not a big lady, so I would imagine it had to do with the two bars holding up the lap bar).
Is there any word on how quickly this ride is filling at rope drop? We were unable to get FP+ reservations and were hoping to have a short wait at opening. Thanks in advance!
We had a fastpass at 925 and posted wait time when we entered the queue was 120 minutes.
Tina, we were at rope drop the Friday morning (after it officially opened the Wednesday). We headed DIRECTLY there and the line was already almost 2 hours!! Luckily, we had been able to ride it the Tuesday before (soft opening) at 11:00 at night with a 45 minute wait 🙂
Eek! Thanks, Michelle and Jeannette. I hope that we get lucky with a late-day FP. I’ll keep checking!
How are they handling rope drop? Are people being guided to this ride as they are to the Frozen M&G? They are both very close to each other, so I wondered if people are being held back getting to this ride, or they are allowed to sprint in another direction.
Very disappointed in this coaster. I rode it once at night. I watched the YouTube ride through so knew what to expect. The theming is pathetic. The coaster itself is just OK. It’s fast and curvy. But boring. It’s so smooth and quiet walking around it at night the only way you know it’s running is hearing the riders screams. A true wooden coaster would have suited the theme and been so much better.
I’m a large guy but have no problems on Disney rides. Space Mt splash Mt rockin roller coaster and big thunder Mt all are perfect. These cars and seats and bars are the worst design ever. Why are the bench seats contoured why isn’t it a flat bench? The individual lap bars are terrible.
All in all I am not impressed and it’s a huge eye sore in fantasy land.
I worked the scary adventures of snow white and was mad when the closed it and now passed that it was replaced by this. It tells no story and is a boring coaster.
I agree with Bob. Spent today at MK. 7DMR down at rope drop. We had FP+ for 9:30 and actually went on around 10 am. It is a 3 out of 5 stars ride. After all that wait, I can’t believe the only theming is the gem room (and, I suppose, the cottage as you enter the station).Looks like more effort went into the queue than into the actual ride. Certainly much less theme work than Big Thunder. Begining to think that the whole point of NextGen is to have cute queues and bland, boring rides.
Underwhelmed. Not something that makes me want to go back again tomorrow to ride again. Maybe I’ll go back in September when the crowds go down.
The only good news is that between the 300 minute wait for Frozen princesses and the standby queue for Seven Dwarf, the queues at other rides were not that bad for a day projected to be an 8.