Welcome back fellow time travelers! To quote a famous doctor of Archeology, “You made it! I knew you would.”
Today we look at some of the the most famous types of theme park attractions. Hydraulic spinners at Disney Parks have been around since the early days of Disneyland. There is at least 1 hydraulic spinner attraction at every Magic Kingdom style park in the world. Vinylmation design group artists have definitely noticed this as they have created multiple figures through 12 Park series to represent these classic attractions. From flying elephants, rockets to the moon, and spitting camels, we will spin ourselves dizzy on this weeks Looking Past the Vinyls.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant:
But I wanted to ride in the blue one!
Dumbo was slated to be an opening day attraction in July of 1955 at Disneyland. Turns out that although 700 pounds is light for a real elephant, it was too heavy for a fiberglass ride vehicle. After some modifications, Dumbo opened on August 16, a month after opening day.
The ride was actually conceived as 10 Elephants on Parade. Because there is only 1 Dumbo (and every other character), Walt didn’t want there to be 10 separate Dumbo ride vehicles. An idea was tossed around to make the ride from the Pink Elephants on Parade segment in Dumbo. After some thought about riding in a drunken segment from a classic movie, Walt decided to break tradition and go with 10 real Dumbos.
There have been many updates to the attraction with Timothy mouse being added around 1959, the newer body design for the 1983 Fantasyland remodel, 1990’s 16 arm design, and most recently the Dueling Dumbos at Magic Kingdom, which provided the Magic kingdom with its first Dumbo attraction with fountains.
The attraction is absolutely stunning at night
Tomorrowland has been spinning guests to the moon and back since the early Astro-Jets that opened in March of 1956.
In the late 1960’s, guests were getting tired of all the corporate sponsors shoving ways of living and homes of the future at them. The WED, (later WDI) team designed a whole new look to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland adding new scenery and attractions. After the success of the 1964 Worlds Fair, they brought over the Carousel of Progress, and the new Omnimover ride system with Adventures Through Inner Space. One of the biggest changes was the creation of Rocket Plaza complete with a Saturn V rocket pointing straight to the sky.
The Rocket Jets at Disneyland started the tradition of roof spinners as one of the focal points for Tomorrowland, then followed by The Magic Kingdoms Tomorrowland expansion in 1974/75 with the Star Jets. This is where we get our Park 7 Figure.
Star Jets and Space Mountain
The Star Jets were basically an exact copy of the Rocket Jets in Disneyland. The only difference were the ride vehicles. Star Jets featured a wider based space shuttle style featuring winged tips and jet engines, while Rocket Jets…well, looked like rockets. But take a close look at our Park 7 figure below. Notice anything strange?
If this figure is supposed to be based off of the Magic Kingdom attraction, then why does it have the wrong jets? Look at the ears. As I mentioned above, Star Jets featured a different ride vehicle than its Disneyland sibling. Oops! Somebody put the wrong ride vehicles on the figure! Bet you never noticed that before.
1994 brought a New Tomorrowland to the Magic Kingdom. It was redesigned as a futuristic space port where guests and other space creatures would take off to their destinations. The idea also came with a new spinner attraction on top of Rocket Plaza named the Astro Orbiter.
Day time spinning
This attraction brought back the rocket style ride vehicles and added planetary orreries to act as if you were flying past Jupiter and Mars. Unlike past spinners in Tomorrowland, the attraction is almost a completely different experience once night falls.
It could get cold up there!
This night time version of the Astro Orbiter is where we get our Park 4 figure.
Although not in Vinyl form yet, the Astro Orbiter at Disneyland has been grounded since the frame for the new style of the attraction was too heavy to be placed on top of Rocket Plaza. It has a steam punk/Jules Verne style to it and now acts as the main focal point for Tomorrowland when entering the land from the hub as the World Clock did in the 50/60s.
Speaking of this new design of the Astro Orbiter, lets head over to Disneyland Paris where we will find our final Tomorrowland spinner, The Orbitron Machines Volantes.
This version of the Astro Orbiter was the first of its kind, opening in 1992 before Disneyland’s version. Inspired by the writings of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, it fits with the Discoveryland (DLP Tomorrowland) theme perfectly.
However, among collectors, I don’t know if you could say the same thing. The Park 10 figure is mostly a low end common on collectors lists, mostly because is it a bland figure and those of us who have never been to Paris to see the attraction probably don’t get the representation on the figure. I do like the artwork on the ears. Maybe some readers who have been to the attraction can comment on the subject below.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin:
The ride featured in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom was the first Aladdin spinner attraction that opened in 2001. Before that, the area was just a big planter with benches in the middle of Adventureland. The ride has copies in Disney Studios in Paris and DisneySea in Tokyo. It is, however, the only attraction to feature our Park 12 spitting camel.
Watch out, They spit!
The spitting camels found at the attraction have been surprising guests with their expectorating long before the attraction opened in the new Agrabah area of Adventureland. They were in fact featured in Aladdin’s Royal Caravan Parade at Disneyland and MGM studios in 1993/94.
Dont worry kids, Its just water!
Remember the days when Disney used to do something big for every animated film they put out. Oh there was this parade, and then that show and such. Now it seems like its a few characters and thats it. Oh the good old days of the 90’s. Anyways, looks like Disney kept these spitters around and put some new hats and ponchos on them because they came back for the attraction.
OK! Are we all standing up straight, or all we still falling over from spinning too much? Thanks for taking a tour with me on the spin cycle. Leave your comments below and well see ya next time on Looking Past the Vinyls!
Side note: Looking Past the Vinyls will now be a bi-weekly column as I will be writing another column for the site as well. My other column starting next week will be a parks update style column with photos from WDW featuring my vinyls. Hope to see you next week when you see how I play with my dolls.