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Florida Guide > Disney Parks

Walt's Carousel of Progress.

The Carousel of Progress is situated in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It was created by Walt Disney himself along with the imagineers of WED Enterprises as the prime feature of the General Electric Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. It then transferred to Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park in Anaheim California and remained there until 1973. It was replaced in 1974 and made its move to its current home in Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Millions of people flocked to see the Carousel of Progress, and since it fist outing in 1964, it has had more performances than any other stage show in the history of American theatre.

Walt Disney loved the idea of progress and was extremely intrigued by the American family.

He believed that it would be fun to watch as they progressed through the 20th century, experiencing all the new technologies as they came. To keep up with the ever changing times, the Carousel of Progress has been updated no less than six times, starting in 1964 with the latest works being carried out in 1994. In this time it has also had two different theme songs, both of which have been written by Disney’s Award Winning songwriters - the Sherman Brothers.

The basic plot of the Carousel of Progress has remained almost unchanged since it’s opening in 1964. Guests are seated in a 240 seat theatre that revolves around six stages. After several minutes of watching the first presentation, the theatre rotates to another position and in turn another stage. Here you join Walt Disney’s favourite Audio - Animatronics family - Father, Mother, daughter Jane and her unnamed brother, Grandma, Gramps and Cousin Orville for a ’Disney Style’ spin through time!

The first and last scenes of the Carousel of Progress are basically identical and are used for loading and unloading passengers, with the four scenes in between being narrated by the father of the family as he interacts with the latest technologies and inventions of a particular era. The family you meet doesn’t really age during the show, maybe only by three or four years - Walt Disney designed it this way to show how older individuals can also enjoy better and more advanced technology.

The first scene takes place in the early 1900’s on Valentines Day and demonstrates all the technologies of that era - gas lamps and a hand cranked washing machine to name but a few. As we move into the second scene, set in the 1920’s, we witness the radio along with a modern sewing machine. Scene three takes us into the 1940’s and scene four brings us up to the present day. This scene is set at Christmas and features the interacting with the latest technologies of the modern day. With this much said, it is easy to understand why the final scene has received the most changes since the show was realised in 1964. The original Carousel of Progress depicted Christmas in a 1960’s home, however since its revamp in 1994, the final scene is set in the year 2000 with high-definition television and voice activated appliances.

The Carousel of Progress is a very pleasant way to pass 20 minutes. There is enough activity to keep even the youngest of children engaged in the action and as for the adults - being comfortably seated in a cool air conditioned theatre away from the busy crowds - sounds like a perfect recipe for a little afternoon snooze!

Whilst some may complain of it being cheesy and bland I would defy anyone to emerge from the performance without singing the theme tune!

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Page added on: 18 October 2007
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