Friday, January 3, 2014

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom

One of the most classic rides at Disney World is the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. This charming, old-fashioned carrousel features beautiful, hand-carved wooden horses from an antique carousel purchased from Olympic Park in Maplewood, New Jersey.

The carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1917. Originally called the Liberty Carousel, it is one of the largest carousels of its type in the world. The 90 horses and one carved chariot have been lovingly restored by Disney Imagineers, one of whom still maintains and hand paints each one.

Gus and Jaques on the old Cinderella's Golden Carrousel sign
When it opened in Fantasyland in 1971, the carousel was called Cinderella's Golden Carrousel. The name was changed in 2010 to reflect the changes in Fantasyland. I must say that I think the new name is a better fit as many of the horses are war horses reminiscent of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. There's also one that seems to have been inspired by Native Americans, with feathers and war paint.

There are five horses in each row. The horses on the outside ring are the largest horses and get progressively smaller as you move toward the center. Many have said that Cinderella's horse can be found on the Carrousel, but this seems to be a Disney urban legend. However, it is fun to find the one with the golden bow on its tail (it's in the second row from the outside) and imagine yourself to be a princess. The horses have been beautifully hand-decorated with painted touches as well as gold and silver leaf. Eighteen hand-painted vignettes from the film Cinderella decorate the inner board. At night, the Carrousel is lit by 2300 lights and is quite beautiful. The Carrousel plays music from many Disney films including Cinderella, Mary Poppins, and the Lion King. I love to take photos from the Carrousel as they capture the motion and excitement of the ride.

My favorite princess riding Cinderella's horse
The Carrousel usually has a fairly short wait, even during the busy season. Its slow pace and gentle movements make it a favorite with little ones and their parents. There is no height restriction for this ride, however children must wear the safety belt. Adults may ride or stand next to the horse during this two minute ride. If you have difficulty moving, this may not be the best ride. You must step up onto the platform and the horses are very tall and can be difficult to mount when in the highest position.

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