There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day.
Walt Disney and WED Enterprises teamed up and created what is now the longest-running stage show in American theater history — Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Though originally created as the prime feature of the General Electric Pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the attraction now resides in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
In case you aren’t familiar, this attraction, which was created by Walt Disney himself, is a rotating theater audio-animatronic stage show attraction, currently located in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort. The official description listed on the Walt Disney World website reads:
Travel through the 20th century and marvel at the evolution of technology during this classic Audio-Animatronics show.
Follow an American family over 4 generations of progress and watch technology transform their lives. During each era, learn how the technological marvels of the day made life more comfortable—and paved the way for unimaginable innovations.
Discover how gas lamps, the hand-cranked washing machine and gramophone made the pre-electric era a breeze. Watch the advent of electricity give rise to modern conveniences like the electric iron, the radio—and the simple, revolutionary light bulb. See how the automatic dishwasher and television set transformed the American household.
Today’s high-tech marvels include virtual-reality games, high-definition televisions and voice-activated household appliances. Imagine the wonders the next hundred years may bring!
Is It Outdated?
Since this Tomorrowland attraction was created so long ago (I mean, it was created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair), it’s safe to say that the last scene of the attraction is no longer “looking to the future” and there it no longer shows what the continued “progress” could look like since it’s set more in the present day. We see virtual-reality games, high-definition televisions, and voice-activated household appliances, all of which are happening today. So with this attraction being a bit “outdated” and no longer showing the “future progress”, I feel as though Disney should update this attraction, but they still must keep the legacy of Walt himself, of course.
I am a huge Disney history buff — I love seeing the attractions that Walt designed and created himself still operating today. But, with Carousel of Progress losing the “future progress” aspect, I feel as though the company can do some sort of small update to make it relevant to today without losing the legacy of Walt.
What Can Disney Do?
One idea I have is that Disney could just make some small updates to the last scene of the Tomorrowland attraction. I mean, seeing high-definition televisions looked at as “the future of progress” doesn’t make sense anymore. High-definition televisions have been around for quite some time now — We even have Smart TVs now.
Additionally, the voice-activated household appliances that are highlighted in the last scene are something that we have seen around for a while. (I’m sure you’ve heard of a small thing called Alexa.) So, I think Disney should replace things like high-definition televisions and voice-activated household appliances with something else that we could possibly see in the future that shows continued progress without revamping the entire scene.
But, even if Disney doesn’t decide to update this last scene to reflect “looking to the future”, or even make any updates to it at all, I feel as though the attraction itself still needs some sort of refurbishment. In 2020 alone, there were several occasions where the audio-animatronics would break and fall apart (literally). In one instance, John’s hand fell off right in the middle of a show, which, you could imagine, isn’t the most magical thing to see.
Regardless of if Disney decides to update the scenes to better reflect the future of now, they should take some time to give a little TLC to the animatronics.
Whether or not Disney is thinking about updating Carousel of Progress or not (at this time, Disney has not confirmed anything), I just really want to see the company keep Walt’s legacy alive and not change the attraction too much. This is one of the very few attractions (others being The Enchanted Tiki Room, the Walt Disney Railroad, and “it’s a small world”) that Walt, himself, had a say in and helped create at Walt Disney World, despite him not ever stepping foot inside the Magic Kingdom.
Just remember, there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day.
Would you like to see Disney update Carousel of Progress? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: The opinions reflected in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.