2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Published: January 22, 2010 at 4:54 PM
The Carousel of Progress was one of three Disney attractions that debuted not in a Disney theme park, but at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. (The other were Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and It's a Small World, both now playing at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.) In 1975, the show moved to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and now Disney boasts that the show has had "more performances than any other stage show in history."
It's not always been the same show, though. When the show moved from its post-fair home at Disneyland to Walt Disney World, the Sherman Brothers wrote a new theme song for the show, "The Best Time of Your Life (Now is the Time)" replacing their original "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow." Rumor had it that the show's sponsor, General Electric, wanted people buying appliances today, not tomorrow. But one also could make a solid case that Disney needed to freshen a show that's been playing at Disneyland for nearly a decade, and also had played on the east coast once before.
In 1994, General Electric bowed out as sponsor, and Disney revamped the show again, return the original "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" theme.
Carousel of Progress remains a visitor favorite, in large due to the Sherman Brothers' songs, not to mention being one of those welcomed cool, dark places to sit on a blistering Florida summer day. As for the show itself, the stages representing the life 1900s, 20s and 40s might have worked for audiences in the mid-60s, but audiences in the 2010s contain too few visitors who have any memory of those times and the sets just don't seem all that different from one another. And the fourth set, "Christmas in 2000," seems almost cringe-worthy as a mid-1990s vision of what life was going to be like 10 years ago.
I mean, 10 years ago from now, or six years in the future from then. (Quick, someone fetch me Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's "Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations.")
Anyway, here's a look at the show:
Any Carousel of Progress fans out there? Haters? Let's hear your thoughts about the show, in the comments.