The Life and Times
A large cockerel once sat atop a thatched roof watching over Old MacDonald Farmyard, but this cockerel didn't welcome in the dawn but rather called young guests to come and join the farmyard jamboree going on below. Sitting beneath the barn's thatched roof, a whole range of animals were waiting to take guests on a spin around the farmyard they called their home.
The Doodle Doo Derby was one of the original attractions to open in 1995 as part of Old MacDonald's Farmyard. Set right at the heart of the area, the carousel was built over part of the duck pond that had previously filled the centre of the farmyard.
Once the automatic gates had opened, children would run onto the turntable and pick whatever animal they would like to ride on. There were all sorts to choose from, including cows, chickens, sheep and ducks! Whilst their children climbed aboard their animal, their parents could find benches under the barn in the middle of the ride, where they could have a sit down and keep an eye on their children as they whizz by.
If getting to ride your favourite barnyard friend wasn't enough, each of the animals also had a button on it which played the animal's call, meaning the ride could get a tiny bit noisy. It was a common sight to see children getting up and switching animals mid-ride in order to experience riding different ones. This was perfectly fine as, unlike a traditional carousel, the animals were firmly bolted to the turntable, meaning children could safely move from one to the other.
What Happened Next...
The Doodle Doo Derby was certainly a unique take on a carousel, both in theme and also in allowing parents onto the ride with their children, making it perfect for introducing younger guests to rides.
The imposing barn structure was a fine centrepiece for the farmyard and blended seamlessly with the surrounding farm buildings. Unfortunately, time waits for no cockerel and by 2013 Old MacDonald was heading for retirement and the animals of the Doodle Doo Derby were heading off with him to make way for CBeebies Land.
But the story didn't end there... and whilst the farmyard animals may be gone, the ride itself remains as part of CBeebies Land with a very different group of animals taking over. The Numtums are the new owners of the carousel, inviting young guests to climb aboard a Numtum Cart and take a whirl on the Number-Go-Round.
Whilst the ride remains a fun diversion, especially for those who love numerics, it is safe to say the ride will never again be quite as charming as it was during its years as the Doodle Doo Derby.