Difference Between a Merry-Go-Round and a Carousel?

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Difference Between a Merry-Go-Round and a Carousel?

Postby Teacups Make Me Sick » Wed May 06, 2009 10:17 am


I was under the impression that a carousel only has horses and a merry-go-round has a mixture of animals. However, internet searches come up with different answers....I don't believe most things that are posted on wikipedia.

Is this question like the jimmies vs sprinkles debate?

So I ask the trusted source of TPR to help me understand this mystery...are these nouns interchangeable?

Thank you.

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Postby ParkTrips » Wed May 06, 2009 10:36 am

Pretty sure one spins counter clockwise, the other spins clockwise. I don't remember which is which though

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Postby Electerik » Wed May 06, 2009 10:37 am

I think they've become interchangeable, at the very least. I've heard three different versions of the difference:

Carousels vs. Merry-Go-Rounds:

Horses vs. other animals
White lights vs. colored lights
Clockwise rotation vs. anti-clockwise

But none of those are actually true, in a practical sense. (Which is to say, you can find as many rides that violate those definitions as ones that adhere to them.)

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Postby Carnage » Wed May 06, 2009 10:47 am

Never really thought of this before.

I guess I would associate merry-go-round typically with smaller, kiddy type rides.

Carousels I'd associate with much larger, grander, more family friendly rides.

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Postby monsterfan99 » Wed May 06, 2009 12:56 pm

To me, it would be basically how grand of a scale the ride is on. To me, a merry-go-round does the same thing as a Carousel, but looks plain. A carousel has attention to detail, hard carved horses and an outstanding building.

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Postby ebl » Wed May 06, 2009 7:05 pm

I've always thought the two terms were interchangeable, like the difference between a car and an automobile. "Carousel" comes across as a bit more classy as terms go.

Walt Disney, for instance, called his a "Carrousel' (with an extra "r" in the spelling for some reason), I believe, to distinguish it from the ones found at the carnivals that he did not want Disneyland to be patterned after.

This was a very interesting question, and hopefully we'll get a definitive answer to it.

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Postby Yellow Jacket » Tue May 19, 2009 9:58 am

To answer Joe's comment about spin direction, originally carousels spun counter-clockwise. They were designed as training devices for mounted combat. Since the Knight would carry his lance/sword in his right hand, the carousel spun counter-clockwise so this hand would be on the outside. Catch-the-ring models still spin counter-clockwise for the same reason (another example of discrimination against us lefties); but, in the era of amusements, the direction of spin ceased to be important and now we have them spinning in both directions. I seem to recall hearing that clockwise spinners may be more prevalent in America.

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Re: Difference Between a Merry-Go-Round and a Carousel?

Postby mcjaco » Tue May 19, 2009 10:39 am

Teacups Make Me Sick wrote:I don't believe most things that are posted on wikipedia.

This is one of the wisest things said on TPR. ::lol::

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Postby BeemerBoy » Tue May 19, 2009 11:11 am

Carousel, gallopers, roundabouts, merry-go-rounds, whirligigs, spinning or flying jennies, dip-twisters, or flying horses...they're all the same. Nothing distinctly differentiates one from the other (mind you, some of those terms are clearly outdated).
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Postby printersdevil78 » Tue May 19, 2009 12:10 pm

^Almost, but not quite.... Flying horses are actually different than the others in that they coast back and forth (a good example still remains at Cedar Point) while all the others move up and down or are stationary (Philadelphia-style).

But your point is still mostly valid. They're all horses that go in a circle.


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