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The Secret History of Disney Rides: Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

by Tad on January 9, 2017 6   Video

The Secret History of Disney Rides: Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress - Secret History of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

Ever wanted to take a look at the past and future? Well, during the secret history of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, we can do just that! This classic Disney ride has resided in Tomorrowland of Disney World for decades, but it was actually a Disneyland attraction before that. Let's hop on through this secret history!

====>Hop here for Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress wait times, ride details and more!<====

The Secret History of Disney Rides: Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress - Future of Carousel of Progres

The Secret History of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress was originally used in the 1964 New York World's Fair. Designed by WED Enterprises (now known as the Imagineers), the Carousel of Progress was featured at the General Electric Pavilion at the fair. The company personally asked Walt Disney to create a show for its pavilion!

According to DisneyParkHistory.com, the idea of the "carousel" stemmed from an idea Walt Disney had to add two new areas to Disneyland: International Street and Edison's Square. The show would be in Edison Square and consist of showing the progress of electricity throughout the years. Obviously, though, these areas never actually came to life, and instead, Walt pitched the idea of the attraction to GE. Of course, they loved it! The attraction was known as Progressland during the World's Fair. Guests sat in their seats while a ring of six theaters circled around them. Afterwards, guests would venture to different levels of the building to continue their journey through the progression of electricity.

The Secret History of Disney Rides: Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress - Dad on Carousel of Progress

Once the New York World's Fair was over, the attraction moved to Disneyland's Tomorrowland and opened in July 1967. According to Yesterland.com, the multi-level theater show closed at Disneyland in 1973, but the bottom level remained open, housing America Sings. But, there was a new home for the Carousel of Progress in 1975! The show found its place in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. Space Mountain also opened during this time.

Many changes were made to the Carousel of Progress during its move to Disney World. Some of these changes included a new carousel theater, new color scheme, and new theme song, and the rotation of the theater changed to counterclockwise! Throughout the years,  the show closed off and on for refurbishments, changed sponsors and then even closed its doors "for good" in 2001. However, it reopened on a seasonal schedule, but it still seems to be open consistently throughout the year!

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress Fun Facts

  • The Carousel of Progress opened with a new theme song at Magic Kingdom called "The Best Time of Your Life." The song was changed back to its original in 1994!
  • Speaking of the show's theme song, you may remember the Sherman Brothers as Walt Disney's favorite song writers. They actually wrote the original song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!"
  • Cool fact for "A Christmas Story" fans: The narrator of this classic film is featured on the Carousel of Progress as the main narrator and the father!
  • Also having to do with the voices of the show's characters, the voice of Uncle Orville is Bugs Bunny's, as well.
  • When Disneyland's America Sings closed in 1988, the theater remained empty for another 10 years!
  • When the show was at Disneyland, the upper level of the Carousel of Progress theater housed the model of Walt Disney's futuristic city called Progress City (also known as EPCOT). You can now see that model on Tomorrowland's Transit Authority PeopleMover in Magic Kingdom!

How many times have you experienced Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress? Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to check out our Carousel of Progress ride details and wait times!

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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Mar 23, 2018 at 5:44 p.m. Paul Says...

I was on it a number of times. I liked it more as a child, as when I was a child there appeared to be far more to see on the way out in the minature town with a city with everything modern cities have all powered with electricity. Could see minature model people in homes malls theatre along with even a church. Some could see people reading a book in home, and others watching tv, some even listening to the radio. Then later the small village was reduced in size by more than half with much of the small city things gone, it even had a small train smaller than N guage at one point. There were many custom models at Disneyland. Much of Walt Disney went into the ride. His much loved dog, he gave it a very long life we could say immortal life. Then his personal belief system ent into the ride as well. His belief in that people can work togeather for a much better world and society. A society that works doing things such as personal growth and helping others. Much of the same as the Shriners, Masons and other groups where people get togeather to work out solutions to helping others grow mentally and spirtitually. These are all qualities that have been lacking for a long time in this world where people look the other way and many treat others as less than human along with coruption at all levels in all countries around the world. Government originated as people working togeather as a group to support each other in times of need, and to look out and protect each other as a group. I know there are many that are afraid of all so called secret socities. However all the ones that are publically known work for the best things in the world such as personal responsability and freedom elimination of things that hold people back such as the shriners that fix things that impair childrens future such as birth deformaties. How many have noticed the progams and policies that make the world better for many when before they were being held back. That is progress, and the world of tomarrow was about progress and using all the technology we have now and in the future to make happen for all. Notice how most in the USA have street lights and most modern things that used to be done by hand in the past. The Franklin stove in the first frame is saying this is where I started the modern things at the time that I have as opposed to those without a home. This old stove required lots of manual labo just to keep one room warm and cook food to the last frame where all of manual labor for the home has been eliminated. This is progress. Where we as people can go from hard physical work to high technology. We use our brains to make our lives better and have time to move for the better instead of living hand to mouth and working hard just to stay warm in the winter and feeding yourself without the conveniance of store and refergeration to keep food cold. Basically putting into the minds of children to work for a better tomarrow for yourself and othes. The important thing is that all of us need to be involved to make the world a better place for us to enjoy for ourselves and our famialies. If we do not do this others will decide what is best for them and use us as pawns for their profit and enjoyment much as in the world today. We need to make the world better for us, as none will do it out of their good will. Some rich people get rich by taking advantage of others and others where an oppertunity for something new exists that helps the world. Electicity is part of that progress, and many other good things to come.

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Nov 28, 2017 at 12:05 a.m. Says...

Love this ride!!! My adult daughters rode it years ago to “just humor your father.” Now, my daughters insist that the grandchildren ride it “to just humor your grandfather.”

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Jan 21, 2017 at 10:51 p.m. Doug Says...

CoP is one of my wife and my favorite rides, because it gives such a good feeling for what Walt Disney was like. This ride was his baby. We get a kick out of singing along when John, the main character, sings.

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Jan 9, 2017 at 4:42 p.m. Brenda Says...

Every trip that it is opened. And that's a lot of trips! Because Walt was personally involved in the creation of CoP, I'll always love it a little bit more.

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Jan 9, 2017 at 4:19 p.m. Rob E Says...

One of my favorites! I just wish it was updated more frequently. The past 20 years have been HUGE for "modern" conveniences.

Also- Why not say the narrator is Jean Shepherd and Uncle Orville is Mel Blanc?

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Jan 9, 2017 at 3:15 p.m. Carlos Medina Says...

We rode carousel of progress couple times and it was an experience ride

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