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Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 20th, 2010 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort


Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park

Recently, I spent time with a historic and iconic attraction in Fantasyland. The sun had not yet cleared the horizon, and the Magic Kingdom was quiet but for the routine pre-open chores being tended to by fellow cast members. I would like to share some of my images with you, along with some tidbits of history you might enjoy.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park

The Distant Past

It is said that the word carousel dates back to the 12th century, and was actually a cavalry training exercise. In Italian, the word was garosello, and in Spanish, carosella. The French later adapted their version of “carrousel,” which involved elaborate displays of horse and rider routines performed as entertainment for royalty.

During the 18th century, the French developed a rotating device that featured carved horses and chariots that would go up and down, and those early carrousels were powered by mules, men and later, steam.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park

The Near Past

As merry-go-rounds became prevalent across the U.S., the Philadelphia Toboggan Company achieved great success, building approximately ninety of them before the Great Depression. They had the finest German and Italian wood carvers of their day. Each one was numbered, which brings us to Number 46 – The Liberty Carousel, built in 1917-1918. Originally delivered to Belle Isle Park in Detroit, it later appeared in New Jersey’s Olympic Park in Maplewood, N.J.

The Liberty was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 1967, refurbished and painted to its present style and condition, and became the focal point for Fantasyland.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park

The Facts

The Liberty, later named Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel, now the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, is the largest carrousel in North America, with a diameter of nearly sixty feet.

Most of the beautiful “jumpers,” as they are called, are hand-carved from maple wood. There are a few fiberglass horses that were cast from originals, but you can’t tell the difference unless you perform the “thump” test …

All of the exquisite equines are painted white because white horses have been depicted as “heroes” during the ages, and everyone wants to be a hero.

Its theme of pride and patriotism is reflected throughout the Carrousel, as well as that of medieval bravery.

There are ninety steeds galloping, and one lone chariot. The chariot, original to Liberty, was lost during refurbishment, and rediscovered in 1997, when it was installed.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park

Little Known Fact

In 1971, during the installation of the carrousel, Roy O. Disney observed that its placement was off-center from the Cinderella Castle breezeway by eight inches. It was moved to its present position, centered.

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

14 Comments

1

Steve from SC on October 20th, 2010 at 10:44 am

Very interesting little article! Love the photos! Thanks!

2

Cyndi on October 20th, 2010 at 11:21 am

Nice article and love the pictures – still hate the name change.

3

Diana from NY on October 20th, 2010 at 11:43 am

Beautiful photos! I agree with Cyndi…the name change is very awkward. If it’s an attempt to make Fantasyland more “boy-friendly,” I don’t really think that’s gonna work…

4

Helena on October 20th, 2010 at 11:44 am

I love the photos and the history. Do you know if Cinderella’s horse is still there? Her horse is the one with a gold ribbon on the tail. When my daughter was younger, we would look for her horse and only ride that one!

5

Catherine on October 20th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I absolutley love the photos after all I am a BIG #1 Disneyworld fan.

6

ANNA from ON on October 20th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

When did the name get changed?! I agree with Cyndi and Diana … I like the old name better. Changing the name of the Carousel isn’t going to make a huge difference when there’s going to be a whole area designed around Princesses! (Although I’m thrilled about the new Princess area and we’re planning a visit for 2013 when it’s done!)

7

Kelly on October 20th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

@Helena–yes, Cinderella’s horse is alive and well. :) I love knowing that tidbit, I have a feeling not many people notice there’s only one horse with the gold-ribboned tail.

Some great photos here, too–good work, Gene! I’ve realized that I have enough photos of my daughters on the carousel to make an interesting time-progression series of them getting older. :) Gotta keep it up!

8

Anonymous on October 20th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Amamzing

9

Allison on October 20th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Has anyone else caught the mistake in the Cinderella pictures on the carrousel? It’s pretty funny, actually–in the movie pictures around the top of the inside (on the part that moves), there’s a shot of the stepsisters and the stepmother. The stepsisters are painted wearing the wrong color gowns! Anastasia, the one with the pink dress, is wearing green, and Drizella, who’s supposed to wear green, has on pink! I don’t know if it was done on purpose, but it makes me laugh. :)

10

Alan on October 20th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

We always try to ride Cinderalla’s horse also, did last week. Like the name change!

11

Judy on October 20th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I’m coming with 4 Granddaughters Nov 11 – Nov 17. I would be hard pressed to convince them it is not Cinderella’s Carousel. It has always been such a beautiful name for it I hate to see it changed. Thank you for the in fo about the golden ribbonned horse belonging to Cinderella, that will add a fun tidbit to our ride. However, I think I will tell them after so there is no clamor to be the one to ride it!
Thank you for the article the information was great and the photos so beautiful. It makes even Nana more excited for her first Disney trip!
Any more tidbits or ideas?

12

Stephen on October 20th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

So since we started talking about Cinderella’s horse and they changed the name of the carrousel, I feel it only appropriate to mention… Prince Charming’s dashing steed can be found, if you first find Cenderella’s. His is trotting with ever so much chicalry to the outside of her’s keeping her safe from harm.

13

Anonymous on October 20th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I rode on this carousel when I was a little girl in NJ — it was first ride I went on the first time I visited WDW

14

Linda from PA on October 21st, 2010 at 11:34 am

I have always loved carousels and every time we visit WDW, I must ride this one. Thanks for the history of this beautiful piece!

14 Comments