2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Now is the time. Now is the best time. Now is the best time to profile the Carousel of Progress
at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the 10th seed in the Best Movie or Animated Show bracket of Theme Park Insider's 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament
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.
I enjoy this show. It's like an AA time capsule of the 20th century.
One of my all time favorite Magic Kingdom attractions. While it is definitely showing its age, CoP is a "must do" every time I visit the park. Rumors abound that this attraction will soon become just another monument sitting on display at Epcot, which is a shame. Fun, informative, nostalgic, tremendously dated, but still worth a visit. Catch it while you still can.
I love this attraction. I loved it as a six year old and still do as a thirty year old. One of the best things about this attraction, is no crowd and fantastic air conditioning. Being able to sit down and relax isn't half bad either.
I was glad to see this replaced by "America Sings" at Disneyland (not so glad to see the latter replaced by the a big empty, closed building for 10 or so years followed by mini-Innoventions in there now). I think this one's well past its prime, and should be replaced with something that DOES fit in "Tomorrowland."
The first attraction in this tournament and one of the few attractions that gets a
Just a great ride. Classic. Must see every time I visit.
By the way, I usually like Robert's write-ups, but it's a bit odd to nominate an attraction, and then do nothing but bash it. What's up with that, Robert?
COP is truely a Classic, one of the few attractions that actually rates a capital "C" in the word. Unfortunately, unless Disney will commit to a yearly update, and not an every decade massive redesign that shuts down an attraction for months, it will always be playing catch-up with the Present passing the Future. They need an Imagineer team dedicated to a continuous monitoring of COP, planing on what to do this year to keep it current.
Zachary and I both love Carousel of Progress, and always visit it 3 or 4 times each trip. What's that saying
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........what a snooze. I havent been on C.o.p in 10 years. In the footprint that this dinosaur leaves in tommorrowland we could put something futuristic. Something thats not a stale old show with creaky animatronics and dated notions of "tommorrow." Instead of adding a new dumbo ride to fantasyland, Disney should have rip this and that crappy tommorrowland speedway out and made something that makes me want to go to magic kingdom.
"Take that you nincompoop"
My most favorite ride at Disney World, period.
Hey, I love the song. Mostly, I was just trying to set up the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference/joke, which exactly zero people seem to have gotten. Oh well, humor fail, I guess.
The CoP rocks, period.
Man, I would've loved to ride this ride in it's prime. It must've been amazing!!! Still is today...
Luis, why stop with removing CoP? Sure it is one of the last vestiges of Walt Disney in the Magic Kingdom, but what does it matter when we can have another three minute thrill ride instead? Heck, as part of the Fantasyland refurb why not just get rid of all that family stuff and stick a few uber coasters in the park, rip out any semblance of story and theme, hire more teenagers, serve food McDonald's would be ashamed of, drop the quality and cleanliness of the park by a few degrees, and change the name above "Magic Kingdom" from Walt Disney to Six Flags?
Well put James
I agree with Mr. Rao 100 percent. He's is absolutely right and thats why THEME parks like Disney, Universal, and Sea World always have the higher attendance numbers.
Thanks James, from someone past the Baby Boomer age! :)
Even 21 years after my initial visit (That I at least remember) to Disney World, this is still one of the rides I haul my friends and husband on each and every time we're back down in Florida! I'm always happy some classic "Disney" survived!
looks like i'm in the minority but i dont like this attraction. i got dragged to it 20 years ago..i didnt like it then..i went to it recently and i still dont care for it.
I always loved the carousel of progress. I remember when it first came to DL. What I miss, and what should be always part of the ride, is the city of the future. I watched the video...loved it...but it should lead to an escalator to a look at what the future might bring. An updated carousel would be great! Bring it into current times. Gone is the home of the future. Maybe the carousel is the way to go.
Hey, I think luis is right. It's time to rip out that dinosaur. Put it where it belongs...back where all the other attractions that had Walt's personal stamp on it are. That's right, Disneyland! You other coasters have had it long enough and we (finally) got some peeps out here that knows how to keep stuff in shape!
I love this attraction. I remember seeing in at the '64-65 World's Fair when I was a kid. It was great then and it's still great now. The scene of the future was more intriguing back then than it is now. They need to keep that updated more.
Carousel of Progress is the first ride my 13 year old daughter wants to do when we visit Disneyworld. I don't know what her fascination is I don't have anything against the ride except that the song gets stuck in your head for the rest of your trip, but she loves it and when we read a couple years ago that they were going to take it out of Magic Kingdom and put it in the Smithsonian she wanted to start a petition to stop it she actually cried over it. She has been going to Disney since she was 2 and if they ever get rid of this ride I will probably have to take her for counseling. Haha
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