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Sep 09

Disney “Traveling Around The World”-Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland – Part 2 – Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

 

Welcome back “World” travelers! Our last journey took us inside the magic of Cinderella Castle. The castle serves as the portal to the entrance of this magical land called Fantasyland. As we pass through the castle, the first sight to greet us is Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. This 90-horse carrousel plays organ-based Disney classics during the two-minute ride. The Carrousel is filled with beautiful artwork depicting memorable scenes from the animated classic Cinderella.

This is the story that tells how the carrousel came to be:

Following their fairy-tale romance and happily-ever-after wedding, Cinderella and Prince Charming took up residence in Cinderella’s Castle. With peace throughout the kingdom, Prince Charming had time to practice for jousting tournaments. In the countryside near the castle, he built a training device of carved horses, on which he could practice the art of ring-spearing, a tournament event in which a knight rides his horse full speed, lance in hand, toward a small ring hanging from a tree limb, with the object of spearing the ring. This event was known by various names throughout the lands, but generally came to be called “carrousel.” The carrousel device drew the attention of the villagers, who wanted to take a turn on this amazing spinning contraption. So Prince Charming had a second carrousel constructed closer to the Castle, where everyone could take a spin on this wondrous invention. Instead of a working knight’s training device, however, this new carrousel is more befitting its regal location in the Castle Courtyard – its rustic training horses replaced with ornately decorated prancing steeds adorned with golden helmets and shields, flower garlands, feathers and other festoons. Prince Charming invites one and all to test their horsemanship skills and to enjoy their own happy ending.

The Carrousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1917, for the Detroit Palace Garden Park. It’s original name was Liberty, and was the 46th out of 87 carrousels that the company built. The carrousel was moved around 1928 to Olympic Park in New Jersey, where it was in operation for 39 years. Olympic Park closed in 1967, and Disney then purchased it for restoration and installation in the Magic Kingdom in 1971.

Keeping the horses looking good takes a tremendous amount of effort. The carrousel has a number of “spare” horses that are constantly being worked on backstage. After about 40 hours of refinishing and repainting, the horses are sent back to the carrousel and others removed for their turn in the shop. It takes about two years to completely repaint all of the horses – then the cycle begins again. The brass poles are given six hours of polishing every night to keep them looking bright and shiny.

The horses on the outside of the carrousel are the largest and the most elaborately decorated. The horses decrease in size and adornments with each consecutive ring. By the way, the gold you see on the horses is real – 23 karats.

On the wooden canopy atop the carousel are 18 paintings depicting the story of Cinderella. Each painting is approximately 2’x3’. The Disney music heard in the background is generated by a band organ built in Italy. And there are 2,325 lights illuminating the carousel.

 

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