Magic Kingdom

Fantasyland

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

(October 1, 1971 - present)

 

History and photos of the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride in the Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - 1971 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - 1971 - 02

Based on the 1941 Disney animated film Dumbo, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is an original Magic Kingdom ride that opened with the theme park on October 1, 1971.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1971 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1971 - 02

The history of this ride dates back to the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, and its opening in 1955.  Dumbo the Flying Elephant was slated to be an opening day attraction, but there was a slight delay with the ride vehicles, and the ride didn't open until August 16, 1955, a month after the theme park opened.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1984 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1984 - 02

This carnival-style ride was originally inspired by the drunken sequence in Dumbo when an intoxicated Dumbo and Timothy Mouse see a series of pink elephants on parade.  In fact, the working name of the ride used to be "10 Pink Elephants on Parade."  The ride would have ten elephant ride vehicles, and they would all be painted pink, just like in that sequence in the animated film.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1992 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1992 - 02

Obviously the name was changed before the ride opened, and none of the elephants were painted pink.  It's said that Walt Disney himself objected to the name and its symbolism to alcoholism, something that definitely should not be mixed with children.  Were the Imagineers really going to use the ride's original name, or was it more of a joke inside the company?

Anyway, Dumbo the Flying Elephant was a huge hit with the younger park guests, so it was only natural that the ride was copied and made part of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  Just like in California, the Florida version of the ride also proved to be a huge hit with the children.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1997 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 1997 - 02

Dumbo the Flying Elephant originally had ten elephant ride vehicles that rotated around a central point.  Riders could use a joystick to control the elephant's height as they fly through the air.  About two years after the ride opened, the Timothy Q. Mouse figure was finally added to the ride's central point.  He had a whip in his hand and stood on top of a rotating disco ball.

That's how park guests experienced Dumbo the Flying Elephant for the first twenty years after the Magic Kingdom opened.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 2001 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 2001 - 02

In 1993, Dumbo the Flying Elephant received a major makeover.

The new ride apparatus that was built for Disneyland Paris was redirected and sent to Florida for Dumbo's scheduled refurbishment.  This new ride mechanism was much larger, fancier, and it increased the number of elephant ride vehicles from ten to sixteen, significantly increasing the ride's capacity.  Timothy Q. Mouse also received an upgrade.  Instead of a whip he was given a magic feather, and he now stood on a rotating hot air balloon instead of a disco ball.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 2006 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 2006 - 02

In 1997, the ride was upgraded again to *finally* provide a covered line queue for the guests waiting in line.  The shaded area was a much needed relief from the brutal Florida sunshine as well as the passing rain showers.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 2013 - 01 Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - 2013 - 02

In 2012, Dumbo the Flying Elephant was relocated to the new Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland.  This time around, instead of there being a single ride mechanism, now there would be two of them.  The new version of the ride was nicknamed "Dueling Dumbos."

This new version of Dumbo was added to Disney's FASTPASS system.  In addition to that, the ride's line queue also features an indoor, interactive playground for guests to have fun while waiting their turn to ride.  You would be given a "ticket" (an electronic pager) and be allowed to go play until the pager buzzed and it would be time to enjoy the ride.  The indoor playground is themed to the fire rescue stunt scene from the animated film.

FASTPASS Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a FASTPASS attraction.

 

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Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Storybook Circus - Dumbo the Flying Elephant:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - FASTPASS machines:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - warning sign:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - line queue:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - ticket:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - indoor playground / waiting area:

older version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Dumbo the Flying Elephant - older version:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - older version - warning sign:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - older version - evening: