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King Arthur Carrousel Horses

Enamored with the classic Griffith Park Carousel, Walt Disney wanted something similar for his new theme park. A Dentzel Menagerie Carousel built in 1875 was purchased from the Sunnyside Amusement Park in Toronto, Ontario. It had operated there in Canada since 1922. In 1954 the classic wooden carousel was moved to Anaheim, California for Walt's new Disneyland theme park.

Originally outfitted with three rows, Disney craftsmen created a fourth row to accommodate more riders. Designers were also asked to make each horse a jumper - so stationary horses were altered and repositioned in active poses. Walt Disney also had the benches and other menagerie animals removed, creating a true carousel (only jumping horses). Bruce Bushman, a Disney Studios Artist & Art Director, acquired additional horses from Coney Island (formerly Ward's Carousel) and from a defunct carousel in San Francisco - giving Disneyland at least 85 (possibly 100+) antique carousel horses.

There are currently 68 horses on The King Arthur Carrousel. Prior to 2003, there were 72 horses. During a lengthy remodel, four were removed to accommodate a bench & ramp, which were added in order to meet ADA requirements.

Every carousel horse is hand carved and no two are identical. The majority of Disneyland's carousel horses have distinct names, as Disney designers named horses to fit their individual personalities. Disneyland's official roster of King Arthur Carrousel horses currently lists 85 names. However, there are quite a few names from earlier lists that do not appear on the latest roster. The extra horses are kept backstage, as they are periodically switched out for maintenance or repair.