Claim Your Dumbo

I love paying attention to the detales. Im extremeley detail oriented.

I am self-diagnosed with OCD, which means I just offended everyone who is professionally diagnosed with OCD. But I love a good fixation, and Disney gives me many opportunities in which to sink my teeth, as if I were a vampire and the theme park was a nubile young neck, throbbing with plasma and begging for a bite.

Vampire water park

Vampire water park

It’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to go for WDW47. It’s a challenge. A complex puzzle. A seemingly unsolvable equation. It has consumed a lot of my time lately. Teevtee and I have had some marathon brainstorming sessions on how to complete it, and we keep coming up empty. There are some fundamental roadblocks we just can’t seem to get past. The parks are their own universe, with their own laws of physics. Some of them, you just can’t violate.

I’m dying to tell you what WDW47 is, but for now it must wait. It’s simply too early. Expect to hear me tease this thing for the next month or so. I promise I will give you fair warning before the actual attempt. Just as NASA must carefully plan launches, waiting for everything to align, so must WDW47. There is a window, but it’s a tight one, and it doesn’t come along for several more weeks. In the meantime, I will need something else to fixate on.

Like flying elephants, for instance. Like I said, I’m drawn to the details, and occasionally I’ll hit upon an idea to plus things. It might be big, or it might be infinitesimally small. This is one of the latter.

Unlike the Magic Carpets or Triceratops Spin, which use numbers on the ground to assign you to a vehicle, Dumbo uses tokens. There are 16 Dumbos, and so there are 16 tokens. When the ride operators are planning for the next group, they hand a token to each party, and when they run out, they know they have enough people. It’s a nice way to keep track and improve loading efficiency.

I don’t mean to complain, but the tokens handed out at Magic Kingdom look something like this:

Pictured: No Imagination.

Pictured: Utter Lack of Imagination. And Photoshop skills.

In case you count tell, that’s my rendition of a plastic green rectangle. Now as we all know, plastic green rectangles are important in the story of Dumbo, because when Dumbo falls asleep after drinking some kind of hallucinogenic clown beverage, he and Timothy Mouse dream about an endless parade of green rectangles. Later, the green rectangles show up as Animal Control agents, who shoot the Ringmaster on sight. It’s one of the real highlights of the story.

Or maybe it’s just a cheap way to create tokens for a theme park ride.

I have been ranting to close loved ones for years that Disney should choose something a little more imaginative than plastic green rectangles as tokens for Dumbo. These relatives are no longer close, and have tried to have me institutionalized. But the point still stands. Is it possible that there is some little item in the Dumbo story that actually could work well as a token for flying Dumbo? Let’s see, if I could just think about it for one minute…

This is the part where I shout "Ta-Da!" in a triumphant, sing-song voice.

This is the part where I shout “Ta-Da!” in a triumphant, sing-song voice.

Yeah, so it turns out Disneyland actually uses my magic feather idea. I discovered it during my trip last December. I love them for it. Sure it’s just a cheap plastic black rectangle, cut in the shape of a feather. But it’s a wonderful little detail, and is exactly what I have been preaching for years. I think Disneyland management has been in contact with some of my relatives. I had this idea first, I’m telling you. Disney must have a tap on my phones (because I’m pretty sure I have pitched this idea over the phone to a random telemarketer). Anyway, I’m keeping an eye on them. If my next brilliant idea for the Magic Kingdom parking lot shows up, we’ll need to get hold of that telemarketer.

Comments (8)

  1. I’m not a fan of the loading token thing. This may have something to do with the fact that I was constructively kicked out of a Dumbo car (carcass?) on my last trip.

    My brother in law and I were talking when the buzzer our family was handed went off and we filed in line to get on the ride. I wasn’t familiar with the ride system and didn’t think anything of it when only my brother in law was handed a piece of plastic and I wasn’t. I was used to seeing someone given a lanyard at the beginning of a line to be handed over to a cast member on the other end. I didn’t realize this token meant something else. Never having intended to sit with my brother in law, I found my own Dumbo and waited. I didn’t have to wait long before a cast member made it clear that I was trespassing on some token-bearing guest’s Dumbo. This cast member wasn’t particularly understanding and I frustratingly (but quietly) stormed off like a little baby.

    Mostly I was embarrassed. The Mickey ice creme pop I bought afterwards helped. Still, after that I can’t say I’m a fan of the tokens, whatever shape they are.

    • That’s a fantastic story, John. Clearly your intent was malicious, and you should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. At the very least, your FastPass privileges should be revoked.

      CMs can be remarkably unsympathetic about honest mix-ups that are mostly their fault. I don’t love the token idea, but at least it’s a good system for keeping track of how many people you have in the holding area, so that delinquents like John don’t game the system. Personally, I think the Magic Carpets / Triceratops Spin have the right idea. Just give everybody a number.

  2. I’ve actually just been trained at the WDW Dumbo and we haven’t used the boarding pass for a while. My trainer told me they tried the black feather, but we had too many people stealing them. So in WDW’s defense they had the attention to detail, until guest behavior deemed otherwise.

    The Tokyo Disneyland feather sounds cool with the molding and everything, but they’re not being entirely true to the subject matter if the feather is white.

    • Congrats on your new role! It’s interesting that they used to have the feathers, but I did get the generic token last Saturday. So maybe sometimes they do it, sometimes they don’t??

      And I do understand also that those things are ripe for stealing. But we’re talking about cheap plastic feather tokens here. Can they really be all that expensive to replace? And also, I would think Disneylanders have the same (if not more) impulse to steal (Winona Ryder lives out there, after all — zing!). Yet they somehow still have them.

  3. Ok, so you finally admit Disneyland has better attention to detail and that they care more. Cool, glad we can finally put that to rest, Disneyland wins.

    Of course the bland tokens are to prevent theft. In Tokyo where that is less apt to happen they have used white molded 3-D feathers. DL splits the difference with an ugly black but still feather shaped token.

    BTW I think I may have the key to pulling off WDW47.

    • Love that little detail at DL.

      @Teevtee: I wonder why Tokyo made their feathers white. The “magic” feather was plucked from the tail of a crow, not some freaking cockatoo.

      • Good point. Now I am questioning my memory.
        Then again who knows? Maybe black is bad luck or something.

  4. As I recall, Disney tends to use ultra-cheap and lame loading tokens (see also Astro Orbitor, I believe) in order to cut down on riders stealing them as keepsakes.

    I know I would.

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