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Disney Meets Dowdle: Someday My Piece Will Come

As the weather continues to warm up here in the Northeast, my puzzling has ironically been ramping up. I talked about this a bit in my last blog post. Usually, the winter months are a boon for my puzzling, but not this year. Happily, the puzzles I’ve been doing for this blog have been helping me get out of my winter puzzling doldrums and getting me closer closer toward fulfilling the old adage that a puzzle a day keeps the doc away.

One of the puzzle themes that always tends to make me happy is Disney. The reason for that combines a number of different factors, especially the nostalgia factor of the original films and characters, the bright colors, and the crisp line work typical of Disney illustrations. Combine those elements with Dowdle Puzzles, a stalwart and reliable folk art puzzle brand, and you get Disney Dowdle, a fun line of puzzles that I’ve been looking forward to trying for the blog.

It may seem a bit dopey for an adult man, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has long been one of my favorite Disney films. Released in 1937, the movie represents a number of historic firsts – it’s the first animated feature film produced in the United States and the first cel animated feature film. Though Walt Disney had been releasing animated shorts in years prior, Snow White represented a step forward in terms of the scope and scale of what was achievable within the art form of animation.

I was excited to realize that this line of puzzles included one for Snow White, entitled Dancing with the Dwarfs. Eric Dowdle’s signature folk art style melds perfectly with Disney’s cast of colorful, charming characters, and the illustration for this particular puzzle is no exception.

Snow White puzzle

Upon opening the puzzle box, I was already impressed with the high quality of the packaging and the components included. The box is sturdy, with a magnetic-close flap, and inside are a soft cloth reusable bag, a decent-sized color poster, and the plastic bag of pieces.

What's in the box

One of the first things I noticed about this puzzle is that, unlike many other Dowdle puzzles, the pieces aren’t ‘irregular cut.’ Instead they’re a more standard ribbon cut (but with varied pieces, not only ‘two ins, two outs’). The finish is semi-glossy, and the pieces have a blue board cardboard backing. Sneezy puzzlers will be pleased to know that there is very little puzzle dust.

The frame of the puzzle

Since the puzzle had a very standard cut, and the image was quite varied, I started with the border as I normally would. Since the colors of the border were a bit darker than the interior of the image, it wasn’t exactly a breeze, but nor was it too difficult.

Coming together

My approach for sorting was mainly to try to identify pieces that looked like they were parts of characters and separate those out from the rest of the mainly wood-textured image. Out of the gate, Snow White’s vibrant costume, and the dwarfs’ faces, stood out, so those came together first.

Most of the puzzle complete

Because this is only a 500-piece puzzle, after I had put together some of the more recognizable characters, I took a scattershot approach to completing the rest, simply eyeballing pieces and trying to determine where they generally went within the image until it all came together.

the last section

One of the most distinctive textures within the puzzle were the zany shapes of Grumpy’s pipe organ, so I left those pieces till the end to put together. 

the organ and grumpy

Finishing that little section left me anything but grumpy. Super satisfying!

the completed puzzle

I’m not bashful to say that the finished puzzle looks truly spectacular. Eric Dowdle’s strength as an artist is in capturing the folk-art quality of a scene and making it feel timeless, and he’s done a stunning job capturing the nostalgia and the charm of the dwarfs’ cottage from the film, rendered in a way so that it pops for contemporary puzzlers. By the time I was done with this one, I was quite sleepy, so I had to pick up with my efforts to photograph the puzzle in the morning light, when I was able to get this gorgeous shot.

Snow White dancing

Just as impressive was the quality of the image printing on the puzzle. Look at how crisp the colors and line work look. In spite of the semi-glossy nature of the pieces, the puzzle photographs really well under the right light conditions. 

Onlooking critters

I also love all of the tiny details within the image, like these cheerful woodland onlookers, lined up neatly above the rest of the scene.

Personality of the dwarfs

Plus, each dwarf’s individual personality comes through!

Beauty and the Beast puzzle

If you liked this particular puzzle, there are so many other great ones in this line of puzzles. Here’s the one for Beauty and the Beast, Finding Love. The lovely thing about this one is the inclusion of the stunning castle from the film.

Pinocchio Puzzle


Then there’s this one of Pinocchio, Dreams Come True, which really captures the magic of Gepetto’s workshop and its cornucopia of clocks and trinkets.

Little Mermaid puzzle

The Little Mermaid puzzle, Part of Your World, combines Eric Dowdle’s brilliant character work with the kinds of realistic vibrant oceanic scenes that he’s rendered in some of his other puzzles, like his beautiful Maui puzzle.  Check out Aladdin and Jasmine on the flying carpet in this enchanting puzzle titled Celebration in Agrabah!

Aladdin puzzle

In addition to these, there are a number of others to be found here. Each of these is 500 pieces and can be completed in one ambitious sitting if you’re feeling motivated. I know that I plan to piece together more of these puzzles now that I know how great they are quality-wise. I’m thinking next time, I’ll fill up my Disney mug from the recent Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit on the inspiration for Disney imagery, put one of the films on Disney+ and puzzle along. Heigh-ho, doesn’t that sound cozy? Feel free to join me! 

P.S. Did you spot my heavy-handed attempt to fit each of the dwarfs’ names into this post? ;-)


-Richard (@piecebypiecepuzzler / YouTube channel: Piece By Piece Puzzler)

Comments - Add Comment 5.0 Stars 3
5 Stars
Paul K. - Sarasota, FL

My wife is an Altzheimers girl. We have been married for 55 years and we greatly enjoy working on your 100 piece puzzles in the evenings. She especially enjoys the scenery puzzles. Thank you for providing them!

5 Stars
Alyssa Z. - Stevenson Ranch, CA

I loved how you snuck the dwarfs names in!!! Great blog !

5 Stars
Martha - Indiana

enjoyable read .

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