Tag Archives: International Museum of Carousel Art

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. Disneyland.com doesn’t give an explanation. Some guy on the themeparkreview.com 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 Disneyland.com 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.


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