Slice up a fresh gooseberry pie! We’ve got some magical insights into one of the most serene and beautiful areas of Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. The picturesque area to the right of Sleeping Beauty Castle is a “lovely little water wonderland adorned with handcrafted figures of Snow White, Doc, Dopey, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy and Dopey.” Snow White Grotto celebrates its 59th anniversary this year, so read below for seven little facts about the enchanting area!
7 Dwarf-Sized Facts About Snow White Grotto
D23 gave us some enchanted tidbits about Snow White Grotto in a 2016 news story. In April of 1961, the area was originally designed with marble statues and a beautiful waterfall area. Later, in 1983, Fantasyland was reimagined as a whole, and Snow White Grotto got its fair share of refurbishment. Producer/editor and Disney historian Les Perkins, who worked on the reimagining of Fantasyland in 1983, offers factoids about the area…
- Snow White Grotto was the result of a collection of pure Carrera marble sculpts that were ordered from Italy, created by Sculptor Leonida Parma. Walt Disney loved them and asked WED Imagineer John Hench to find a spot inside Disneyland them. Snow White Grotto then appeared in the early 1960s.
- When the sculptures finally arrived, there was a surprise; the Snow White statue was the same height as the seven Dwarf figures!! That wouldn’t do!
- The real reason all 8 marble sculptures were the same size was eventually traced back to a Disney soap set, where all figures were the same size in order to fit inside the package. The sculptures were based on this set and therefore were proportional.
- So how did Imagineer John Hench solve the problem? He used the traditional “forced perspective” technique used with Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main Street, U.S.A. By putting Snow White at the top of the waterfall feature and pairing her with a smaller deer, Snow White appears to be the proper size.
- The “tradition” of a same-height Snow White was duplicated for the grotto at Tokyo Disneyland.
- The elegant Wishing Well in the area was Walt Disney’s idea. He wanted the coins to be easily collected from the wishing well and donated to charity. This also discouraged Disney Parks guests from tossing them into the grotto’s waters.
- Over the years, the pure marble became discolored as it weathered. During the refurbishment, molds were cast from the original sculptures and were replaced with the fiberglass figures we see today.
Enjoy the Audio “Spectacle” of Snow White Grotto
Here, we hear Les Perkins, who worked on the reimagining of Fantasyland in 1983, share a sweet story about acquiring the audio for the well and Snow White’s show loop (heard in the video below) with D23:
“When Les supervised the revised 1983 audio for Fantasyland with the assistance of Disney artist/historian Stacia Martin, he contacted none other than the original voice actor, Disney Legend Adrianna Caselotti, to recreate her trilling coloratura for the grotto. “When I called her, I mentioned that it was my birthday,” Les remembers with a smile. “She launched into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ in that unmistakable voice! I couldn’t believe that ‘Snow White’ was singing just for me.”
The footage below offers a look (and listen) for Disney guests to preview the audio show at Snow White Grotto. While we’re not exactly sure how often Snow will start her song, you can be sure that it’s special each time, and may catch you by surprise. Watch the video below for what you can expect, or perhaps enjoy the whole show.
Have you noticed the size of Snow White compared to the dwarfs? Or, perhaps heard her well singing? Leave us a comment below about why you love Disneyland’s Grotto!