This week we take a look at an attraction that was based on one Walts favorite movie. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is located in many of the Disney Parks but was supposed to be an opening day attraction at Disneyland. We will dive into why it didn’t happen as well as the changes to Dumbo throughout the years. So let’s flap our ears and fly into the history of Dumbo – The Flying Elephant.
When Disneyland was in development, Walt and the Imagineers knew that there was going to be an attraction in Fantasyland featuring one of Walt’s favorite movies Dumbo. The original attraction idea would not feature Dumbo at all. It was to feature ten pink elephants based on the elephants on parade scent from the movie. Walt had squashed the idea and said that the elephants would be painted grey. dumbo was scheduled to open on July 17th, 1955 with the rest of the park but it had some issues it had to overcome. The individual Dumbo units weighed in at 700 pounds each and were to be lifted by the ride mechanics. After the problems were addressed Dumbo opened on August 16th, 1955.
The original Dumbo cars were supposed to have moving ears as you were on your journey. These never worked and were never fixed on the attraction. The attraction received new cars in the mid-’60s and they did not have any moving parts. In 1983 when Disneyland had its major overhaul of Fantasyland, Disney moved the Dumbo attraction to where the former Skull Rock attraction was located. The ride was given an extreme upgrade of its mechanism and added the water feature as well, but still only had 10 cars. Due to a few small accidents in the late 80s where fortunately no one was hurt, The attraction closed until Imagineers could figure out how to fix the problem.
Michael Eisner the CEO of Disney had an idea for the Dumbo issue. He would take the new stronger, bigger capacity Dumbo attraction that was slated for Disneyland Paris and have it sent to Anaheim. This was ok because the Paris park was still years from being complete. The new version of Dumbo went from 10 cars to 16 giving them 60 more capacity. The upgrade of the Magic Kingdoms Fantasyland features two dueling Dumbo attractions and a new interactive queue. In 2018 the Disneyland Dumbo attraction had a major upgrade to the queue. With this upgrade, almost the entire line is finally covered by shade and has a really cool circus atmosphere. With the shaky start, Dumbo has and always will be an Icon in Disney parks all over the world. What is your favorite memory of Dumbo -The Flying Elephant?