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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Ride Review Ride The Galloping Horses On King Arthur Carrousel

ID:TMS-3322
Source:Orange County Register
Author:Mark Eades
Dateline:January 26, 2016
Posted:January 30, 2016
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
 
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Gallop around to some upbeat organ music and you know you're on a merry-go-round. But this isn't just any old merry-go-round; it's the one in Fantasyland at Disneyland, and it's named after a king.

As you approach the King Arthur Carrousel you can hear the organ music, which is piped in from the organ playing it from behind the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction.

In the front of the carousel, toward the castle, is another ode to the time of King Arthur, the Sword in the Stone. Tug all you want, Excalibur is not coming out of that rock.

Walking around the carousel, you pick one of 68 hand-crafted white wood horses to ride on, or you sit in the one chariot. If you're a parent with a small child, you will have to stand next to the child during the ride.

Each horse has its own name, but you'll have to go to City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. to get the list.

Soon, the safety spiel is done and the merry-go-round slowly starts to rotate as all the horses start to gallop up and down. Hold on tight to the reins, particularly on the outer horses. OK, it's not that fast.

If you're lucky, you might be joined by the Pearly Band on your ride.

As you look around the ornate structure, you can see nine hand-painted vignettes from the Disney animated film "Sleeping Beauty." At night, your face will glow from the more than 3,300 lights on the carousel canopy.

After about two minutes, your ride comes to an end, and it's time to explore the other attractions in Fantasyland.

A former Disney Imagineer's Review

According to history, Walt Disney came up with the idea that would become Disneyland while sitting on a park bench and watching his daughters ride the merry-go-round at Griffith Park. He was a little bored and realized there was nothing there for his family to do together, so he started dreaming of something along those lines.

In 1955, it became, of course, Disneyland. Since he came up with the idea watching his kids on a carousel, he had to have one in his new theme park, and it became the centerpiece of Fantasyland.

The King Arthur Carrousel is actually an antique. It was made by the Dentzel Carousel Co. in 1922. Walt Disney purchased it from the Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto as he was developing his idea of a new kind of theme park.

Originally, it had horses, giraffes, deer and other animals on it, but Walt wanted everyone to be able to ride a galloping horse, so they were removed and replaced with antique horses.

Interestingly enough, if you look around the area surrounding the carousel in Fantasyland, you won't find any park benches - perhaps a conscious effort to make the parents go on the ride with their kids.

Now as merry-go-rounds go, this one is a fine specimen. But it's still just that, a merry-go-round.

Once upon a time in my Disney career, my office was located on Stage Two of the Disney studio lot, also known as the Mary Poppins Stage. I've always remembered the sequence in the movie where Poppins (Julie Andrews), Burt (Dick Van Dyke) and the kids ride a small merry-go-round, but through the magic of the story, the horses leave the carousel for a gallop across a cartoon countryside.

I've always thought that if Disney wanted to step it up, it could take the merry-go-round concept and make it into something more based on that movie. There was even some artwork generated at Walt Disney Imagineering for a concept just like that years ago.

I guess I want it to be something more magical than just a merry-go-round, which exists at nearly every theme park and amusement park around the world.

So while the homage to the history of the Disney theme park franchise is nice, it would be better if some pixie dust was sprinkled on the carousel and those horses could gallop around the park somehow.

My grade for this is B, for could be better.
 

 
 
Attractions Referenced

Dumbo The Flying Elephant
King Arthur Carrousel
Sword In The Stone Ceremony
 
Restaurants Referenced

 
Parades Referenced

 
 
 
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