King Arthur Carrousel

You know, Facebook has made class reunions totally irrelevant, since you can now find all of the people you hated in jr. high and high school and then feel smug and superior at their sad lives all year, every year, instead of once every 10 years. Oh, and also, you can catch up with people you actually LIKED and see how they’re doing a couple decades later. Such is the case with my childhood friend Mari, who I last saw our freshman year in high school (she moved) and met up with again today at Disneyland!

My Year With The Mouse–bringing old friends together since 2011!

Anyway, it was a blast to meet up with new assistant MYWTMouseketeers: Mari, Mark, Emiko (age 6), Aiko (age 3), and Kaito (almost 1).

Doesn't this look like a fun group of MYWTMouseketeers? They are!

Today we decided to ride Theo’s favorite attraction: King Arthur Carrousel.

The first thing you should know about King Arthur Carrousel is that there are two R’s in the spelling. According to my vast internet research (about 3 minutes on Google), carrousel is an acceptable spelling variant of the more common carousel (as is carousal, carousell, and apparently some others–it’s an old word so you can probably make up your own spelling and it will still count). Now why did Walt pick the double R spelling? Hard to say. doesn’t give an explanation. Some guy on the message board says that he thinks Walt called it a carrousel to distinguish it from the ones at carnivals he didn’t want Disneyland patterned after.

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but that sounds about as good an explanation as any, I suppose. I didn’t click to page 2 of the Google results so there may be a better one further in the list. If you have a definitive answer with a reputable source, I’d love to hear it!

Theo is a little dubious about that double-R explanation

The second thing you should know about King Arthur Carrousel is that it was built in 1922 (coincidentally, the same year our house was built!) and contains 68 white horses. Okay, that’s two things. Apparently the original carrousel (purchased from a park in Toronto) had other animals, but Walt wanted everyone to ride a white horse like King Arthur, so they rounded up (heh) some more white horses and ditched the rest of the animals. Perhaps that was when Walt also changed the spelling from carousel to carrousel. This whole paragraph is true fact (except that last sentence) straight from the site, so you can believe that. The site also says that “many” of the extraneous non-equine  carousel carrousel animals were relocated to the Casey Jr. Circus Train. It doesn’t say what happened to the rest of them, but I like to think that they were all retired to a carousel wildlife refuge in Montana or something.

Or maybe you can just find them on eBay.

Anyway, the King Arthur Carrousel (you’re not supposed to use “the” with it, but it looks weird otherwise) is really a gorgeous ride. All of the horses are “jumpers” which mean that they all go up and down, because there’s nothing worse than getting all excited about getting on a carousel and then the ride starts and then you realize that your stupid horse is one of the ones that doesn’t go up and down. Well in King Arthur’s world, they all do.

Aiko was a little concerned that the horse would turn into a real horse once the ride started. She was relieved to find out otherwise.

Another cool thing about the King Arthur’s Carrousel is that it’s computerized to start and stop in the same spot each time. That’s very handy, and also ensures that every guest gets the same exact ride length, which is very egalitarian and très Disney.

We found Emiko right where we left her--in front of Pinocchio!

Even the tots can ride! Also, it’s extremely important for an adult standing on the ride to stand in between two horses. I learned this because apparently someone on our ride wasn’t doing this and the ride operator said THREE times to stand in between horses. Sometimes I wish they would just come out with, “Hey–you! Lady with the garish yellow shirt and bad 80’s hair! Get between the horses!” instead of just hinting at it several times.

Mark and Kaito demonstrate the two acceptable and safe riding positions: on a horse and in between two horses. Pay attention!!!

The nice thing about the Carrousel is that the line is usually pretty short. I don’t think we’ve ever waited more than one or two iterations for our turn. The stroller parking is also pretty straightforward. Just park and go.

Stroller parking is...pretty much anywhere.

So what’s the difference between a carrousel and a merry-go-round? Well again, Google gave me several opinions, the primary of which seemed to be that carousels have horses and merry-go-rounds have multiple animals or that carousels turn counter-clockwise and merry-go-rounds turn clockwise, but there’s also a significant amount of dissent on that front. The International Museum of Carousel Art, which seems quite trustworthy despite their unfortunate use of Comic Sans, states that the terms are completely interchangeable and there is no distinction. I’ll go with that.

MYWTMouseketeers queued up and ready to go!

Another nice thing about the carrousel is that it’s a great photo opportunity. It stands right across from the castle drawbridge so when you enter Fantasyland you go all “oooh” and “ahhh” at it. Makes for a great group picture.

Okay, everyone look directly into the sun!

The King Arthur Carrousel is not one of the special just-at-Disneyland rides at the park but it’s a solid good time for the younger set, and almost always a quick wait. Theo gives it two thumbs up.


17 responses to “King Arthur Carrousel

  1. Mari January 5, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Fabulous! Educational AND fun – that is my kind of blog! We had such a great time today and am very honored to be part of the journey! I just love how the pictures turned out and the stereotypical (and yes so cute and hilarious) can’t-get-more-than-one-kid-to-look-at-the-camera shot. Those are the priceless ones.

    Thanks again and we can’t wait to do it again 🙂

  2. Razzle January 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Oh so jealous that you guys got together! The mouseketeers looked like they were having a blast and the pictures are great 🙂

  3. Jessica January 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    King Arthur Carrousel sounds just up my alley! Can’t wait to see what you do next!

  4. Kelli January 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for all of the interesting background information on the carrousel. The horses all are named too, but I have not found an official list of them. Katie rides the SAME horse every time, which she calls Pink, although it’s real name is Champion. Rarely, she will select to ride Jingle, Mary Poppin’s horse, which is my favorite one. The carrousel start and stop point are based on the handicap loading bridge, which has made the ride easier access for many guests. So glad you had assistants for your trip yesterday, and hope to join you guys one day soon (or for a Mom’s Night Out!!!)

    • Shelby January 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      Kelli, i came across something online that said you can get a list of the horse’s names at Town Hall. I’ll have to look into that! And I had no idea bout the handicap bridge. This blog is turning out to be really cool for learning other Disneyland trivia!

    • Maryann August 2, 2011 at 3:44 am

      Jingles was Walt Disney’s favorite horse, too. She’s a mare, she’s the lead horse, and that’s why she was dedicated specifically to Julie Andrews, whose initials are on her. She was painted gold and partially gilt in 2005 for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. 🙂

  5. Bonnie January 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Love the new blog, Shelby! My family lived in Downey until I was ten and my cousin worked for Disney so we were always in the park. You are making me seriously nostalgic right now! Hoping to take S in the next couple of years.

  6. Carissa January 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Shelby, interesting trivia! I feel smarter already. Let us know the next time you plan on going and maybe we can join ya! I love the new blog.

  7. Ben Ritter March 30, 2011 at 1:14 am

    A couple things to note:
    The carousel had multi-colored horses for many years, and they weren’t painted white until long after Walt Disney died. See

    Also, although the Disneyland website says that the non-equine animals were relocated to Casey Jr., I think it was actually just the woodwork from the benches that was used to decorate the train cars. (If wooden animals were used at some point, I’m fairly sure they’re not there anymore—I hope I would have noticed a wooden giraffe.)

    And for those of you wanting a list of the horses’ names, I found this:

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  10. Maryann August 2, 2011 at 3:48 am

    A note on carrousel with two Rs: It’s a French word, and that’s the correct French spelling. If you want to be “in the know,” spell it with two Rs! 🙂

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