Let’s get this out of the way first: Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, the revamped ride that replaced Snow White’s Scary Adventures in Disneyland, is really good. The attraction preserves much of the charm of what originally opened in 1955 at the park’s debut, but gives it a more cohesive storyline that’s true to the 1938 movie. It also adds in the movie’s biggest problem — but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Disneyland reopened Friday after more than 400 days, and wait times for Snow White’s Enchanted Wish were consistently the highest in the park all day because people were so excited to see something new at the park’s opening. (Jungle Cruise, which is also getting a remake, is still closed.)
The ride, one of Fantasyland’s original attractions, got a major upgrade, with new audio and visual technology installed throughout, including LED black lighting, laser projections, new music and a new animation system. The colors are punched up in a major way, and the new imagery is stunning, especially in the scenes where the Seven Dwarfs are mining for gems. Those scenes are reminiscent of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, a thrill ride that also includes a similar glittering mine scene.
The best part of the remake, though, is that Disney’s Imagineers still retained some of what made Snow White’s Scary Adventures so iconic: Namely, the scene where the Evil Queen is looking in her magic mirror, and turns around to reveal a terrifying old witch instead.
“You’re still going to feel a lot of suspense,” Dave Caranci, manager of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a statement shared with SFGATE. “The Evil Queen is still there outside the attraction opening the curtains. But there’s a warmer, inviting feel that’s drawing you inside and now it’s Snow White’s journey.”
The “scary” in Snow White’s adventures was a divisive tone for a kiddie ride. Some felt it was much too scary for small children, especially because many scenes were very dark and used jump scares. The sight of screaming, crying children exiting the ride was not uncommon, and perhaps was part of the reason Snow White often had some of the shortest lines in Fantasyland.
But for adults, it was the primary part of the ride’s charm. It felt oddly incongruous in the light-hearted world of fantasy. The queue had a dungeon scene, an apple that, when touched, cackled ominously, and the most abrupt ending of any ride in the park: the Evil Queen falling to her death with a scream, followed immediately afterward by the doors swinging open to the ride’s exit row.
The new ride includes a more comprehensive storyline — but that’s also the problem. The new grand finale of Snow White’s Enchanted Wish is the moment when the Prince finds Snow White asleep under the Evil Queen’s spell and gives her “true love’s kiss” to release her from the enchantment. A kiss he gives to her without her consent, while she’s asleep, which cannot possibly be true love if only one person knows it’s happening.
Haven’t we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn’t been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK? It’s hard to understand why the Disneyland of 2021 would choose to add a scene with such old fashioned ideas of what a man is allowed to do to a woman, especially given the company’s current emphasis on removing problematic scenes from rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain. Why not re-imagine an ending in keeping with the spirit of the movie and Snow White’s place in the Disney canon, but that avoids this problem?