Dozens of Guests Run off of Disney Ride After It Was Deemed Racist and Offensive

in Walt Disney World

Nighttime view of the iconic carousel of progress attraction at Disney, recently evacuated, featuring its futuristic architecture and illuminated signage.

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It’s the only attraction at Walt Disney World Resort that’s older than Magic Kingdom Park itself! However, recent reports suggest that the ride might be operating on borrowed time as guests repeatedly use emergency exits without permission.

The Carousel of Progress originated at the 1964 World’s Fair. It moved to Disneyland Park before finally making its way to Magic Kingdom Park’s Tomorrowland, where it temporarily featured a new theme song and storyline. Walt Disney Imagineers restored it to its original condition two decades ago, including the now iconic tune, “It’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

Fans have long begged for updates beyond the recent clothing makeover. The “futuristic” final scene now features outdated technology, like a car phone, and the Progress family dreams about mystical technology that is now mainstream. The attraction increasingly breaks down, leading some to believe that Walt Disney World Resort isn’t adequately caring for it.

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Brittany DiCologero, Inside the Magic

However, none of these are the reasons for a recent call for Walt Disney World Resort to close the Carousel of Progress. Last year, Disney Parks fans publicly lamented the attraction’s reference to the first movie with sound. In Act Two, set in the 1920s, the father says:

“Jazz music is the cat’s meow, and there’s been ads in the paper for months for a movie starring Al Jolson—and he’s going to talk! And sing! Boy, I’ve gotta see that.”

“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 Al Jolson, a man famous for his blackface performances,” u/Big_Pomelo_2786 wrote on Reddit. “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.”

walt disney carousel of progress resized
Credit: Disney

In another instance, a priest slammed the Carousel of Progress’s depiction of a white patriarchal family. From Rachel (@nerdypriest) on TikTok:

@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

“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.”

This week, multiple reports revealed that dozens of Disney Park guests are running out of the Carousel of Progress–but not because the attraction upset them.

“On our most recent trip we were stuck in the Carousel of Progress…in the 1920s room for three full playthroughs,” u/quicksilver895 recalled. “I love the Carousel of Progress… Once… Three plays in the same room was worse than being stuck on Small World. It was on its fourth when everybody collectively stood up and walked out of the emergency exit.”

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Kelly Verdeck, Flickr

u/thedudedude had a similar experience:

“I was stuck on [Carousel] of Progress because a lot of people who were not native English speakers kept standing up and or exiting through the emergency exits in the back. Despite cast members repeatedly [instructing] people that the show doesn’t work unless everyone stays seated, it was no use. After about the 15th time seeing the turn of the century, they just gave up and evacuated the ride.”

Carousel of Progress man sitting with a dog
Credit: Disney Parks

u/mikochu, too:

“At the Carousel of Progress, the audience ‘disc’ stopped moving between scenes. After the 4-5th loop, everyone started to get up and exit. It was a surprisingly long walk back into the park. We were surprised cast members weren’t escorting us…it was almost like they didn’t know what was going on.”

“My family and I were stuck on the 2nd scene,” u/ds1224 replied. “Eventually some people were leaving and that was making things worse.”

Never leave your seat or exit an attraction unless instructed by a Disney cast member. Even rides that seem safe have hidden mechanisms that can seriously injure guests.

Is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress outdated and politically incorrect? What would you change about the attraction? Share your opinion with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

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