Monday, July 15, 2019

Snow White Grotto, September 1966

There are a lot of good grottos in the world - there's the Blue Grotto on the island of Capri; ya gots yer Pope's Grotto in England; and Hugh Hefner had a grotto at the Playboy Mansion in California. But you can visit Disneyland and see the Snow White Grotto without having to learn Italian or whatever language they speak in England (Latvian?), and you don't have to wear pajamas like Hef did.

In this first photo from 1966... the Grotto, with its sculptures, waterfalls, fountains, and even a wishing well, debuted in 1961. As you can see, it is very pretty, and really does remind me of a mini-Villa d'Este. The landscaping is beautiful; those trees disguise the fact that the walls of Sleeping Beauty Castle are right behind everything.

Zooming in we can see Snow White and her pet deer ("Stinky") along with all seven Dwarfs (well, Dopey is outta sight) and assorted woodland vermin. We've all heard the legend of how the statues were carved in Italy from bars of Ivory soap. It's a dumb story. Three people are looking into the wishing well wondering how they can scoop up some of the heaps of coins. Or else they hear Adriana Caselotti's voice and think she fell down the well.

Later in the day the warm sunlight reaches much more of the grotto, and we can see all seven of the Dwarfs, including Dopey (who still has his fishing pole). I hope this feature, a place of quiet and beauty, stays untouched!


Nanook said...


I was wondering the same thing about those folks staring down into the well. Perhaps they had recently experienced some 'hallucinogens', (or merely were bonked over their heads by Dopey's fishing pole) and mistakenly thought they heard faint cries from Kathy Fiscus. It could happen.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

White is such a blah color (I white actually a color?) Perhaps a certain Imagineer could go out to the Grotto with buckets of hot pink and electric blue paint and liven up those statues, just a bit.

Actually, isn't it time for them to swap out those statues with the characters from Frozen? I believe the sequel, Frozen 2: Olaf's Revenge is coming out soon. It would be terrific synergy! It's all about synergy, you see.

Melissa said...

I love the way the statue of Snow is lifting her skirts to walk in the water. A nice touch.

Gnometrek said...

Peace in the Park. My mom love the and the Fantasyland boat ride.


The Snow White & Dwarfs statutes have been copies for many years now- the original marble “gifts” are in storage at WDI. The Snow White Grotto has been added to most of Disney’s castle parks.
In the late 1980’s some people stole the Dopey statue - luckily some people saw and were able to notify security. Dopey’s abductors were caught at the Main Gate trying to smuggle him out in a Disneyland baby stroller!!
Not long ago the Grotto was enhanced with the addition of sparkling gems and diamonds inside the mine tunnel behind Grumpy.
My concern with the Snow White Grotto isn’t a wacky Kim Irvine color treatment but the space giving way to some revenue making idea - or becoming a special “club 33 member only “ castle entryway!!

K. Martinez said...

What a beautiful shot (1st pic) of the Snow White Grotto from across the moat. I'd call it postcard worthy. Thanks, Major.

Stefano said...

I loved the way the Grotto song sequence of "I'm Wishing" started with carillon chiming from the spire at Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Mike Cozart, I remember gems behind Grumpy in the 1970s; they weren't electrically enhanced, but did sparkle in late afternoon sunlight. In the gorgeous night shot of the Grotto which was posted on GDB some years back, the camera flash also set the gems ablaze.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I didn’t consider hallucinogens, which is always the “fun” option!

TokyoMagic!, they should make little Ewok costumes for the Dwarfs, and put Snow White in the “Slave Leia” outfit. Make it relatable to kids today, who probably don’t know who Snow White is. Ha ha, I had to check to see if “Frozen 2” really was “Olaf’s Revenge”!

Melissa, Snow White is nothing if not dainty.

Gnometrek, I wonder if there will be any quiet, peaceful corners left in the park in a few years?

Mike Cozart, I’d heard about the sculpture copies, but did not know that they had versions at other Disney parks. Why am I not surprised that somebody tried to steal Dopey? The gall of some people. I wonder if they just wanted it for their own home, or if they thought they could sell it? Don’t give Disney any ideas about making the Grotto a “members only” feature!!

K. Martinez, you are very welcome!

Stefano, oh yeah, I’d forgotten about the bells until you mentioned it. And I didn’t even know about the gems behind Grumpy, in spite of the fact that I apparently posted a photo in which they can be seen.

JC Shannon said...

Major, everyone knows the are really carved out of Lifebouy. As I sit here in my silk Hef PJs, I am pondering the mysteries of life. I ask myself, how has something so simple and beautiful survived the cutting room all these years? Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? Which came first, the chicken or Col Sanders? Baffling. Thanks Major.

stu29573 said...

Fun Fact 43: Lassie was banned from the park after they couldn't get her to stop running to get help for a "down the well" Snow...

JG said...

Come for the photos, stay for the comments. A classic GDB post.

Good to know that the original art is safe in Indiana Jones' warehouse, being studied by Top. Men. Experts in soap no doubt. I would vote to use Irish Spring, for the little green flecks.

I have not heard the Dopey kidnap caper story before. Could this be when the fishing pole vanished?

I also live in fear that this ancient corner will be "plussed" out of existence, perhaps replacing Snow with Johnny Depp, as well as being painted bubblegum pink. The wood valentines added to the bridge rails are bad enough.

Mom and Dad always stopped for a moment here to smooch. Mom told me that Dad took her to see the film while they were dating, so it was part of the family history.

Thank you, Major. Very fine work here.