Disney’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a 31-foot indoor-outdoor roller coaster, is a sure bet to become a family favorite that will appeal to parents and kids alike. I got an early look at the ride to answer the question: Can a child with autism ride Disney’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride?
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train waiting area
In order to help ease the wait for the ride (which is bound to be long due to the ride’s popularity) Disney has come up with new ways to keep the guests entertained by creating three main activity stations that should captivate guests of all ages. Though all stations are designed to be highly interactive ,the jewel washing station with its dozen water spigots set to musical notes lighting up when they sense motion is the most sensory and will probably engage kids with special needs the most.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride
This ride is a skilled blend of motion and animation that blurs the frontier between fantasy and reality for Disney park visitors. From the moment you board the wooden cars (replicas of the ones seen in the movie) it feels like the movie has come alive and you are practically in it. Unlike other roller coasters where the cars all move in unison the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train cars move independently as they turn hence providing guests with a milder ride. Seconds into the ride you enter a tunnel and are rocked to one side and then the other, smoothly enough to surprise you but not to freak even the youngsters out. Then the car slows down almost to a halt while you get to see the superbly animated dwarfs busy at their work. The ride continues outdoors with a drop, loops around the mountain and ends by a mini waterfall. The attraction culminates with a glimpse of the dwarfs’ cottage with Snow White and the evil witch disguised as the old hag all synchronized to the movie’s famous songs.
So, is it autism-friendly?
The short answer is yes. Like most other Disney attractions, the ride will appeal to most kids with autism especially those who enjoy fast paced motion, animation and music. The ride is relatively short with smooth drops and the car can accommodate two people so parents can accompany their special needs child.
Be sure to watch the original movie with your child prior to visiting the park so they can notice the special touches the Disney Imagineers have placed throughout the ride–like the shadows of the seven dwarfs heading home at the end of the ride. You should prepare your child by showing them a video of the ride especially if he or she is apprehensive about the dark since part of the ride in a dark tunnel. Pre-book this attraction or head on to the attraction the earliest time in the morning possible as lines are bound to become long and that in turn would impact the fast pass return time. Read more about disability access to Disney’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride.
Disclosure: I was hosted at Walt Disney World and invited to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Preview Party. I was not paid for this post. All opinions are my own.