I’ve been scanning some old photos, and one of them led me to start some posts and artwork dealing with carousels. If an amusement park has a carousel, no matter how big, small, how long the line, etc., I am going to ride it or bust. I love them. Such is the case with the Carousel at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
My absolute favorite horse on this carousel is one with an Indian brave theme. Having both Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, that might be the reason I am always drawn to it. It is the only one like it I have ever seen on the carousel at a time. Sometimes it can get ugly for me to get this horse when I’m ready to ride..:)
The horses are regularly removed and freshened up with new paint jobs and any repairs needed; after all the years of continuous use, the horses look so pristine because they are regularly being swapped out. Spare horses are always behind the scenes as the horses go through a refinishing and repainting process.The craftswoman who supervised and maintained the Walt Disney World carousel for more than 20 years was a talented craftswoman named Isle Voght. Disney removed her from that responsibility eventually, but she managed to put in writing much of the history of the carousel.
An excerpt from Voght’s writing(and the above link) reads:
“The Walt Disney World Carousel in the Magic Kingdom was produced in 1917 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, which created some of the most beautiful horses of the era. It was carved by German and Italian carvers to express the patriotism that was prevalent in the United States after the First World War. The carousel was named Liberty, and was one of the largest carousels ever built, being some sixty feet in diameter.
“The first home of the Liberty Carousel was at the Detroit Palace Garden Park where it stayed until it was rehabilitated in Philadelphia in 1928 and set up in Olympic Park in Maplewood, N.J., for the next 39 years.”
The Liberty Carousel originally had 72 horses and two chariots (not four as is reported in some articles). The distinctly American horses were black, brown, gray, and white. Their saddles included items that celebrated the American frontier. Carved figures of Lady Liberty holding shields that featured a red, white and blue flag emblem decorated the interior top circle. There were eighteen landscape paintings of American scenery. Just below was a running board decorated with golden American eagles. Over the years, less skilled craftsmen would slop paint and lacquer over the horses, eventually obscuring the intricate and uniquely engraved features underneath.”
Haha! Me at 16! In this old photo from the mid-80’s,I am on my favorite horse and it is wearing an old paint job. Granddaddy took the photo. I am also videotaping, and in the footage,Graddaddy goes by several times but I don’t see Grandmother. She was kind of short, though, so she might just be hidden. God, I miss them.
What I find quite exciting is that there is a second Indian Brave horse right behind mine, next on the row!! It is slightly different in a few ways–leg positions,bridle style, and the drapery around the chest–but it is unmistakably a brother to my horse, and could possibly be another of the originals from the carousel’s days as a patriotic-themed ride. Now, every time I go, I need to take a photo of “my” horse to see if it is my original horse or the one similar to it. I wish they could both be on the ride at the same time!