Ever since Snow White's Scary Adventures (SWSA) closed and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (SDMT) was announced, one of the most common questions that I have had from people is whether or not I thought Ben would enjoy the new ride as a replacement. For more than two years we watched the New Fantasyland expansion play out, with SDMT as the final piece to be completed. Month after month, visit after visit, we saw the different pieces fall into place and then the new mountain slowly rise and take shape. For the first half of 2014 the ride was surrounded by construction walls, and Ben would occasionally walk by and look at the paintings to see what the ride was about. Once the walls started coming down and Ben got his first good look at parts of the ride exterior, he looked... nervous. Particularly once they started cycling the empty mine carts, he viewed the ride with more trepidation than excitement. Finally, finally, on May 24th of 2014 the attraction was open to the public and Ben took his first ride.
One year ago, on a Thursday night much like today, Snow White's Scary Adventures at Walt Disney World closed forever and marked the end of an era not only for the theme park but also for my family. From the spring of 2002 through the spring of 2012 we had spent countless hours on and around that ride, and had watched Ben slowly evolve from "fevered obsession" to "comfortable safety blanket", and then it all went away forever. On the upside, that final night of operation on May 31st, 2012 was a remarkable night that will live in our memories forever. On the downside, Ben lost his favorite thing in the world with no way to really understand why. And so, the most common question I get is, "How is Ben doing now? Is he over it?"
The short answer is, "Yeah, mostly." As usual, the long answer is a little more complex and nuanced.
It is no great secret that May 31st, 2012 was a very bittersweet night for my family. After a decade of visits, and 3,500 rides, my son had to say goodbye forever to Snow White's Scary Adventures. During the months that followed, the one possible ray of light was that there would be a new Little Mermaid ride opening by the end of the year and based on watching the videos from the California version it seemed like something that Ben would love. Unfortunately there was no way to really explain to him that it was coming, and so every visit to the Magic Kingdom for the next four months became primarily a depressing visit to The Graveyard of Snow White's Scary Adventures.
If you read my post from last week then you will know that Ben has been having some significant GI issues recently. In order to resolve the immediate blockage we had to place him on significant doses of Miralax, taken every thirty minutes with 6-8 ounces of Gatorade. Over the course of six hours he would receive nearly a month's recommende ...
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.
This morning I was interviewed by Cody Stark on Good Day Sacramento, talking about Ben's last night on Snow White's Scary Adventures. Head over to their website if you would like to see the video. A big thank you to Cody, he was a lot of fun to talk to and he also wears an awesome bow tie (bow ties are cool!).
My friend Robert just posted a very excellent blog entry describing his experience on the last night of Snow White's Scary Adventures, which includes tons of excellent pictures and a few videos. You can read it at:
Scary Adventure's - The End is Here
This video is from that post, but I thought I should include it here as well. It show's Ben's very last ride, the one where he went all alone on a ride for the first time in his life. Click the "Read More" link to see the video.
My friend Robert just posted an excellent blog entry recounting some of his experiences that last night at Snow White's Scary Adventures. He includes several pictures and videos, and I wanted to share some of them here. Please do go check out his blog as well, you'll find the entry here: Scary Adventures - The End is Near
Twelve days ago Snow White's Scary Adventures at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World was closed forever. It seems almost surreal to think that it no longer exists, and that by now the process of gutting the building is well underway. I have yet to see anything show up on Ebay, but that can't be far away. As a matter of fact, I did leave my business card with the folks at Theme Park Connection in case they should happen to acquire any items from inside the ride. In any case, enough time had passed that we figured we should take Ben to the park and let him see with his own eyes that the ride is really gone.The weather in Central Florida has been miserable pretty much all week. It's nice enough in the morning, but by mid-afternoon the storms start sweeping through. I'm a Seattle boy, born and raised, so rain doesn't bother me much. As for Ben, I sometimes wonder if he even notices something as trivial as the weather. Thursday was the last day of school, and so I had him here at the house all day on Friday whi ...
After Ben completed his final ride on Snow White's Scary Adventures, we gave our heartfelt thanks to all of the remaining cast members, and then we were escorted out of Fantasyland so that the maintenance workers could get on with the task of erecting the construction walls. Ken thanked us for allowing him to share in the experience of those last half-dozen rides, and then he and Robert left to go back to their respective lodgings for the night. Even though it was well past eleven, Ben was still buzzing from the whole experience and didn't show any signs of winding down. We crossed under the castle and then down through the hub, merging with the last of the lingering crowd on Main street.
By the time we exited the park the monorail was already shut down for the night - we had to wait in line for a ferry boat instead. Ben was starting to agitate about Tinkerbell, so I dug out the Tink ornament that we had purchased at the start of the evening. That placated him at least for a while, but it was clear that he was on the edge of tipping over from happy to tired and cranky. I dearly hoped we would manage to get him all the way to the car before that particular time bomb detonated. Fortunately the boat came quickly. Before long we were walking through the Ticket and Transportation Center en route to the car. Ben stopped to take a photo of a Tinkerbell window decoration, which was when I thought to take a glance at his camera to see if he actually took any pictures during that last solo ride. As a matter of fact, he did capture a shot of his absolute favorite moment of the ride - Bashfull in the mine crying, "She's getting away, hurry!"
The crowd was still cheering as Stacey led our group away from Snow White's Scary Adventures following the official last ride. Just like a few hours earlier, we were taken to a spot in front of The Friar's Nook in order to wait. We watched as Disney security helped guide the remaining guests out of Fantasyland, and as the park quickly emptied out we learned that Stacy had another gift for Ben - a photo CD with more than 80 pictures taken during Snow White's visit with Ben along with four prints of some of the best shots. Ben particularly liked the one from inside the ride with Snow White. I particularly liked the one showing Ben laughing and happy.
Ben describes his day in precisely 1,000 words