February 23, 2015, 12:02 PM ·
Carousels might be the oldest enduring type of theme park attraction. Most major theme parks today include a carousel, often located in a prominent central location in the park. While many theme park attractions, notably roller coasters, see their popularity decline with age, carousels remain popular from generation to generation. Indeed, many of the carousels you'll find in theme parks today were around 100 or more years ago, entertaining children in parks and fairs before eventually being purchased by today's parks and restored. Heck, Disney corporate legend says that Walt Disney envisioned Disneyland while sitting and watching his daughters ride the carousel in Los Angeles' Griffith Park.
Here are 10 of Theme Park Insider readers' favorite carousels at top theme parks around the world. All Theme Park Insider readers (that includes you!) can rate all the rides, shows, restaurants, and hotels we cover on the site. Just visit our Park Reviews and Hotel Reviews pages to start. Readers who register with Theme Park Insider can submit reviews and photos of the attractions they rate, too. (Registration is free, and takes just a moment.)
Not every carousel on our list features the traditional horses to ride. Disney California Adventure's carousel refreshes the genre with fish and other undersea creatures from and inspired by The Little Mermaid.
Six Flags parks might be known for their roller coasters, but it's the Columbia Carousel that stands as the icon of Six Flags' Chicago-area park, a double-decker carousel that claims the title of world's tallest carousel, with its twin at the California's Great America park in Santa Clara, California.
Want to ride some Prancing Horses? The Prancing Horse is the symbol of Italy's ultra-luxury sports-car manufacturer Ferrari, so in Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World, the "horses" you get to ride on its Carousel are miniature Ferrari prototypes.
The Magic Kingdom's carousel represents all the Disney Fantasyland carousels, standing in the middle of the land at the Disneylands in Anaheim, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong, as well as in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. This one dates from 1917, built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co. as the Liberty Carrousel for Belle Isle Park in Detroit.
Cedar Point's carousel wins the top spot on our list for making manifest what many of us imagined on our first carousel rides — that our horse is actually racing the other horses on the ride. Will we make it to the finish line first? Well, if we don't, we always can ride again!
What is your favorite carousel, in a theme park or not? Please tell us in the comments.