The King Arthur Carousel is an attraction at Disneyland’s Fantasyland in Anaheim, California.
Walt Disney envisioned a carousel with all jumpers for his planned theme park, inspired by the Griffith Park carousel. In 1954, a park model Menagerie Carousel was purchased and relocated to Disneyland. William Dentzel designed the carousel, which has been operating in Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto, Ontario, since 1922. It featured three courses of horses and other animals on a 72-foot-diameter platform.
In preparation for opening day, the Arrow Development Company of Mountain View, California restored and considerably redesigned the attraction. It was expanded to four courses to accommodate more guests. The majority of the carousel’s 71 horses and one mule were carved in the Dentzel foundry. Several carved wooden horses from a Stein and Goldstein carousel, some from Coney Island’s Looff carousel, and more carved horses from different other carousels from around North America were obtained to build the outermost course. Many horses arrived with shoddy repairs, such as papier-mâché legs stuffed with newspaper. The initial three rows of standers were transformed to jumpers by removing the legs and carving new ones. Overhead, custom-built crankshafts were placed to operate each horse as a moving jumper. The original, ornately hand-carved wooden chariot benches were removed, and the chariot woodwork was recycled to embellish Casey Jr. Circus Train’s “calliope” tenders and passenger cars. The carousel is decorated with a Wurlitzer #157 Band Organ facade, however it is not operational. The carousel now includes Sleeping Beauty motifs.
The carousel was situated prominently in the midst of the castle courtyard, visible from Main Street via the castle gate, luring visitors into the realm of imagination.
The carousel was refurbished twice: once in 1983 and again in 2003. To create place for other attractions, the carousel was moved slightly backwards and given a brand new roof in 1983. The princess and jester rounding boards were repainted in 18k gold, and the carousel was repainted in orange, red, and blue. King Arthur Carrousel closed for significant renovations in February 2003 to prepare for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration, the Happiest Homecoming on Earth. These renovations included a completely rebuilt turntable platform, a new computerized operating console and system that stops the carousel at the same spot every time, the removal of a row of four horses to accommodate a four-course-wide bench, and wheelchair clamps with an access ramp for ADA compliance, reducing the number of horses to 68. Each outer-course horse’s stirrups were rebuilt in January 2010 to accommodate additional lower loops, boosting accessibility.
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