It’s been just over a month now since the closing of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and the first question pretty much everyone asks me is, “How is Ben doing now that the ride is closed.” Well, I ain’t gonna lie to you, it’s been hard on him. I wrote about Ben's first time back a few weeks ago, which happened on an appropriately gloomy day. The entire visit to the park that day consisted of us walking into Fantasyland, Ben examining the construction walls around The Graveyard Of Snow White’s Scary Adventures (TGOSWSA), and then dejectedly leaving the park. The most positive thing I can say about that visit is that Ben did not have any meltdowns, so I guess he handled it fairly well all things considered.
On our second visit back he again went straight to TGOSWSA, and just seemed generally depressed about it. I took him over to the new Dumbo location, and we actually took a spin around. One of the Cast Members working the ride was a regular from Snow White, and he gave Ben a big high five and welcomed him to the new ride. For Ben’s part, he was pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. He seemed like he was just humoring me by going on the ride, he certainly did not seem to get any enjoyment out of it. As soon as it was over he dragged me back over to TGOSWSA for another check to see if maybe Disney had changed their minds in the previous thirty minutes, and then he took me right to the Monorail to get out.
Visit number three was last weekend. It was the first time since the ride closing that he had actually asked to go “take a tram”. Walking into the park he gave me a hopeful look and said, “Go see… Snow White?” It really broke my heart to have to tell him yet again that the ride was gone forever. The visit played out much like the previous two, with a sad trek to TGOSWSA and several minutes spent gazing longingly at the construction walls. I offered pretty much every other ride in the park, but he wasn’t buying. I did at least get him to take a side trip and go visit the Princesses at the meet and greet back down on Main Street. He was extremely patient waiting in the line, and he seemed genuinely thrilled to visit with both Cinderella and Belle. He was even very polite to Rapunzel, although he had no idea who she was. In the end he walked out of the park smiling and happy, so that was nice.
Two days ago he visited the park for the fourth time post-SWSA, this time with his mom, and it turned out to be a great visit. Yes, he still walked by TGOSWSA, but he also went on several rides – the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean. As a matter of fact, he went on Haunted Mansion twice and was laughing and talking the whole time the were in line. His mom also took him over to the construction walls with the artwork for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. In her own words: “On our way out, I walked him over to the big mural on the construction wall, showing what the new ride will look like. I talked him through what we were looking at, and he repeated the phrase, ‘Mine car’ & touched parts of the picture. The description of the ride says that it's a ‘musical adventure’ and that the ride will end with your mine car ‘arriving at the cottage, where Snow White is waiting to welcome you home.’ He liked the sound of that.”
The next morning, the first thing Ben said upon waking up was, “I want… take a tram!” Of course, that was the fourth of July with its capacity crowds, so his mom wisely elected not to take him. But the good news is, although he is clearly still mourning the loss of his favorite ride (he spends a lot of time at the computer pulling up pictures he took from inside the ride), he has finally begun to remember that there are other fun things to do there. I am cautiously optimistic that we have weathered the worst of his post-SWSA depression, and I continue to be very excited about how he will respond when the Fantasyland expansion starts opening up more in the coming months. I have no doubt that Ben will always get a little bit sad whenever he walks by TGOSWSA, but it seems like we might have reached the tipping point where the positive begins to outweigh the negative again.