Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

Carousel of Progress has undergone an interesting transformation over the years. When it premiered it was a celebration of technological progress and left you wondering what was in store for us in the years ahead. Over time, though, it became a historical artifact, something we watch to see what used to wow people. Still, there is plenty of entertainment value in this seasonal attraction. Six small theaters rotates arounder four scenes (plus the entry and exit areas) populated by an animatronic family in four different period of the 20th century. The first scenes are pre-electric around the turn of the century, then the 1920s with radio and household electricty, then 1940s with the growth of the suburban lifestyle and additional improvements. The final scene is near the end of the century and suggests technology that might be in the near future.

General Information - Hide Section
  • Location: To the back right of Tomorrowland, beyond the Galaxy Palace Theater.
  • Date Opened: 1/15/1975
  • # of Ride Units: Six theaters
  • Ride Capacity: 240 seats per theater
  • Restraint Method: None
  • Ticket Rating: C Ticket
  • Ride Photo: No
Time Commitment Information - Hide Section
  • Open/Close: Open and close with the park. Note, however, that Carousel of Progress is currently only open seasonally and on peak capacity days. Check with current schedules when visiting the park to see if Carousel of Progress will be open.
  • Wait Times: With a capacity of more than 3,500 per hour waits are minimal, even if the theaters are being filled to capacity. Waits will rarely be longer than 10 miles per hour.
  • Length of Ride: 21 minutes
  • FastPass: No
  • Single Rider: No
  • Queue Description: Minimal. You simply walk up a ramp to the show building and wait for the next door to rotate around.
Access Information - Hide Section
  • Health Restriction: None
  • Ride Access: The queue and theaters are wheelchair and ECV accessible.
  • Wheelchair Transfer: There are wheelchair and ECV spaces in each theater, it is not necessary to transfer to a chair.
  • Service Animals: Yes
  • Audio: Assistive listening devices and handheld captioning devices are available for this attraction from Guest Services.
  • Weight and Size Issues: Plenty of leg room between rows in the theater. While the theater seats are large, they are still theater seats and large guests may find them uncomfortable. Theaters don't often fill to capacity so it should be possible to sit with empty seats to one or both sides.
Parenting Information - Hide Section
  • Height Restriction: None
  • Child Swap: No
  • Other Issues:
History and Trivia - Hide Section
  • At this location: Carousel of Progress is the first attraction at this location. When the park opened in 1971, this space was occupied by a short-lived food court.
  • The Attraction's History: Carousel of Progress started as one of the attractions created by Disney for the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Contracted by General Electric, WED Enterprises (Imagineering) created "Progressland" which was essentially what is still found in the Magic Kingdom. The attraction proved so popular that at the conclusion of the show it was installed in Disneyland's Tomorrowland (July 2, 1967 to September 9, 1973) with the name Carousel of Progress. When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, General Electric was eager to have a presence, so it was decided to move the attraction from Disneyland to Walt Disney World.

    Opening in the Magic Kingdom on January 15, 1975, there were a few changes. An updated final scene had been created, and the theme song was changed from "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" to "The Best Time of Your Life," reflecting a change in General Electric's slogan.

    In March 1985 General Electric allowed to their sponsorship to lapse. As part of the 1994 "redesign" of Tomorrowland, Carousel of Progress was reverted to its original form and "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was reinstated as the attraction's song. At that time the name was officially changed to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress to empahsize the attraction's direct connection to Walt Disney.
  • Other Trivia:
    • Voice: When the show was restored to its original form in 1994, Jean Shepherd provided the voice of the father; Rex Allen, the original voice was called in to do the grandfather. Janet Waldo, the voice of grandma, was also the voice of Judy Jetson in The Jetsons. Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny among others) and his son also provide voices in the show.
    • Theme Songs: Richard and Robert Sherman composed the music for both of the theme songs that have been used for Carousel of Progress.

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