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Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Dumbo, the film, has given birth to possibly the most famous Disney theme park ride of them all - Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.  It is a ride which is seen at all the Disney parks (and in many other theme parks, just without the 'Dumbo' theming - but often still with flying elephants).

The iterations at Disneyland Paris and California are practically identical.  They have a beautiful clockwork theming with decorations which include images of Mr Stork.  Timothy Mouse sits atop the ride.  Water cascades below the ride and each Dumbo, with ears outstretched, has a different coloured seat.  These seats take 2 people although you could probably squeeze an adult and 2 small children in.  Most rides see one parent with one child in each Dumbo.  The theming around the rides are, unsurprisingly, circus-like with the queue lines under circus tent-style roofs.

The version of the Dumbo ride at Disneyland Tokyo is a far more simplistic take with none of the clockwork theming and Timothy Mouse standing atop a rather tacky-looking glitter ball (although he does slowly move up and down as the ride turns).

My most recent experience of the ride was when we visited Disneyland Paris.  It is a popular ride, understandably, with small children and consequently the queues grow quickly.  With it being a stop & start ride, it also means the queue moves quite slowly.  Luckily, it is one of the rides open during the Extra Magic Hours afforded to Disney hotel guests and we took advantage of this on our second day in Fantasyland after having queued for a good 30-40 minutes on our first day in the park (although, we probably still waited for at least 20 minutes).

The Disneyland California version also appears in the Disneyland Adventures Kinect Game and rather than just being decorative, although it isn't actually a 'game', you can 'ride' the Dumbo with the game giving you a first person point of view of going around on the attraction and what you would be able to see if you were really in California (including the carousel, the teacups and Pinocchio's Village Haus).  It's fun but you probably won't do it more than once when playing the game (unless you're my daughter).

The Disney World version of the Dumbo attraction has, recently, undergone something of a drastic makeover.  It is located in the Storybook Circus area of the park.  The ride now includes an interactive queue themed around Dumbo's circus.  It is a large 'soft-play' area with a mini-circus ring in the centre.  There is a model of the fire truck and the burning building from Dumbo's performance with the clowns.  As I understand it, guests are given a pager which alerts them as to when it is time for them to ride the attraction - of which I believe there are now two actual carousels.

The theming of the ride itself dispenses with the clockwork of Paris and California going for a more regal, sumptuous feel of reds and golds.  Water still cascades around the base, though, and the storks and Timothy still adorn the stop of the ride; although the storks are now 3D models rather than 2D reliefs as they are on the other iterations.  The ride is also accompanied by a colourful array of lights when night descends on the park.

The history of the Dumbo attraction is very interesting because originally, way back in the planning stages of Disneyland in California, the ride was going to be themed around the Pink Elephants on Parade sequence from the film.  Walt Disney disliked the idea of a family ride based on a sequence related to characters getting drunk and vetoed the plan; the elephants becoming copies of Dumbo instead.

Dumbo, the Flying Elephant has been an opening day attraction at all of the Disney theme parks and is planned to be included in the Gardens of Imagination area of the Shanghai park.

It will be interesting to experience this new version of the ride when we finally visit Florida again, particularly the interactive 'queue' - a method of queuing which could do wonders for families; dispensing with the need for children to stand, fidgety and bored in lines and increasing the amount of 'play' and fun guests can get from their visit. 

Dumbo, the Flying Elephant is a classic Disney attraction and always fun to ride.


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