Friday, November 15, 2013

King Arthur Carrousel: Part 1 - 2013 Construction/Refurbishment

"Carrousel of Fun - Disneyland's colorful "King Arthur 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 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!

****POST UPDATE! Here is part two of my King Arthur Carrousel/New Fantasyland Construction posts: King Arthur Carrousel & New Fantasyland - Part 2


K. Martinez said...

Wow!!! What a beautiful publicity still of King Arthur's Carrousel.

I still ride the carrousel every trip that I take to Disneyland. Thanks for posting.


I love that they post the historical vignettes for the guests for some of the rehabs. I remember in the early 2000s we were walking into the Tomorrowland office located in the Circle-Vision/Rocket Rods building (empty and closed to guests) and One of my old supervisors was excited to show me something so she took me into the Circle-Vision theater, and on rollers were all the King Arthur Carrousel horses! and filling ALL the floor space inside the Rocket-rods/Circle-Vision pre-show space, were piles and piles of wood to the ORIGINAL Denzel portions of the Carrousel. It had been damaged and Engineering had to build a whole new superstructure as the original was too worn and damaged from its years of Disneyland and prior use. I gather from that, there is nothing really left of the original Denzel Carrousel as far as wood pieces go.

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

King Arthur's Carrousel looks like fun place for children. I am sure when it is back in business, it will be a huge hit for children and adults alike.

TokyoMagic! said...

K. Martinez, I still enjoy riding the Carrousel at Disneyland AND the Merry Go Round at Knott's Berry Farm!

Mike, I had heard about the horses being stored inside the Circle Vision Theater.....that must have been a sight to see in person! I do have a photo from the Los Angeles Times showing the horses in storage during the relocation of the Carrousel in 1982. That's coming up in Part 2!

Lady LBC, I forgot to mention that the Carrousel has already reopened! I rode it just three days ago and it looked BEAUTIFUL!

Major Pepperidge said...

Whoa, somehow I missed this new post on MTW! Mike Cozart's comment is interesting, because I have wondered how that antique attraction could hold up so well for so many years.

Do you happen to know if all the horses were changed to white for the 1983 Fantasyland upgrade, or did that happen before that?

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, the horses were all painted white in 1975. That is also when they removed every other mirror in the center section of the carrousel and replaced them with panels depicting scenes from Sleeping Beauty.

Snow White Archive said...

Good info and pics Tokyo. Do you happen to know what they're doing with the current refurbishment? Updating the theming at all, or just a new coat of paint?

TokyoMagic! said...

SWS, I'm not sure exactly what was being done during the recent refurbishment. They are finished now and I had the chance to ride it recently. They may have replaced the turntable or at least refinished looked different. I'm sure everything else got at the very least, a new paint job. Sorry that I don't have more specific info on the rehab!

Connie Moreno said...

DANG! I never took the time to look at the construction walls last year! Thanks for taking the pictures. And now I'm wondering WHY I never wrote to Disneyland as a kid???