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Disneyland Article
Dumbo Is Flying Again At Disneyland And Now He Is Really Shady

Astro Orbitor
Mercury News
Marla Jo Fisher
May 01, 2018
May 05, 2018
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Dumbo has been cleared to fly over Disneyland once again and he's got something he's never had before: a brand-new shade structure to provide relief from the burning rays to patient visitors for the first time in the ride's 62-year history.

"It looks fantastic," Disneyland super fan Gavin Doyle said Monday afternoon after getting his first glimpse of the revamped attraction. "They took all the vibrant colors and expanded them."

Dumbo operates on a simple so-called "spinner" ride mechanism that, from a theme park designer's standpoint, has been done 1,000 different times at 1,000 different parks. In fact, the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland operates on essentially the same design. No fancy, state-of-the-art, bone-jarring hydraulics here. Just lifting riders in the air and spinning them around an axis in a gentle circle.

Yet it's been a perennial fan favorite since it opened, likely due to the universal appeal of flying baby elephants, the ability of the entire family to ride it, and that small kids can operate the levers that move it up and down.

"It's an aerial view of Fantasyland - this whimsical place," said Doyle. "And there's something about flying in the air.

Based on the 1941 animated movie "Dumbo," this Fantasyland ride was supposed to be ready when Disneyland opened in July 1955, but it was slightly delayed because engineers were working unsuccessfully on ways to make the ears of its 16 flying elephants wiggle.

Finally, the ride opened a month late and it's been a hit ever since, despite the stationary ears. Every Disney theme park location in the world contains a Dumbo ride, and an estimated 90 million people have taken a spin, according to park officials. A vintage Dumbo carriage was even donated to the Smithsonian museum.

Original concept drawings show the Dumbo ride with pink elephants, but Walt Disney wanted the current design with circus trim, and that's what remains today after a new paint job and brush-up.

One of the big drawbacks of this cute attraction, though, has always been its lack of shade, leaving visitors standing sometimes for an hour in the blazing sun or soaking in a mild drizzle. On Monday afternoon - a normally slower day - the line was 45 minutes long.

Disneyland officials decided to fix the shade issue, as they revamped the queue to create wider walkways in front, which will also serve them well in 2019, when the park becomes mobbed with visitors looking to experience the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction.

Now, the lines snake behind Dumbo, in a formerly little-used paved area that features a vintage calliope.

"The pipe organ was there, but nobody ever saw it because the queue didn't go near it," said Todd Regan

And Disneyland didn't just add a shade structure. It created a themed circus or carnival environment that keeps out the weather while also adding visual charm.

"They really spent a lot of time building all these shade structures that look like circus tents," Regan said. "Before this, for 60 years, there was no shade at all. It's quite the enhancement."
Attractions Referenced

Astro Orbitor

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Lands Referenced


Star Wars Galaxys Edge


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