Saturday, August 16, 2014

#Disneyland60.....Today in Disneyland History......August 16, 1955 and August 16, 1958

Dumbo the Flying Elephant Takes Flight
August 16, 1955
1st Fire Truck Added to Main Street USA’s Fleet
August 16, 1958

“The very things that held you down are gonna carry you up and up and up.”  Timothy Mouse

On August 16, 1955, everyone’s favorite elephant Dumbo, first took flight in Disneyland.  Based on the character from the 1941 animated feature, passengers are given a feather that allows them to board one of the sixteen ride vehicles each painted to resemble Dumbo.  The ride was scheduled to be one of Disneyland's opening day attractions, but instead opened a month after the park's grand opening, due to the fiberglass prototypes weighed 700 pounds. For the first two years, the hub of the original Dumbo ride lacked the disco ball with the Timothy Mouse figure. Also, the original Dumbos has hinged ears that were supposed to flap, but failed, due to a number of mechanical problems.  The ears remained stationary until the mid-1960s, when new Dumbos were given casts with no hinges for movement.
During his 1957 visit to Disneyland, former United States President Harry S. Truman politely declined a ride on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, due to the elephant being a Republican symbol. Dumbo was not always located in the heart of Fantasyland as it is today. In 1983, as part of Fantasyland's major remodeling, the ride was moved to where Skull Rock used to be, allowing Dumbo's original location to be a shortcut to Frontierland. It was completely rebuilt with a kinetic toymaker-like design, although there were still ten elephants and Timothy still held the whip. In a featurette of the ride, as shown on the DVD release of the film's 70th anniversary, head Disney Imagineer, Tony Baxter noted that the new ride looked like one of Gepetto’s inventions.
In 1990, the attraction was updated with the sixteen rainbow-colored vehicles and Timothy's magic feather.  Today Dumbo remains one of the most beloved and iconic Disneyland attractions that is sure to lift your spirit and remind you that, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible!

On August 16, 1958 the first Fire Truck made its way down Main Street USA as part of the Main Street Vehicles. A replica of a 1916 fire engine, the fire truck was a reminder of simpler times at the turn of the century. It’s also serves to remind us all of Walt Disney and how much he loved to drive it around Disneyland in the mornings before the park opened. Today you can hop on for a nostalgic ride to Sleeping Beauty Castle or Town Square. Along with fire engine Disneyland guests can choose from a classic horse-drawn streetcar, omnibus, jitney and sit back they are transported from one end of Main Street, U.S.A. to the other. Along the way, make sure you take in the 2 and 3-story-high, Victorian-themed shops and restaurants that adorn Main Street USA that remind us all of a time and place long since passed. Pick up points for these one-way trips are located at the transportation stops in Town Square and at Central Plaza in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle  (excluding parade times). Whether you’re hopping on board Dumbo, or one the Main Street Fire Truck, both will remind of what happened today in Disneyland’s history.


  1. Gayle, your knowledge of Disneyland is amazing. I love to read all your articles of this day in Disneyland history, i have never been, but feel like you bring me there every time I read your articles. Thanks for sharing the Magic!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! I have been so blessed to have literally grown up with The Happiest Place on Earth and then be able to continue the legacy with my own children, and now grandchildren. Every time I see the "Disneyland Next Exit" sign I still light up like it's my very first visit all over again. Whenever you're ready, I will be your guide!