by Soarin’ Diva
It can get HOT at Walt Disney World! I’m talking, hot enough to melt into a puddle, right there in the middle of Main Street U.S.A. That’s when you have to start looking for those indoor attractions with AIR-CONDITIONING. There are several to choose from, Stitch’s Great Escape, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion…the list goes on and on. My husband’s absolute favorite indoor Magic Kingdom attraction is Carousel of Progress. The first time he took us to see it, I will confess, I was NOT a fan. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate some good air-conditioning, but sitting in the slow moving attraction for twenty minutes or so, when I could be on Space Mountain, wasn’t one of my favorite things to do. Something has happened to me in the last couple of years though. Dare I say it? I’ve learned to actually appreciate and enjoy Carousel of Progress. Let me fill you in on the highlights of the attraction.
Carousel of Progress was originally imagined by Walt Disney himself specifically for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. It was such a success, it was placed in Disneyland and brought to Walt Disney World at a later date. A huge leap in the world of animatronics, the attraction was ahead of its time when it first opened. Let’s take a look at what you will enjoy as you immerse yourself into the leaps and bounds of progress throughout the decades portrayed in the Carousel of Progress.
As you enter the attraction, you will be directed to take a seat. This is an air-conditioned attraction where you are able to sit in comfortable chairs, so just sit back and enjoy the next twenty minutes. This is a ride in which the room you are sitting slowly rotates around; because of the rotation, the cast members will stop the attraction if you stand, so whatever you do, remain seated.
You will rotate through four rooms, each room dedicated to a different era. The ride begins at the turn of the century near Valentine’s Day. You are introduced to the main character, John, his wife, Sarah, their children, Jimmy and Patricia, and the family dog, Rover. John begins telling you, the audience, of all the advances they now enjoy. They now enjoy the perks of the telephone, gas lamps, ice boxes, it only takes five hours to do laundry (yikes!), and there are close to 8000 automobiles owned in the United States. As John wraps up his dialogue for the first room, the catchy theme song begins playing. You will probably be singing There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow for the rest of the day.
You are now entering the second room, which takes place a little over twenty years later. The family is getting ready for Fourth of July festivities. Sarah is sewing costumes for her and John to wear in the parade. John tells you of the progress made since the turn of the century. They now have the luxuries of electricity, complete with cords strung throughout the kitchen to pump power into all the appliances. The world is getting ready to watch the first flight of an airplane to take place. Sports stadiums are being built, jazz music is popular and the big news is that the family now has indoor plumbing. John then introduces you to Uncle Orville, who is lying in the bathtub enjoying his homemade air-conditioning, ending this room on a humorous note.
Transitioning into the third room, you are entering the 1940’s now. It is Halloween and John is excited to tell you that they now are the proud owners of a real refrigerator. He also informs you that the family has a television. Grandma and Grandpa are in another room watching the television, and as Grandpa falls asleep, Grandma flips over to watch a boxing match. You then see Patti (Patricia) in her room using Grandma’s exercise machine, an old one from the 1920’s, while chatting on the phone. Soarin’ Diva Tip – Check out the pictures on Patti’s wall. On the upper left corner of her wall, there is a picture of Walt Disney himself.
In the fourth and final room, it is now Christmas time. The date is not given, but it is understood that it is supposed to be very far into the future. Patti and Jimmy are now finally teenagers. As Patti and Grandpa sit near the Christmas tree, Jimmy and Grandma are enjoying a virtual reality video game. John is in the kitchen preparing the Christmas turkey. Sarah has just programmed a voice activation system for the home on her computer. The system is used to control things like electricity. Soarin’ Diva Tip – If you are a fan of finding hidden Mickey’s, this is the room to concentrate on. There should be four hidden Mickey’s. You will be looking for a plush Mickey, a pepper mill Mickey, a Mickey nutcracker and an abstract painting of Mickey. The attraction ends with John inadvertently adjusting the oven temperature with the new voice activation system, and burning the Christmas turkey. The family laughs and tries to imagine how much more progress they will get to see in their lifetime before that catchy tune plays one last time.
Now that you have had an overview of this attraction, I invite you to stop in next time you are passing by. Give it a try, take a seat, kick back, relax while enjoying the air conditioning. I would be willing to bet that if you do, you, too, will find yourself tapping your feet & singing along with the song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” as you are enjoying the attraction. I know I’m humming that song right now with a smile on my face.
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