Fans Exit “Offensive” Disney Ride as Petition for Retheme Gains Traction

in Walt Disney World

walt disney carousel of progress resized

Credit: Disney

Last month, Walt Disney World Resort cast members frantically attempted to stop guests from exiting a moving attraction that previously killed a Disneyland Park employee. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress has stirred controversy in the last year for mechanical malfunctions and outdated themes that some guests find offensive.

History of The Carousel of Progress

The Carousel of Progress is a 20-minute rotating theatrical show in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park. Initially conceived as “Progress City” for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, the attraction briefly lived at Disneyland Park before finding a home at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975. Though it underwent some changes over the years, Walt Disney Imagineers restored the Carousel of Progress to its original condition and re-incorporated its original theme song, “It’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” in 1994.

Patricia in Carousel of Progress, Taylor Swift dupe
Credit: MamaneedstoDisney

The attraction has seen few updates since. The final “futuristic” scene still laughably mentions the magic of self-cleaning ovens and car phones, though Imagineers did makeover the animatronics’ hairstyles and clothing. Maintenance on the ride is so lacking that one of the animatronics’ hands fell off in front of guests this year.

Some fans want Walt Disney World Resort to update the Carousel of Progress. Others want it gone for good, especially those who dislike the attraction’s depiction of the “traditional” American family and questionable historical references.

Guests Take Offense

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

“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.”

Increasingly, guests are fed up with the Carousel of Progress’s length, content, and flaws. Last month, TikTok user @y0ungbl00dpeaches shared this video of multiple Disney Park guests trying to exit the rotating attraction:

@y0ungbl00dpeaches

#carouselofprogress #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #magickingdom

♬ original sound – abby.marie

In the video, seated guests became frustrated because the Carousel of Progress automatically stopped whenever the guests violated the ride’s safety guidelines. They groaned as fellow passengers stood up again just as a cast member announced that the attraction would start moving in 40 seconds.

“Guys, you can’t leave,” one guest yelled. “Stop leaving! You’re going to ruin it.”

“Hi, friends, just a reminder that this is a 20-minute show, and you cannot leave halfway through,” the Disney cast member announced over the loudspeaker.

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

Other guests clapped as the antsy family finally sat down, and the Carousel of Progress resumed.

The video amassed tens of thousands of likes and comments. Most users were appalled at the guests who tried to leave.

“Granted it was a little boring but I loved this ride, got to sit with AC for 20 minutes while it was hot out,” said @karepocalypse.

Carousel of Progress man sitting with a dog
Credit: Disney

“This show is great,” @the_j3nn agreed. “It feels like taking a quick nap in an old basement.”

“A 20 min show turns into a 2 hrs of waiting for them to fix it!” @mminjax replied.

A few commenters argued they had the right to leave whenever they wanted.

A captivating view of a fairytale castle with spires, under a dramatic sky with scattered clouds and beams of sunlight, surrounded by lush greenery.
Credit: Becky Burkett, Inside the Magic

“I’m so glad you got through this,” @aidan.was teased. “That must have been really difficult for you.”

“‘You can’t leave!’ Watch me 😂,” @saltycapricorn wrote.

Still, others shared the grim reality behind the cast member’s warning.

space mountain at disneyland
Credit: Disney

“If y’all think these people are dramatic for telling people to sit down…just keep in mind that a cast member died on America Sings at Disneyland, which had the same system as Carousel of Progress,” @towerofthe4winds said.

America Sings Tragedy

In 1974, an attraction hostess named Deborah Gail Stone was crushed to death between a rotating and stationary wall on the America Sings attraction. She was just 18 and the first cast member to die in an accident at Disneyland Park.

A group of animatronics from America Sings
Credit: D23

America Sings closed for days following her death, allowing Imagineers to install a warning light to alert cast members who got too close to a dangerous area. They later replaced the solid wall that trapped Stone with a breakaway wall to prevent a similar accident.

Never exit a moving Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort attraction. Alert a Disney cast member if you need immediate assistance.

Should Walt Disney World Resort replace Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress or leave it as is? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments section.

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