Dumbo's Circusland, also sometimes known as
simply Circusland, was, as the name implies, a land themed around Dumbo and
the circus, but more than this was going to be a home for the more wacky
Disney characters that didn't quite fit into the elegant Fantasyland.
Walt Disney loved the circus, and attempts
at including a circus in Disneyland go back as far as the first panoramic
painting of Disneyland. But pretty much all attempts, even the Mickey Mouse
Club Circus, never quite worked. Walt's original Imagineers even designed
their own circus miniland that never got built, a picture of which I include
in the gallery.
Circusland was an
attempt to change all that, developed by Tony Baxter at the same time as
Discovery Bay. Sharing five acres of undeveloped land with Discovery Bay,
Circusland's entrance would have been where the Fantasyland Theater
currently stands, heralded by banners, marquees and flags. Here, guests
would find a relocated Dumbo the Flying Elephant, now located high up on a
raised platform (an ironic inversion - Tony Baxter made the decision to move
the raised up Astro Orbitor to the ground in Tomorrowland), therefore
freeing up much needed room in the Fantasyland courtyard.
Guests would find a Pinocchio dark ride
(this was before it was added to Fantasyland), including Stromboli's Little
Puppet Theater in the queue. Mickey's Mad House would be another thrilling
dark ride, based on the classic 1930's black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons
and ragtime music. One possible, the Western Balloon Ascent, would be a
transportation ride between Circusland and Discovery Bay, allowing guests to
travel in hot air balloons between the two new lands. Alternatively, a new
path would have connected the two lands, north of the existing Fantasyland.
The major attraction of the land would have
Circus Disney, an animatronics spectacular featuring classic Disney
characters performing in their own circus acts. Shere Khan and King Louis
would be part of the wild animal menagerie, guests could marvel at "the
Amazing Flying Dumbo - Ninth Wonder of the World!", "Horace Horsecollar
- the One Man Rubberband!" and "the Reluctant Dragon - Fire Eater!", they
could then pass through Clown Alley, and then witness the spectacular finale
- the daredevil act "the Flying Goofys".
Why Wasn't It Built?
Dumbo's Circusland was very much a supporting act of Discovery Bay, and
when that project never got the greenlight, neither did Circusland. Instead,
manpower and money needed to be redirected to the exhausting EPCOT Center
and Tokyo Disneyland projects.
The Pinocchio dark ride did get built, taking
the space formerly held by the Mickey Mouse Club Theater, as part of 1983's
New Fantasyland, a project which also relocated the Teacups rather than
Dumbo to free up space in the Fantasyland courtyard. Eventually the classic
and wacky Disney would get their own home, and not too far from where
Circusland was intended - Mickey's Toontown.
A circus area was proposed for Tokyo's
Fantasyland, in which a circus train would be the facade of a restaurant and
seating area surrounding the Dumbo attraction.
Most recently, it was announced Dumbo was
getting his own miniland as part of the Walt Disney World Fantasyland
expansion - an area which will have two Dumbo rides (the 'Dueling Dumbo's'),
a clown kidder rollercoaster, and other sideshow attractions.