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Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress was originally designed and built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

Appropriately housed within the Central Hub of Tomorrowland, the attraction has been a part of Disney World since 1975.

The concept of the attraction has remained the same since it was initially unveiled and revolves around highlighting the amazing technological advancements made during the 20th century.

This is done by showing the same animatronic family in 4 separate scenes representing different time periods on a stage that rotates like a carousel.

The show has been recently updated to reflect more modern times and provides a nostalgic look back on the past century.

The show begins with an introduction into the history of the ride before the carousel stage spins to the first scene.

Act One 1900

The first time period presented is around Valentine’s Day 1900.

The patriarch of the family, John, talks about the state of current technology of the time, like the fact that there are 8,000 cars in America and it only takes 7 days to travel from New York to Los Angeles.

His wife then chimes in with her commentary on domestic chores.

The children of the family also briefly make an appearance before the carousel spins into the next scene.

Act Two 1920's

Now set on the 4th of July in the 1920s, the family now has electricity, indoor plumbing and a car with an electric starter.

John lists off a number of ‘modern-day’ events, and also mentions that you can now travel from New York to Los Angeles in 3 days.

Act Three 1940's

In the next scene, the family is living in the 1940s.

Among a series of improvements, the house now features a large refrigerator and television.

John mentions the ‘rat race’ as he describes commuting into the city each day for work and getting stuck in traffic.

Act Four Today

The final scene of the show has received the most updates throughout the years and now features a home with technology indicative of late 20th century to present time.

It’s now Christmas time and the family is sitting around their kitchen and living room.

John is cooking a turkey using a voice-activated oven while his son and the family’s grandmother are playing video games in the living room.

A grandfather is present to try and remind everyone about what life was like when he was younger.

Americana

Over the years, the Carousel of Progress has been shown more times than any other Disney stage show and now stands as a nostalgic piece of Americana.

Walt Disney was fascinated by the concept of progress, and the show is a reminder to us all about how American life has evolved over the past 100+ years.

The attraction also cleverly takes its audience through the changing of seasons over its four acts and ties everything together with the song ‘There’s a Great and Big Beautiful Tomorrow’. In total, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a 21-minute production appropriate for all ages.

Even 50 years after it was first devised, it is still a unique attraction that is both informative and entertaining.

By Marie Ospina
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