"Carrousel of Fun - Disneyland's colorful "King Arthur's Carrousel" is one of the largest of it's kind in the world. Today's bold knights may ride on any of the Fantasyland attraction's 72 beautiful hand-carved steeds for an imaginary journey back to the days of King Arthur."
That was the description that came with a photo I received from Disneyland's publicity department back in 1983.
I don't recall exactly why I had written to them, but as a kid, I wrote to them often. I would always get a reply back and it would often include press information, or the latest issue of Disney News Magazine. A couple times, they even sent me a copy of the current Disneyland Pictorial Souvenir that was being sold in the park. Incidentally, the postmark on this mailing was May 19, 1983. That was just 6 days before the "New Fantasyland" would have it's grand opening.
King Arthur's Carrousel recently underwent a refurbishment that put it underneath tarps and behind construction walls. The following photos were taken just a few weeks ago.
Lately, Disney has been doing a pretty nice job of posting some history on the park's construction walls.
These signs on the walls around the Carrousel provide information about the attraction's origins as well as it's history over the last 58 years.
Here's a close-up of one of the photos on that last sign. The part about the Carrousel being relocated in 1983 isn't really accurate. Yes, it was moved as a part of the "New Fantasyland" remodeling which was completed in 1983, but the Carousel itself was actually relocated in 1982 and it also reopened that same year. This was prior to the completion of the Fantasyland remodel in 1983. Of course due to surrounding construction, it did close again at some point in it's new location and did not reopen again until the "New Fantasyland" opened in May of 1983.
I have some photos that I took back in 1982 that show some of the stages of the Carrousel's relocation, including a shot showing it operating in it's new spot right next door to Captain Hook's Pirate Ship and Skull Rock before they were both demolished. I will post those pictures in Part 2 of this post, so stay tuned!
A grand "reopening" ceremony was held recently at Knott's Berry Farm, for the Timber Mountain Log Ride attraction. It had been closed since the beginning of the year for an extensive five-month refurbishment.
The "Calico Log Ride," as it was originally called, first opened to the public on July 11, 1969. Actor John Wayne and his son, Ethan, were flown to Knott's by helicopter to host the opening ceremony.
Here's a shot of Ethan shaking hands with Walter Knott.
And this photo shows him and his dad watching as Cordelia Knott breaks a bottle of boysenberry juice over the bow of one of the logs.
Mr. Wayne and his son were the first guests to ride the new attraction that day.
Special grand opening entertainment included log rollers in the splash-down pond out in front of the attraction.
For the rededication ceremony last month, the entertainment included members from the park's new show, "Boomtown." As stated on the banner, it's "Where Cirque and the Old West Collide!"
This guy was doing a balancing act using wooden crates and "moonshine" jugs.
The Ghost Town Miners (formerly known as the Miner 49ers) were also on hand to liven things up.
And once again, Charles Phoenix was the master of ceremonies. He had helped open the three new Boardwalk attractions just an hour earlier. To see the photos from that ceremony, click here for part one of this series.
Ethan Wayne was also in attendance for the rededication. Below, Charles shows Ethan the photo of him shaking hands with Walter Knott back in 1969.
Beth Swift, the Mayor of Buena Park, gave a wonderful speech acknowledging Bud Hurlbut as the creative genius behind the Log Ride. She even designated May 30th as "Bud Hurlbut Day."
Taking the first ride of the day were Knott's General Manager Raffi Kaprelyan (in back), Lara Hanneman, Director of Entertainment Production (middle), and Ride Maintenance Supervisor, Kelley Roberts (front).
Just for the day, a special exhibit was set up in Jeffries Barn (Wilderness Dance Hall). The exhibit included concept art, construction photos, and Bud Hurlbut's original Log Ride models. Also on display was this original Log Ride figure.
The figure was being auctioned off and the proceeds were being given to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
Photos of the Log Ride's original interior scenes were on display.
This photo shows John Wayne addressing the crowd on opening day. Record crowds showed up at the park that day.
Here are Bud Hurlbut and Walter Knott going for a ride.
And here's a photo of Mr. Hurlbut showing Walter Knott an early concept model of the new attraction that he was proposing for the park.
That original model was also on display in the barn.
A sign explained about some of the details of that first model, including the three tunnels on the right side of the mountain. The original design was going to have the mountain extending over the Stage Coach path, the Calico Railroad tracks and the path for the old Burro attraction.
Bud Hurlbut reworked the design of the ride and built a second model. That second model is actually closer in design to what was actually built.
Detailed information about the second model:
Some early concept art was also included in the exhibit.
Certificates for "100 Shares" of the Calico Logging Company were being handed out to guests in the barn.
Now, let's take a look at the new ride. Yay, the original Log Ride ticket booth is still standing! Today, it serves as a "snack shack."
If you look in the center of the photo above, a new figure is visible outdoors.
This is the first indoor scene, inside the saw mill. The figures are now all animatronic.
Here is that outdoor figure that we saw before boarding.
The next two photos are from the second indoor scene. I have to say, there are so many figures in the attraction now, that it is difficult to see them all on just one ride-through....not to mention trying to photograph all of them.
I was glad to see that the old logging train still remains in this scene (not pictured).
This guy is hanging around in the caverns at the bottom of the first drop.
Here is an official Knott's press-release photo of the same scene. I will point out now that the official photos from Knott's depict the scenes much more accurately in comparison to my photos in which a flash was used.
Again, my photo:
And the official Knott's photo:
Two more official Knott's photos:
And my photo:
These last six are all official photos from Knott's. These scenes are viewed just before going up the second lift hill:
I really enjoyed the updates that were made to the Calico Log Ride. The company responsible for the refurbishment was Garner Holt Productions. After seeing what they were able to do with the Log Ride, it got me thinking.....what if they were hired to bring back Kingdom of the Dinosaurs to Knott's, or even better, Knott's Bear-y Tales! One can only hope! :-)