For those of you looking for a really tame attraction or for something that hearkens back to the days of the 1964 World’s Fair that Walt Disney was so famous for working on, look no further than the carousel of progress in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. The ride takes its audience on a trip through time beginning with the early twentieth century and going all the way through the home of the future. The audience gets to hear all about the progress taking place throughout the century from the point of view of the father, the mother, and his daughter and son. The family all puts in their opinion on the advancement of society. The father ends each section with the optimistic chorus of “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day”. It really leaves its audience feeling optimistic about the days to come and how much progress we have gone through to get to the point that we are at today. The song is catchy, by the famous Sherman brothers that wrote “It’s a Small World” but it’s more of a ballad.
There is no real scream factor on this attraction, nor will it make you motion sick. Really it will make you nothing but nostalgic. The ride is one that you sit down in as you would for Mickey’s Philharmagic or Tough to Be a Bug. The only real difference between this and something like the Hall of Presidents is that the theater moves around a circular stage. Every section of the stage represents a new period of innovation in America. The movement is very slow and as soon as the chorus of the theme song queues up, you know that you are about to start moving again. The ride goes all the way around the circle before arriving back where it started for you to exit the attraction.
I will explain why, as an avid adrenaline junkie, I love this ride. I am not only a fan of the Walt Disney movies and parks, but also of Walt himself and as a lover of the history of the Disney Company, this ride means a lot. It was built for GE for the 1964 Worlds Fair and was later moved to Disneyland where it resided in Tomorrowland until 1973, and it opened in the Tomorrowland of WDW in 1975. It is the ONLY attraction in WDW that Walt Disney himself ever actually stepped foot on because of its previous home in Disneyland prior to his death in 1966. The Carousel of Progress was a piece of progress in and of itself, it furthered the innovation of audio animatronics and paved the ideological way for Spaceship Earth. It embodied the ideals of EPCOT long before the park was a realized vision. The Carousel of Progress will always hold a special place in my heart and I always ride it when I need a boost of confidence in the future!! “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day, there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow is just a dream away”.