One of the simplest and most popular attractions when Disneyland opened in 1955 was the Dumbo flying elephant ride, and it remains one of the most popular attractions in the Disney Parks throughout the world. The popular ride has often been duplicated at other parks and in other forms around the world, with flying elephants still remaining the most popular form of the flying circular ride.
|Last update to this page: September 15, 2011 (Updated Text)
|Originally built at
The Great Escape park in Lake George, New York, the Jumbo ride was a
fairly generic knock-off of the popular Dumbo ride at Disneyland and
Walt Disney World. After years of service in the children's storybook
themed park, the ride was relocated to Six Flags Great Adventure between
the 2004 and 2005 seasons where it was to become part of the Balin's
Jungle Land area in the new Golden Kingdom section of the park which
debuted in spring of 2005.
|As spring of 2005
approached, construction of The Golden Kingdom was in full swing. The
Royal Elephants ride was one of the new attractions in the Balin's
Jungle Land children's area, and like the other rides in the section it
was actually recycled and restyled to make it fit the theme of the new
The structure of the ride was basically unchanged from its previous incarnation at The Great Escape, though the ride was repainted and completely refurbished. The elephants each received fresh paint including little hats on the tops of their heads in coordinating colors to match the ride's central structure. The structure at the center of the ride was fitted with a multi-tiered set of colorful canopies giving the ride an Asian flair to match the new operator's booth and the surrounding area of The Golden Kingdom.
|The Royal Elephants
became a very popular ride in Balin's Jungle Land since parents could
ride with their children. The other attractions in Balin's were limited
to children under 54", but the Royal Elephants had no height
restrictions so any guest could ride.
During the 2008 season, the Royal Elephants were closed for a portion of the summer season for an extensive rehab with some of the arms being removed and the hydraulic cylinders used to control the height of the elephants replaced. While the ride was closed, a fence was erected around the front of the ride to hide it from view. Many guests never would have realized the ride was there if they weren't familiar with the park or didn't peer over the fence.
|For the 2009 season, the Royal Elephants along with the other rides in Balin's Jungle Land were closed and removed and were to remain closed all season. After the first weekends of park operation, guest complaints led to the Royal Elephants returning along with the Monkey Around and Raja's Rickshaws rides. The rides continued to delight children and parents for the remainder of the 2009 season and the 2010 season.
|The Royal Elephants
were very popular, but the same basic ride was offered in similar form
though with airplane shaped ride vehicles elsewhere in the park, so for
the 2011 season the ride was removed and the entire Balin's Jungle Land
section was closed for the expansion of the new Safari Discoveries area.
The ride was dismantled and put into storage for future use.
One of the pieces of the ride that also was used in the park was the original "Jumbo" sign from its days at The Great Escape. The lighted Jumbo sign has appeared in Fright Fest and other shows since the ride arrived in 2005.
|Royal Elephants to be Reinstalled in
Great Adventure's New Adventure Alley in 2012
|For the 2012 season the
Royal Elephants will be returning to the park as one of four new
attractions. The Royal Elephants are scheduled to be placed in the
new Adventure Alley section, taking the pad that had previously been home to
the Pirate's Flight ride and various shows throughout the past twelve
The Royal Elephants have been a favorite with families and the return of the ride will help increase the number of flat rides in the park geared toward families and riders who are too big for the children's rides and too small or not brave enough to ride the big roller coasters.