BACKSTORY (April 1, 1961—Present): A number of large crates were delivered to Disney in Burbank in the early 1960’s and when they were opened, 8 beautiful marble sculptures were unveiled. The sculptor was licensed by Disney in Italy to sculpt the molds for Snow White soaps and he had used the molds to create these marble sculptures, sending them as a gift. Since the soaps were all the same height, Snow White in the statues was also the same height as the dwarves. The studio “fixed” this error by using forced perspective to make the statues appear to be in the correct proportion. John Hench was in charge of the design for this area. The studio created the woodland animals.
From the April 1961 "The Disneylander" Newsletter:
Wishing Well Dedication April 9th
Photographic enthusiasts in Disneyland will thrill to a new sight the first part of April when they see the magnificent Snow White Grotto in all its splendor on the right of Sleeping Beauty's Castle as they approach Fantasyland.
Many Disneylanders feel that of all the beautiful picture taking spots throughout the Park this newest addition to the Magic Kingdom will soon become one of the top stopping places for guests with still and motion picture cameras.
Nestled in the hill alongside the Castle the Grotto will include not only Snow White, but the Seven Dwarfs as well. The famous Walt Disney characters, carved from the finest Italian marble, will be placed around Echo Falls, a new
Disneyland water fall spectacular. Guests will also see other characters from the motion picture of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," including rabbits, doves, a little doe, turtles and fish spouting water that perform like ballet dancers to the beautiful music made famous in the motion picture.
Adjacent to the Grotto and accessible to guests will be one of the world's most beautiful and inviting wishing wells, designed by WED Enterprises and made in the Disneyland mill and by our staff shop experts. Contributions thrown into the well will be turned over to Variety Clubs International, the famed organization made up of show business personalities, who will use the money for their chartiabe work among the needy.
The wishing well will be formally dedicated on Sunday, April 9th in a ceremony arranged by Tommy Walker. Stars from stage, screen, television and show business in general, as they visit the Park, are planning to make their contributions along with the public as they pass the Wishing Well and admire the beauty of the latest addition to the Disneyland scene.
Snow White’s voice was re-recorded in 1987 for a clearer crisper sound, and an interesting tale has circulated about that recording. Until her last days, Adriana Caselotti (the original voice of Snow White) was supposedly still able to sound just like she did when she originally made the recordings back in the 1930’s. The song “I'm Wishing” requires a solid almost operatic voice. Over the years, Adriana had been increasingly replaced by several other actresses who were a little bit more reliable whenever it came time to do the more difficult parts of Snow’s voice. For the wishing well gig, the studio thought it would be nice to give her a shot to digitally record and replace the patched together film soundtrack they’d been using at the grotto since its installation. Adriana was unable to reach the high notes during recording. Knowing that she would have to replaced, she asked if she could go ahead and ask someone for help—even though she was alone in the studio. The engineer and producer went ahead and gave her the ok. She turned away from the microphone, looked up, and whispered, “Mr. Disney, if you are up there—please help me find Snow White’s voice.” She returned and asked for one last take, during which she nailed every note. True or not, who knows? It still makes a great story.
"WISHING WILL MAKE IT SO" WITH NEW SNOW WHITE WISHING WELL
If some one asked you to name the Seven Dwarfs could you do it? Why certainly everyone knows Dopey, Sleepy, Bashful, Grumpy, Happy, 'n - ah-uh-why sure, Happy and - and, now let's see, it's, oh I know it. Of course, it's, it's Sneezy. So there! And all Disneylanders will continue to remember their names because in about a month Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will have a permanent home in Disneyland just where they belong, adjacent to the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The new home for Walt Disney's world famous characters will be to the right of the Castle nestled on the hill with those three beautiful pine trees as the background setting.
The Italiain marble statues of Snow White and the dwarfs will be placed on the hill surrounded by the beauty nature supplies with the magnificent waterfall cascading down the hill into the Castle moat. In addition to the figures there will also be fish that squirt water, turtles, doves, frogs, and rabbits in the setting and appropriate music will flood the area from concealed speakers.
Adjacent to this wonderful new sight in Disneyland, on a greatly widened walkway from the Castle, will be one of the world's most beautiful wishing wells. Throwing a coin or two into a well has long been a custom practiced by people all over the world when they wanted a wish granted. Around Easter time Disneyland's new wishing well will be ready to accept coins and all of the proceeds will be turned over to Variety Clubs International, the famed organization made up of people in show business. The Clubs will, in turn, use the money for their charities and help make the wishes of unfortunates and underprivileged come true.
FROM THE DISNEYLANDER NEWSLETTER, MAY 1961
INSIDE THE BERM
Disneyland's newest attraction, the Snow White Wishing Well, has become extremely popular with Disneylanders, as well as guests, in the short time since its dedication on April 9th. It is rumored that Department Heads can be heard to murmur something about budgets as they drop in their coins!
“I knew Mike in High school. I dated someone else for most of high school. But that didn’t stop Mike from letting me know how he felt about me. He was always telling me he loved me. I would respond with an “I know.” He must have known my class schedule because as I was walking along between classes he would appear out of nowhere next to me...as we were walking he would tell pretty much anyone that might listen that I was his “future wife.” After my boyfriend and I broke up, Mike and I had only one what you might call “date” together. We went to a fancy romantic restaurant…you may know it…McDonald’s. We went through the drive-thru and ate in the car. Afterwards, he took me home and walked me up to my parent’s front porch. He tried to kiss me, but I declined the offer. He stormed off and “burned rubber” in the street with his car. Why do you think that was? Did he have an urgent over-due library book or something? Anyway, shortly after that we graduated and went our separate ways.
Five years later, Mike tried to call me. The person who answered said “Who is this? What do you want?” It wasn’t me; I’d already gotten married and moved out. It was my little sister. All these years, Mike thought it was me…and that I was still mad at him. I contacted him through classmates.com 28 years later and the race was on after that; we just knew it was right. When he came to my parents house on Thanksgiving Day of 2006, I had my little sister answer the door repeating “Who is this? What do you want?" And now for the proposal…
Mike is a Disney/Disneyland fanatic. I'm a Disneyland fanatic. Yep...we’re both nuts and children at heart. Anyway…the day after Thanksgiving, Mike asked me to go to Disneyland. Let me back up here. In an email to Mike, I once asked him if he ever had a secret wish that he never told anyone about. He told me what it was and asked what mine was. It’s not fair for me to tell you what his was, but I’ll tell you mine. It was to go to Disneyland with someone I truly cared about. Sounds simple and silly, doesn't it? The true meaning of that was that I didn’t want to go anywhere with anyone (love interest) unless they really meant something to me; especially places I loved. So we went to Disneyland and it was very crowded; I think we only went on 3 rides the whole day. Still, I had the best time ever just being there with Mike and being silly. Whenever I had gone to Disneyland in the past with my son, we always stopped by Snow White’s Wishing Well, where you can hear Snow White singing, “I'm wishing...for the one I love....to find me...today.” I always sing along with it. Anyway, Mike knew this. It was getting late and he took me over to the wishing well. I figured he knew this was kind of a tradition for me and wanted to make sure I went there before we left. We both threw coins in and made wishes. Then I bent over with my head inside (this is where the sound comes from) the wishing well singing along with Snow White...little did I know of what was to come. I looked up from my antics and Mike proposed. Being the smart woman that I am, I said yes. I will tell you what our wishes were for. Mine was to be with Mike forever; Mike’s was that I would say yes. When I told my little sister of our engagement, she congratulated me and told me to tell Mike “Who is this? What do you want?”