Dumbo the Flying Elephant

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Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Dumbonew.jpg
Dumbo the Flying Elephant in its former location in Fantasyland.
Magic Kingdom
Land Fantasyland (Storybook Circus)
Attraction type Hub and Spoke
Opening date October 1, 1971
Closing date January 9, 2012
Vehicle capacity 2-3
Number of vehicles 16
Ride duration 1:30 minutes
Reopened March 12, 2012 (First Dumbo)
June 22, 2012 (Second Dumbo)
FastPass + Yes

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is an attraction located in Fantasyland.

Attraction History

The history of Dumbo the Flying Elephant began with an idea for an attraction in Disneyland. In the early 1950s, Imagineers began working on designs for a "hub and spoke" style ride based on the 1941 Disney movie "Dumbo". In this early incarnation, guests would have ridden the "Pink Elephants" that Dumbo hallucinates in the movie, with the working title of the attraction being "10 Pink Elephants On Parade" [1]. The Pink Elephants were initially chosen because, while there were going to be ten ride vehicles on the attraction, there was only one Dumbo [2]. Walt Disney however, did not want his guests riding in alcohol induced elephants, and he ordered the ride vehicles painted grey [2]. The attraction's name was thus changed to Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and it opened in Disneyland in August 1955 [3].

Dumbo the Flying Elephant proved to be so popular in Disneyland that it was an obvious choice for inclusion in Walt Disney World. A replica Dumbo was built, and the attraction opened with the rest of the park on October 1, 1971 [4]. The ride consisted of 10 Dumbos flying around in a circle, although two years after the attraction opened, Timothy the Mouse was added to the center hub [5]. Besides being the object that guests now flew around, Timothy was also holding a whip and standing on a disco ball.

There were no other major changes to Dumbo the Flying Elephant until 1993, when the ride was closed for renovations. During the refurbishment, the ride mechanism was changed to make the attraction more kinetic, and six more Dumbo's were added in order to increase capacity [6]. While Dumbo was closed, Timothy the Mouse's whip was removed and replaced with Dumbo's "Magic Feather". Furthermore, the disco ball that the mouse stood on was replaced with a small hot air balloon. Subsequently, in 1997 a new covered queue was added to the attraction in an attempt to protect guests from the beating sun [5]

Relocation and Expansion

At the 2009 D23 Expo, Disney announced that a second Dumbo the Flying Elephant carousel would be built in order to increase the ride's capacity [7]. By 2011 however, plans for the Fantasyland Expansion had changed. Disney instead announced that a new area called Storybook Circus would be created in the location formally occupied by Mickey's Toontown Fair (In 2009 Disney had announced plans to construct Pixie Hollow, a Tinkerbell themed area in this location) [8] [9]. Storybook Circus took its inspiration from the circus scenes in Dumbo, and fittingly Disney further announced that Dumbo the Flying Elephant would be relocated to this new area [10]. As part of this relocation, not only would a second Dumbo carousel be constructed, but the attraction would also receive a covered interactive queue [11].

Dumbo the Flying Elephant closed for relocation on January 9, 2012 [12]. By the time Storybook Circus began soft openings on March 12, 2012, one of the two Dumbo carousels (the new one [13]) was operational [14].The attraction now featured an all new look which included: a new color scheme (of red, blue and gold), a new soundtrack, and panels at the base of the attraction that depict various scenes from the movie [15]. The refurbished Dumbo attraction also included water features at foot of the carousel (similar to the Dumbo attractions at other Disney parks) which light up in a variety of colors at night. On June 22, 2012, the second Dumbo carousel (the original one) had its first soft opening [16], with the official opening happening in July [17] . Although nearly identical to each other, the original Dumbo carousel spins clockwise, while the new carousel spins counterclockwise [18].

Attraction Plot

Concept art for the Storybook Circus expansion, featuring the relocated Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction.

Interactive Queue

As part of Dumbo the Flying Elephant's relocation, the attraction was given a "next generation" queue. The new queue allows guests to enter a big top tent, which houses a large playground based on the clown scene from the movie. Initially, when guests entered the tent they were given a card with a letter on it. When it was their turn to ride, a cast member would call them back to the entrance (by letter) and they would board the attraction. Subsequently however, the card system has been replaced. Now when guests enter the queue they are given a pager. When it is there turn to ride, the pager goes off and Timothy the Mouse tells them it is time to board Dumbo.

Ride

Dumbo the Flying Elephant allows guests to board a Dumbo ride vehicle, and fly high above Fantasyland. The ride is hub and spoke attraction, with the Dumbo's extending from a central hot air balloon. A joystick in the middle of the ride vehicle allows guests to move their elephant up or down. Dumbo lasts for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds, before the elephants descend back to the ground.

See the Attraction!

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • President Harry Truman refused to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Disneyland, due to the fact that the elephant is the mascot for the Republican Party [19].
  • Before the attraction closed in January 2012, a ride vehicle was placed just outside the attraction. This allowed guests to board the vehicle and take pictures, without having to wait in line [20].
  • Chris Edgerly voices Timothy the Mouse on Dumbo the Flying Elephant [21].
  • During the attraction's relocation, the statue of Timothy the Mouse that once stood at the center of the original Dumbo ride was moved to the new attraction's marquee [22].

References

  1. http://www.yesterland.com/dumbo.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gordon, B., & Mumford, D. (2000). Disneyland: The nickel tour (2nd ed.). Santa Clarita, Calif.: Camphor Tree
  3. http://www.davelandweb.com/dumbo/
  4. http://thisdayindisneyhistory.homestead.com/disneyworldgrandopening.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://www.florida-project.com/walt-disney-world-photos/magic-kingdom/fantasyland/dumbo-the-flying-elephant
  6. http://www.wdwradio.com/2007/09/dumbo-the-flying-elephant/
  7. http://www.themeparktourist.com/news/20090913/329/disney-confirms-fantasyland-expansion-magic-kingdom
  8. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2011/02/tribute-explore-mickeys-toontown-fair-as-it-closes-permanently-at-walt-disney-worlds-magic-kingdom/#
  9. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2012/08/new-fantasyland-evolution-walt-disney-world-modifies-concepts-artwork-while-magic-kingdom-expansion-takes-shape/
  10. http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2011/06/a-new-look-at-storybook-circus-at-magic-kingdom-park/
  11. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2011/06/new-storybook-circus-concept-art-offers-more-details-for-magic-kingdom-fantasyland-expansion-at-walt-disney-world/
  12. http://blog.touringplans.com/2011/10/06/dumbo-closing-date-magic-kingdom/
  13. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2012/03/new-dumbo-ride-dazzles-in-storybook-circus-with-water-fountains-and-multi-colored-lights-at-walt-disney-world/
  14. http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/03/photos-storybook-circus-soft-opens-at-magic-kingdom-park/
  15. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2012/03/new-dumbo-ride-dazzles-in-storybook-circus-with-water-fountains-and-multi-colored-lights-at-walt-disney-world/
  16. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2012/06/double-dumbo-debuts-at-the-magic-kingdom-offering-walt-disney-world-guests-twice-the-flying-elephant-fun/
  17. http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/06/doubled-dumbo-the-flying-elephant-lifts-off-for-a-test-flight/
  18. http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/03/photos-storybook-circus-soft-opens-at-magic-kingdom-park/
  19. http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/08/dumbo-the-flying-elephant-celebrates-55th-anniversary/
  20. http://allears.net/dlr/tp/dl/dumbo.htm
  21. https://www.mouseplanet.com/10478/Voices_of_the_Disney_Parks
  22. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/magic-kingdom/dumbo-the-flying-elephant/