The Castle Wishing Wells
Text and photos by Karl Buiter, contributing editor
Snow White's Grotto inscription at Disneyland.
Just to the right of the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, you
may spot one of the true Hidden Treasures in Disneyland - Snow White's
Grotto and Wishing Well. In Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, a
companion Hidden Treasure lies just to the right of Cinderella's Castle
- Cinderella's Wishing Well.
Snow White's Grotto and Wishing Well in Disneyland is freely accessible
on the rightmost path in front of the castle, or via a walkway near the
Villian's Shop in the Castle Courtyard. Led by bells high up in the castle
tower, you'll soon hear Snow White sing "I'm Wishing", with
her echoed responses coming from deep within the well. The voice
is performed by the original Snow White animated voice actress - Adriana
The last take...
There's a wonderful story about Adriana Caselotti's
re-recording of the soundtrack now used at Snow White's Wishing
Well at Disneyland - that was done back during the 50th anniversary
theatrical re-release of Snow White. [A magazine writer friend related
it to me, and this seems like the perfect part of the site to finally
Apparently, Adriana used to take the greatest of pride
that until her very last days she could still do the famous "voice"
- and usually she sounded just about as fresh then as she did back
in the late thirties.
As you may well know, I'm Wishing, the
song you hear every few minutes at the well requires a very solid,
almost operatic, voice to perform well. Over the years for the more
demanding studio work, Adriana had been increasingly replaced by
several other actresses who were a little bit more reliable whenever
it came time to do Snow's voice.
For this little project, apparently the forces that
be at Disney thought it would be a nice touch to give her one last
shot to digitally record and replace the patched together film soundtrack
they were using at the grotto since it was originally installed.
They wanted to capture her performance as Snow for posterity as
the years went on.
Anyway, the day for the session came, and sadly, try
as she may, Adriana just could not reach the high notes required
of her for the song. Take after take came and then went - and she
just couldn't make it. People who had pushed so very hard for her
to do this little project were heartbroken to say the least.
Finally, apparently just as she sensed they were going
to call the session over, she asked if she could go ahead and ask
someone for help. Rather puzzled, (since she was alone in the studio)
the engineer and producer went ahead and gave her the go-ahead.
She turned away from the mike - looked up skyward
- and very quietly asked:
Mr. Disney, if you are up there - please help
me find Snow White's voice.
After a moment, she turned back around and asked for
a last take. The engineer crossed his fingers, hit the start button,
and the tape began to roll. She got each and every note absolutely
perfect that one last time.
[And yes... those tears welling up in your eyes now
are just what happened to everyone who was in the studio too upon
the completion of the track.]
So, the next time you stop by Snow White's Wishing
Well at Disneyland do take a careful listen won't you? It's quite
a heavenly performance they have playing there if you ask me.
- Al Lutz
Cinderella's Wishing Well at Walt Disney World rests in a small side
area high on the path that leads from the castle toward Tomorrowland.
Like its Disneyland cousin, it is a wonderful place to take a short break
in the afternoon or to enjoy a romantic moment late in the evening.
Snow White's Grotto, Disneyland USA
Cinderella's Wishing Well Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
The statuettes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that are in the grotto:
Snow and Friend
Jason Schultz, keeper of Magic Kingdom Chronicles here on MousePlanet,
provides us a historical background on the statuettes:
The figures were sculpted in Italian marble and were put into place
in 1961. Some say that they were an anonymous gift, while others contend
that they know who donated them. Regardless, the figures were all the
same height, presenting a problem when they were to be installed in
John Hench was responsible for the design of the area. His artwork
for the Grotto was exhibited in the inaugural Disney Gallery exhibit.
Since Snow White's statue was roughly the same size as the dwarves, a
visual effect called "forced perspective" was used. Major elements
of the scene were scaled and angled to give the illusion of distance and
height. When you view the scene from the wishing well, you "see"
Snow White in perfect princess height way up on the crest of the waterfall.
Plaque on Cinderella's Wishing Well: Your wishes will help the Dreams
of Children come true. The fountains are a great place to make a heartfelt
wish and drop a coin into the well.
Kevin Yee, who maintained Cast Place here on MousePlanet, answers the
question, "Where does the wishing well money go?"
It goes to childrenās charities. Originally, it was put into a trust
established between Disneyland and the Variety Clubs International,
to go to such places as orphanages, schools and childrenās homes.
The trust was terminated in 1972 when federal regulations restricted
contributions to foreign charities, and now it goes to domestic childrenās
So not only will your wish come true, but your coins will help make the
wishes of children come true too.
Snow White's Wishing Well at Disneyland.
Cinderella's Wishing Well at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
One of the founding members of
MousePlanet, Inc., Karl Buiter is now a contributing writer. He lives in Las
Vegas, NV, and is a software developer with an interest in monorails.
Thoughts, questions, or comments?
Contact Karl here.