I’m lucky enough to have an office near a car from Disneyland’s Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride on display and I often hear the comments of visitors as they see him. It seems like no matter how young or old a person is, everyone who passes by Dumbo smiles. Little kids either yell out “It’s Dumbo!” or “An ELEPHANT!” depending on their familiarity with the classic Disney character, and their parents often chime in with their own personal memories.
As a child, I grew up going to Walt Disney World every few years and was an avid Dumbo fan. Each time we visited, my family would wait in line to fly the skies in an elephant. And, regardless of the number of minutes we had already waited to get on the ride, my mother would always be willing to wait one more cycle if all of the purple-accessorized Dumbo cars (my favorite) were full. As a child, this seemed like an obvious thing for a mom to do, but as an adult, I think of my mom and smile every time I walk past our Museum’s own flying elephant, accessorized with a purple hat and seat.
Jenny Wei is an education specialist at the National Museum of American History. She would love to hear your favorite Dumbo memories as comments!