Hallo There, Back at it again with the Disney History that literally no one asked for. This week I wanted to talk about the history of my FAVORITE ATTRACTION IN ALL OF DISNEY: The Carousel of Progress. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is my favorite attraction seeing as I’m obsessed with history or rather the progress of things over time. So I’m excited to announce that I’ll be doing a series of the History/Progress of some of my favorite attractions in Disney parks. So let’s jump in!
1964 New York Worlds Fair:
As a part of General electrics “Progressland” pavilion the carousel of Progress first premiered GE reached out to Disney to collaborate for this pavilion. The attraction used animatronics similar to those in Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. As well as the inroduction of rotating “carousel” of an audience. The carousel of Progress was a part of the NYWF for 2 years when it retired in October of 1965.
Months after Walt Disney’s death in 1967 the Carousel of Progress reappeared in Disneyland with the intentions of being a permanent attraction. No other changes were made to the show itself. By the 70’s the show saw dwindling audiences and GE decided to move the show to the new park in Florida. Disneyland soon incorporated The Carousel Theater into its plans to celebrate America’s Bicentennial. The theater was filled with a new show in 1974 called America sings , a salute to American music. The building’s rotating platform used for Carousel of Progress, America Sings, and Innoventions which had replaced america sings in 1984 stopped spinning in later years, and by the time of the opening of the building’s latest tenant, Star Wars Launch Bay in November 2015, the mechanics used to rotate the lower level appear to have been removed altogether.
In 1973 the show was packed up and moved out to Florida. Where all the scenes saw cosmetic makeovers and the finale scene was a New Year’s Eve in a modern 1970’s home.
Since 1973 the attraction has seen many face lifts and updates to keep the progress up to date. In 1985 came the first update which was triggered by the loss of GE’s Contract. This meant the ride received new logos and small details that would no longer include the GE logo. In 1993 the attraction closed again to receive another update. This the theme of the New Tomorrowland: “The Future that Never Was.” Gears and other mechanical symbols were being prominently featured in the other pavilions in the New Tomorrowland, so the Carousel of Progress was redesigned to feature them. The attraction and show were renamed Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as opposed to just “Carousel of Progress”. The final scene was updated to “Christmas in the House of 2000” (as envisioned in 1993). A new cast was hired for the narration recordings.
My future hopes:
As we go into the future, I would be excited to hear of another update coming to my favorite carousel. I would like to see something more inventive and futuristic out of the finale scene as some people say it’s beginning to be outdated. Either way, it’s one of my favorite pieces of Disney history and hopefully will continue to progress in Disney parks.