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Good morning! This day in Disney history, August 16th, 1955: Dumbo the Flying Elephant opens in Fantasyland.
Inspired by the 1941 animated feature Dumbo, the original location of Dumbo is actually NOT where it is today. It was located right in from of the Fantasyland Theater, near the Pirate Ship Restaurant. The photo below is a 1955 model in "The First 50 Magical Years" exhibit. It shows Dumbo in it's original location, on the west side of Fantasyland.
Walt hoped to have Dumbo ready for the July 17th grand opening of the park, but unfortunately, the fiberglass elephants only arrived about three weeks before opening day. If you notice in the photo below, the ears of the ten 700 pound fiberglass Dumbos are on hinges and are supposed to move up and down. The mechanisms never worked properly so they remained stationary.
Later, the sculptor, Chris Mueller Jr., created new casts with no hinges for movement.
So not only did the original elephants have mechanical issues, they also first arrived painted PINK. Notice in the main pic of the post. That was the original Dumbo attraction poster. Not a misprint, the original attraction elephants were to represent the pink elephants that Dumbo and Timothy saw in their drunken dream in the original film. This is because there is only ONE Dumbo in the film, but there are many pink elephants!
So, why the change? Here’s the explanation from “The Nickel Tour”: “Somewhere along the way, no doubt, Walt decided he’d rather have everyone riding the real Dumbo, not an alcohol-induced hallucination. So the pink elephants became gray and the one and only Dumbo became ten.”
The official Disneyland website includes this bit of historic trivia about Dumbo the Flying Elephant: “When former President Harry Truman visited Disneyland® Park in 1957, Dumbo was one of the few attractions he didn’t ride. Truman didn’t want to be associated with a character related to the Republican party.”
In 1983 with the opening of the New Fantasyland, the Dumbo attraction moved to where Skull Rock Lagoon had been.
Quoted from yesterland.com: "The biggest change to Dumbo came in 1990, after two accidents. On March 29, 1989, one of the fiberglass elephants partially separated from a support arm, injuring a Garden Grove couple and their 3-year-old daughter. The family suffered “bruises and scrapes.” Dumbo reopened the next day.”
“A year later, on April 1, 1990, one of the support arms collapsed, injuring a 13-year-old girl from Canada. The teenager suffered “minor bruises.” After being checked at Garden Grove Hospital, she returned to the park for the rest of the day. This time, the old Dumbo was grounded permanently.” “In both cases, the injuries were minor. But the accidents should not have happened at all. Disneyland needed a safe, reliable Dumbo attraction."
To see a video of the many changes Dumbo has been through:
The NEW Dumbo attraction opened in it's current location in November 1990. It now features 16 elephants, giving it 60% more capacity.
Do YOU enjoy taking a trip around Fantasyland in an Elephant? What’s the longest you’ve waited to enjoy this attraction? I’ll admit, Dumbo has always been one of my minis favorites. I’ve waited 80 minutes. ::gasps::
Thanks for reading and watching! Happy 59th anniversary Dumbo! Hope you all have a super Saturday!
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Jungle Cruise closed Jan 7-9
Matterhorn Bobsleds closed through May 15
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh closed Jan 12-April 2
Haunted Mansion closed Jan 12-22
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes closed Jan 12-April 2
Splash Mountain closed Jan 12-April 2
it's a small world closed Jan 26-Feb 5
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE:
Pacific Wharf Cafe closed through Feb 5
Boudin Bakery Tour closed through Jan 26
Soarin' Over California closed through May 14
Taste Pilot's Grill closed through March 12
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail closed Jan 20-March 12
Grizzly River Run closed Jan 20-Mar 19
The Season Two cover is revealed through an epic trailer--a tribute to Walt Disney. Check it out below and go here to get more info on MouseWait's hit series Deadliest Cast Member. Follow us on Facebook here.
Attraction Closures: All of Critter Country (re-opening April 2015), Haunted Mansion (opens Friday 1/23), Matterhorn (May 2015), Sleeping Beauty Castle (March 2015), Snow White Grotto (May 2015), Pacific Wharf Cafe (re-opens 2/6), Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (re-opens in March), Soarin over California (re-opens May 2015), Taste Pilots' Grill (re-opens in 3/13).
This week's "Wednesday with Walt" AP presentation is a look into "The Story of the Silly Symphony". Make sure to pick up a wristband with a valid AP at the Main Street Opera House starting at 12noon on Wednesday to attend one of the presentations that evening.
unForecast Prediction: Expect it to be quiet this week (CIs in the 50s-low 70s). For the weekend, expect the parks to be moderately busy with CIs in the low 70s-80s, as this is "non-peak" season.