One of the most popular interactive queue elements in New Fantasyland is now gone. The gem washing station in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue has been removed recently. Here’s how it was described by Disney when the attraction opened back in May 2014:
At the first interactive station in the attraction queue, Doc’s note explains the jewel washing game. As the jewels flow by in a wooden trough, or sluice, guests touch and drag them into a tray on the side of the sluice, matching them by color and shape. The trough is about 15 feet long and is accessible from both sides.
This interactive element was praised by media at the time of the attraction’s opening and touted by Disney as a step into more interactive queue elements in the parks. In reality, the interactive element was more hit and miss with guest reactions. While many guests enjoyed playing the game, the queue would often get backed up with children and adults alike taking time to play the game and lose position in the queue. Cast also said that the interactive gem sorting element didn’t work as reliably as it should have.
As of a few days ago, the interactive gem washing station has been replaced by a seemingly permanent overlay of immovable, physical gems. According to Cast Members working the attraction, this change was due to an upcoming Play Disney Parks app integration. The Play Disney Parks app is a way for guests to “turn wait time into play time” by presenting information and games on the guests phone while they wait in line. It seems that Disney is abandoning physical, tactile interactions in the queue for virtual ones on a phone screen. As of publish time, there are no new games or elements for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Play Disney Parks app. We’re not sure when new game would be integrated into the app.
Here’s a look at the area as of this morning. These new gems will eventually light up when guests touch them, but that wasn’t working as of this morning.
The other two interactive elements are still in place.