Most Micechat readers probably know what happened on Sunday July 17, 1955 in what had been, up till then, a remote orange grove near Anaheim, CA. Of the available attractions on Opening Day five had Arrow’s fingerprints all over them: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, King Arthur’s Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Snow White’s Scary Adventure. Over the next five years, Disney applied Arrow’s skills on five more ride systems; Casey Jr. Circus Train, Midget Autopia, Motorboat Cruise, Alice in Wonderland and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Then, between 1960 and 1970, Arrow worked on seven more; Tomorrowland’s Flying Saucers, It’s a Small World, Space Mountain, Adventure thru Inner Space, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight (WDW) and the Haunted Mansion. They also worked on the parking lot trams. All told Arrow was involved in eighteen Disney ride systems and there is a rumor they also worked on Big Thunder Mountain.

This wouldn’t be obvious to the casual park visitor, but the evidence in the US Patent and Trademark office is incontrovertible and a look at the illustrations from some of these reveals details which should be obvious to any current Disney Park guest.

  • US 3,006,286 (1959) – Amusement Vehicle Apparatus – K. W. Bacon et al.
  • USD 189,828 (1960) – Amusement Ride Car – Karl W. Bacon and Edgar O. Morgan – Assigned to Disney
  • US 3,113,528 (1960) – Boat Ride Apparatus – E. A. Morgan et al.
  • US 3,114,332 (1960) – Bobsled Amusement Ride – Karl W. Bacon and Edgar O. Morgan – Assigned to Disney
  • US 3,167,024 (1960) – Bobsled Amusement Ride – K. W. Bacon et al. – Assigned to Disney
  • US 3,251,595 (1962) – Air Car and Supporting Apparatus – Edgar Allen Morgan and Karl W. Bacon – Assigned to Disney
  • US 3,404,635 (1968) – Boat Amusement Ride – K. W. Bacon et al. – – Assigned to Disney
  • USD 204,282 (1965) – Passenger Carrying Boat – Edgar A.Morgan – Assigned to Disney
  • US 3,830,161 (1973) – Flume Boat Ride with a Double Downchute – Karl W.Bacon – Assigned to Arrow
  • US 3,843,192 (1973) – Standing Passenger Support Structure for a Moving Vehicle – Edgar A. Morgan
  • US 3,865,041 (1973) – Rotary Platform Vehicle Passenger Loading System – Karl W. Bacon
  • US 3,853,067 (1974) – Boat Amusement Ride with a Spillway – Karl W. Bacon
  • US 3,889,605 (1974) – Amusement Ride with a Vehicle Track Portion Following the Shape of a Helix – Karl W. Bacon
  • US 3,972,527 (1975) – Passenger Powered Rotating Amusement Ride – Karl W. Bacon

Here’s a little Quiz; Match the Patent Picture with the Attraction. (We’ll publish the answers next time.)










There are a couple of interesting things about this list; First is that Ed Morgan is absent from 1973 on. That’s because he and Karl sold Arrow to Rio Grande Industries in 1971, after Disney built Central Shops in Orlando.  Although both Karl and Ed were still available as advisors, based on the evidence, Karl was probably doing the designing from then on.
The second thing to note is the nature of the ride systems after 1971; Most are flume style rides, with the exception of the corkscrew (helix) roller coaster patent in 1974. Parting ways with Disney didn’t put Arrow out of business – by then they had literally hundreds of rides at dozens of amusement parks all around the world and would continue in operation for another thirty years. The roots of Arrow’s ultimate demise came from another source, much farther away.
The very last patent Karl filed; US 3,972,527, the “Rotating Ride” is so different than anything before, it deserves it’s own, much closer look – which we’ll take next time, along with the answers to today’s quiz.



For more of the story on Arrow Development, pick up a copy of Building Disney’s Dream on iTunes, or directly from the author (in .pdf format) at [email protected].

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Dexter Francis is on the trail of the story behind the story of Walt Disney Imagineering and Arrow Development. A peculiar blend of artist, engineer, storyteller and business analyst, he loves uncovering the hidden connections between seemingly unrelated events which lead to breakthrough innovations. Rob Reynolds, the author of "Roller Coasters, Flumes and Flying Saucers" described Dexter’s latest book as a “…precisely detailed account of Arrow Development, based on extensive research that has uncovered many gems from the early days of Disneyland and the development of the tubular steel roller coaster. I highly recommend Building Disney's Dream as a valuable addition to any history of Disney or the theme park industry."