Then and Now: Casey Jr. Circus Train at Disneyland Resort

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Two weeks after Disneyland Resort opened in 1955, the Casey Jr. Circus Train left the station for the first time.

Sunday, July 31, marks the 56th anniversary of this “Dumbo”-inspired attraction. Guests ride along in animal cage cars or ornate sleighs through Storybook Land to the tune of the classic theme song written by Frank Churchill and Ned Washington, who also wrote music for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio.”

Let’s celebrate this classic attraction with a look back at how it appeared when it opened in 1955, and the way you’ll find it today:

Casey Jr. Circus Train, 1955 Present- Day Casey Jr. Circus Train at Disneyland Resort

All together now: “I think I can! I think I can!”


  • It would be great to have Casey Jr. in the circus area of the Fantasyland expansion at WDW

  • On Casey Jr., I forgot to mention above about Willie the Giant’s large hands that would also be created as if they were pulling the giant quilt up around his neck and head.

  • It was originally planned by the head WED team designer to move the Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship during the New Fanstasyland design in 1981/83. A space was worked out for it, but management had anouther idea for it. So the same desingner moved it to Euro Disneyland or Paris Disneyland as it’s called now. Would be great to have it return to Disneyland. I don’t think they have replaced it’s well missed Tuna burgers to date.

  • When Casey Jr. was originally designed, the castle overlooked a giant quilt of patchwork flowers. John Hench told me that the quilt belongeed to Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstock), who was supposed to be sleeping with his head resting on the rock base of the castle, and the quilt covered his giant body. The center rise was for his stomach. Like Monstro the whale, Willie’s mouth would be open as if snoring, and the Casey Jr. train would pass on through it. I worked with John in the WED days making a model of this and sculpted Willie’s head as he originally planned. Bigger projects came along like Epcot, and this was put on hold. It would be great if it could be installed to complete the original Hench concept. The quilt is still there.

  • This is one of our favorite rides!

  • This is my son’s FAVORITE ride (and Dumbo is one of his favorite movies). I wish there was a toy train version of Casey Jr. that I could purchase for him – similar to a Thomas type of train. He would LOVE a replica to play with. No other circus train is as cute~! We actually have the song memorized and sing it regularly in our home. Do you know if there is anywhere I could buy any sort of replica/toy version of the Casey Jr. train?

  • All aboard, let’s go!

  • Yes, I miss the Chicken of the Sea Restaurant/Captain Hook Ship (replaced during the Fantasyland remodel in the 80’s) . Would love to see a vintage blog entry on the ship and the skull rock with eyes that glowed at night,the caves and waterfall. Wonder if there is video footage on it? However I loved the Fantasyland remodel and am glad they were able to keep the train ride. Thank you! I really enjoy your blog entries!

  • I enjoy this attraction so much since it was one of the original rides in the Park during it’s first year. What makes “Casey Jr. Circus Train” more special that the others, besides “Peter Pan’s Flight” of course, is that it was opened on my birthday… Just 33 years before I was born.

  • John–
    That pirate ship was a restaurant.

  • What attraction was that pirate ship for in the 1955 photo?

  • Remember that the train was in the park on opening day but because of tec. problems it did not open for a month and a half later.

    I thought I could.

  • This is a cute little attraction, I’m glad that its still around. 🙂

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