Priest Calls Out Racist, Sexist Ideology on Iconic Disney World Attraction

in Walt Disney World

Left: A woman talking into a cell phone camera. Right: An adult male animatronic sitting in a chair on the Carousel of Progress.

Credit: @nerdypriest / Disney

Fans called on Walt Disney World Resort to change an allegedly racist reference in the Carousel of Progress in February. A Priest added to the conversation about the Magic Kingdom ride this week.

What is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress?

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress premiered at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in New York. After a short run at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney’s creation moved to its permanent home next to Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park. The family at its center has changed throughout the years but remains focused on past and future technological advancements.

Walt Disney standing next to Carousel of Progress model
Credit: Disney

“Travel through the 20th century and marvel at the evolution of technology during this classic Audio-Animatronics show,” the official Walt Disney World Resort ride description reads. “Follow an American family over 4 generations of progress and watch technology transform their lives.”

Related: Special Hidden Mickey Makes Annual Appearance on His Birthday

“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!”

What Needs Changing?

TikTok creator and Priest Rachel (@nerdypriest) dissected the Carousel of Progress during a recent Walt Disney World Resort vacation:

@nerdypriest

Look, I just hace some feelings about our great big beautiful tomorrow @MayorLovecraft #disney #disneyadult #carouselofprogress #wdw #progress #progressive #marriedcouple

♬ Cena Engraçada e Inusitada de 3 Minutos – HarmonicoHCO

“What does it say about us that after a day at Disney World, we’re too tired to basically walk, and yet, on the way back to our room, we’re deconstructing the messages of the Carousel of Progress?” Rachel joked.

carousel of progress exterior
Credit: Disney

“I’m just saying that I want to write a dissertation not only on questioning the idea that progress is a linear idea and always inherently for the good, and also just the very sad idea of progress that while technology changes, the fundamental structure of the family and the patriarchal order is maintained throughout all of it,” she said. “It’s also the whiteness of the prototypical white American family. There’s a lot. I have a lot of thoughts about the Carousel of Progress.”

Previous criticisms of the Disney Resort attraction also focused on the family’s whiteness and references to out-of-date, potentially offensive pop culture.

“Back in 2020 I went on the Carousel Of Progress for the first time and was shocked to hear a reference to The Jazz Singer, a movie starring All Jolson, a man famous for his blackface performances,” one Guest wrote. “While the film has significant historical value, as it was the first film to have audio that is recognizable, it is today only really known for its blackface. I am confused on how I feel about the line still being around, as while it is referencing a film resolved around blackface, hiding America’s history isn’t the correct way around it either.”

Should Carousel of Progress change? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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