It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom Says Long Time Disney World Devotee

in Disney, Disney Parks, Featured, 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, nestled in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, symbolizes technological innovation and storytelling prowess. This beloved attraction debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair before finding its permanent home in Disney World continues to captivate visitors with its nostalgic charm and optimistic vision of the future.

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

Today, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a testament to a time of innovative imagination, when the grand designer himself had a hand in those fantastical experiences guests would enjoy at his Disney Park, Disneyland. Although Walt Disney never stepped foot in a finished Walt Disney World, Carousel of Progress possesses the same feel and stature as popular attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, and unlike Disney World’s version, Walt actually played a hand in its creation.

For this reason, the Carousel of Progress is beloved by so many guests of Magic Kingdom. Although it has been updated over the decades, the Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World remains a quaint reminder of Disney days past, filling hearts with nostalgic Disney vibes. From its journey from the World’s Fair to Disney World, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is one of the “holy” untouchables at the Florida resort, or so we think.

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

As guests step into the Carousel Theater, they are taken on a journey through the 20th century, following the same American family through different eras, each showcasing the prevalent technological advancements of the time. From the turn of the century to today, the attraction celebrates progress, family values, and the enduring spirit of optimism.

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

The attraction’s iconic theme song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” penned by the Sherman Brothers, has become synonymous with the ride itself. The catchy tune perfectly encapsulates the overarching message of hope and progress that resonates throughout the experience.

The ride also features narration from the late, great Jean Shepherd, probably most famously known for his voice talent in 1983’s A Christmas Story. Even outside of the Worlds Fair, calling Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom home, the Carousel of Progress related to guests at Disney World.

One cannot mention the Carousel of Progress without paying homage to Uncle Orville, John Progress, and the rest of the lovable Audio-Animatronic cast that brings the show to life. Their endearing quirks and humorous interactions add depth to the attraction, making it a memorable and engaging experience for guests of all ages.

Carousel of Progress Needs…Well, Progress

Outside of the mystery surrounding that one missing daughter, guests notice some other things about Carousel of Progress as the years go by. Unlike rides like Haunted Mansion, John and his family have not withstood the test of time very well.

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

The popular stage show deals with concepts of progress through the turn of the century, which has become a little outdated. As Disney World guests now live in an age beyond anything Walt Disney could have imagined, the attraction doesn’t do a fantastic job of meshing in at Tomorrowland.

Like Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, Carousel of Progress relies heavily on complex audio-animatronics. However, unlike those older attractions that Walt had a hand in, from the first scene to the final scene, John and his family feel clunky and outdated.

Progress Stinks

Another issue that’s been cited by familiar fan sites is the awful smell surrounding Carousel of Progress. If you haven’t noticed it, imagine a combination of cat urine and fuel. Apparently, that’s what progress smells like.

Related: Official: Iconic Carousel of Progress To Be Changed at Disney World

The age of the ride, combined with its mechanical parts and a stale building that doesn’t seem to run the AC in cooler months (it’s still Florida), has created an interesting scent combination that burns the nostrils.

Long Time Lover of Carousel of Progress Fears the Worst

Amongst the landmarks at Magic Kingdom, the Carousel of Progress doesn’t seem to get the love as Cinderella Castle or other theme park attractions. Despite its cemented position in Disney History, fortified by work from Disney legends like Robert Sherman, Mel Blanc, and Rex Allen, outside of a few minor updates and repairs, Carousel of Progress certainly seems old.

That’s why even some of the biggest fans of the ride who have been enjoying it at Walt Disney World for decades are starting to change their tunes. One, in particular, spoke with me a week ago after hopping off a quick spin around the century, and the pain in her voice and face was palpable.

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

“It’s time. It smells and looks so bad. If they can’t update it, it’s time to take it down and put something here that’s better suited,” said Mary.

Mary has been visiting Walt Disney World for a long time, and Carousel of Progress is always on her must-do list. Her homemade ears, which featured the attraction’s gear-bearing logo, told me all I needed to. She was an extreme devotee to the attraction, and so was her mother, who had been visiting with her since Mary was a little girl. Carousel of Progress is their favorite attraction, but both women agreed it was time to move on.

Related: Facts and Secrets About Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

“We’ve been enjoying this ride together for over 40 years, but I can’t bear to smell and see it this way. I wish Disney would do something. Fix it, modernize it, or just replace it. Isn’t that what progress is, after all?” asked Beth, Mary’s mother.

The comments made me think about how other devoted guests would react to the news of Carousel of Progress going away at Walt Disney World. The ride has its own sub-culture, with some even claiming it’s weirdly connected to Living with the Land at EPCOT. As Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is not just a ride; it is a testament to Walt Disney’s vision of creating immersive and inspirational entertainment for all, it holds a special place in the hearts of Disney purists. Its enduring popularity and appeal make it a must-visit attraction for many who adore it. However, for those visiting Walt Disney World more casually, it’s not a must-do, leading to empty seats. Maybe it is time; maybe Mary is right.

in Disney, Disney Parks, Featured, Walt Disney World

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