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Friday, April 29, 2011

Dueling Dumbos: Walt Disney World vs Disneyland

It's very common for visitors at Walt Disney World and Disneyland to take a spin on the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction, but few people get to meet the pachyderm in person. Dumbo has made appearances in many parades, but is not known to be found strolling through Fantasyland.

Have you ever wondered what rental car company Dumbo uses? Well, wonder no more! In 1990, Dumbo appeared in ads for National Car Rental (then "the official car rental company of Walt Disney World and Disneyland"). Dopey, Goofy and Dumbo play car salesmen at Walt Disney World in Florida in front of Cinderella Castle.

A similar ad for Disneyland in California features the same characters in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. For some reason, it lacks the name joke, and seems a bit less clever.

I'm not sure why California's Dumbo looks completely different from the one in Florida. I think Walt Disney World's version is an older design, and maybe the folks in charge in Orlando did not think it was necessary to update the character's look. Interestingly, Disneyland's Dopey has a slightly different face from Walt Disney World's, too.

Since there is already an East Coast/West Coast rivalry between the two Dumbos, it's time to put the flying elephant in more grudge matches. Let's get ready to rumble!!!!

In one corner, we have the cast of Dumbo's Circus, a TV series that debuted on The Disney Channel in 1985. The animated character costumes were created by Alchemy II, the same company that developed the technology for the Teddy Ruxpin animated toy. In Dumbo's Circus, Dumbo spoke (voiced by Katie Leigh, known for voicing Rowlf on Muppet Babies and Sunni Gummi on Disney's Gummi Bears). Timothy Q. Mouse was not on the show, but Dumbo's Circus did feature a small lion with a New York accent named Lionel (the first Disney character voiced by versatile actor Jim Cummings). They are joined by Fair Dinkum (a koala), Barnaby (a dog), Lilly (a cat), Q.T. (an orangutan) and a purple cat named Sebastian. One of the puppeteers on the show was Paul Fusco, the creator and performer of ALF the alien.

In the other corner, we have Welcome to Pooh Corner. This show first aired on The Disney Channel in 1983. Like Dumbo's Circus, this show used animated puppet costumes and was aimed at young children.

For this series, Winnie the Pooh was voiced by Hal Smith (he played the always tanked up Otis on The Andy Griffith Show).

Next up, it's a comic book version of Dumbo. Because of the Dumbo ride, the character is synonymous with the Disney theme parks. Dumbo is on the cover, but does not actually appear in the book. I've had this "Special Magic Kingdom Issue" of Walt Disney Comics Digest for many, many years.

This issue has a story teaming Scamp, Chip and Dale, and Pinocchio!

Up against hand-drawn Dumbo is a computer generated Dumbo.

This version of Dumbo could be seen in commercials for Walt Disney World and Disneyland years ago. I like the clever ads that have CGI Dumbo ride vehicles whisking people away on a flight to the Disney Parks.

Next, we have the battle of the Dumbo Cookie Jars. Dumbo will be happy to guard your Barnum's Animal Crackers.

Dumbo will have to watch himself around this two-faced Dumbo Cookie Jar.

Like so many cool Disney items, this collectible was brought to life by artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily.

I wouldn't store peanut butter cookies in any of these jars, because you probably won't get them back.

It wouldn't be Christmas without an elephant on your tree. Dumbo survived Y2K to appear as plush ornaments in 2001 and 2002.

Wait a minute---the 2001 plush Dumbo ornament is holding a plush ornament. Crazy, man!

On a recently aired episode of Food Network Challenge: Beauty and the Beast Cakes, some contestants struggled with sculpting a good likeness of Mrs. Potts the teapot. The judges were concerned that one cake designer's Mrs. Potts looked too much like Dumbo. Of course, Dumbo himself is easily transformed into an actual teapot.

This teapot is from the 1990s. Teapot technology improved greatly in just a matter of years.

For the early 2000s, a new Dumbo teapot emerged to challenge the simpler version.

Anyone who was ever teased for being different can relate to Dumbo. Luckily, Dumbo had some good friends in his corner.

Dumbo's best friend is Timothy Mouse, an unlikely pal for an elephant (cartoon elephants fear mice, after all!).
Bronze Figurine Dumbo and Timothy have a big opponent to face!

"Dumbo's Only Friend" Harmony Kingdom Box packs a mean punch to the gut!

People may forget what a cruel world Dumbo lived in, but I bet the elephant never forgets.

Turn your kitchen into a circus with items that most likely were not designed to be functional.

The Dumbo Salt and Pepper Shakers just got served.

The Dumbo Charger is loud, large and in charge!

Many people will remember this charming Dumbo plush, available in theme parks and Disney Stores during the Nineties.

This Dumbo has some stuffed, stiff Steiff competition!

Unlike Woody and Buzz Lightyear, this toy wants to spend its life behind glass.

Up next, a snow (globe) storm is brewing!

Dumbo at play takes on Dumbo at work.

Where's the Unicorn? I bet I'm not the only person that remembers seeing commercials for the live unicorn appearing at the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in the early 1980s. They also had a performing Hippo one year (a baboon perched on the Hippo's back really did all the work).

What can possibly go up against a pin set featuring Dumbo, his friends, a Pink Elephant, and Casey Junior the Circus Train, all housed in a Circus Box?

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's SuperDumbo!

A Halloween pin set features Dumbo's rarely-seen Super Hero alter-ego, Elephantastic!

It's now time for a detailed Dumbo timepiece that recreates some key scenes from the movie.

Who will clean Dumbo's clock?

Watch out for E-Ticket Watches, featuring a Dumbo ride vehicle sculpture. Joining Dumbo is Splash Mountain, It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cinderella's Castle and The Haunted Mansion.

At Walt Disney World in Florida, Dumbo is getting ready to rumble in The Magic Kingdom. Soon there will be two Dumbo ride systems to handle the crowds of folks eager to pilot their own Dumbo in the skies of Fantasyland.


  1. I remember the Dumbo teapot and Timothy Mouse sugar bowl being sold at Disneyland in the nineties. I always wanted the sugar bowl, but I always put off buying it...until they no longer carried it. Oh well!

  2. Terrific Dumbo post Dan! Who'da thought he'd end up pitching rental cars? I think I had a Dumbo plush at one time, but he long since flew away from my collection.

  3. TokyoMagic!: I wonder if most of the special Disney kitchenware is kept as collectible items, or if they are put to use. I bet you can find the sugar bowl on eBay (eventually, with some searching).

    Thanks, A Snow White Sanctum! I need you to solve the mystery of why California's Dopey looks different from Florida's. That Dumbo plush you had is worth a fortune now. Why did you let it get away?!? ;-)

  4. Wow.. great post Danno. My kid SO loved Dumbo's Circus AND Pooh's Corner. As did I. Man I dig that teapot! It could just as easily be used as a decoration!

  5. Hey Darrin! Yes, I also watched Dumbo's Circus and Pooh Corner. If they are no longer on TV, I really wonder why they are not regularly re-run. I think Lionel and the Dumbo's Circus characters would fit nicely into Walt Disney World's new Storybook Circus.

    The Disney merchandise people are some talented folks---they can make a teapot into a showpiece!