Sunday, July 08, 2012

Double Dumbo - Review and Pics

I am late to this party, since the second Dumbo opened a couple of weeks ago, but I was off touring amusement parks on the East Coast (you'll get individual trip reports here soon too). But yes, the news is: Dumbo is open!

And it's got a pretty small line most of the time. Apparently having twice the capacity was good for the attraction! It's also possible that moving out of the central location in the middle of Fantasyland has lowered demand for the attraction. Certainly that's been true of Meet Mickey, presently banished to Main Street, where the lines are not very long at all most of the time. I guess the old rules for real estate apply to theme park rides too: location, location, location.

The second Dumbo is a clone of the first one. This second one was supposedly "moved" from the original spot behind the castle, but looking at it, there's no way that's true. This is a new structure.

The first Dumbo now has scrapes on it in several places, where the outside back "knee" of the elephant is scraping the wall. This is obviously not good. Is it a safety hazard? Why do they allow this to continue?

The much-discussed interactive queue is now open. But you'll only see if if you're doing Standby (yes, that's right, there's a FASTPASS for this attraction now. You get those over by Philharmagic, where the machines are half for Winnie the Pooh and half for Dumbo (and none are for Philharmagic itself).

If you're doing Standby, you get to go past the interactive queue. When there's no real wait for Dumbo, they will wave you on, but you're allowed to stop inside the interactive area anyway. They will hand you a restaurant-style pager whether there's a line or not; in theory, the pager is there to summon you when the wait is over. If it's a day with no wait, the pager is there for looks. Or something like that.

Let's be honest about the interactive area: it's a playground. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, my five year old really, really loved it. I just wouldn't call it an interactive area any more than I would call a corndog a gourmet sausage. It might be true from a certain point of view, but there's a simpler and truer word for it. In this case, the word is playground.

It's similar to the Mission Space playground, and in fact it's kind of the same layout. There's a single major net/tunnel system across the room, with two pylon towers on either end.

What's different is that the platforms in one tower have light and sound effects to act like trampolines when you step on them (not really physically, but aurally and visually).

And there are two very small slides. Both have light effects that engage when you slide down.

The entire room is ringed with circus-looking wooden benches; a very nice touch for the parents.

The inner ring of this circus is for the smallest kids, with little interactions possible, including a spin-the-clown design tower that pays homage to a similar thing in the old Dumbo queue.

There's a Dumbo hanging from the ceiling overhead, and moving in a circle. Not really necessary, but a nice touch.

The whole area is full of nice touches, actually. I was highly impressed. This was an air-conditioned playground in the only park WITHOUT a playground (and yet it's the park most kids go to), so it was desperately needed.

Once you're on the Double Dumbos, take time to appreciate the "dueling" aspect (the two spinners rotate in opposite directions, so they "head at each other" as they spin).

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.