For those who read my first part of Overlooked Disney you know that I (like many Disney Park fans) have a deep respect for what Walt himself did to make so many people happy. There is one ride at Walt Disney World® Resort that makes me think about Walt every time I ride it.
The Carousel of Progress can be found in the back corner of Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. This ride consists of a moving theater that turns from scene to scene, as an Audio-Animatronic family moves from decade to decade showing the improvements in life that have been caused by the advancements in electrical energy.
Why is it that so many people love this ride even without any thrills or chills? It’s because this down-to-earth (and maybe a little corny) ride shows off the technology that Walt wanted to incorporate into his park rides. The Audio-Animatronic family starring in this ride was way ahead of its time when this ride first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 – 1965. During the World’s Fair, over 16 million people where amazed at what Walt Disney was able to create.
An estimated additional 31 million people saw Carousel of Progress when it moved to Disneyland® in California and opened in 1967 and was there till 1973. Then, the Carousel of Progress made another trip back across the nation to be reinstalled at Walt Disney World® Resort in 1975.
Many Disney purest were not happy when the Carousel of Progress reopened in Florida. The biggest complaint was that the theme song was changed to “The Best Time of Your Life.” After a 1993 rehab, the original theme song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”’ was restored to the show and many feel it better reflected Walt’s vision when the ride was created.
The last time I rode the Carousel of Progress, my only regret was that only a handful of people where enjoying this wonderful artifact of what one man could accomplish in his lifetime. So when you book your next trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort with Ears of Experience, take time to sit and enjoy this show.
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One Response to “Overlooked Disney, Part II -Carousel of Progress, by Gil Pohl”
I don’t think I’ve ever been on the Carousel of Progress. I’ll have to check it out next time I go to Disney World.
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