Google makes Disney fans' dark ride dreams come true

January 8, 2019, 9:30 PM · For years, Disney theme park fans have longed for an update to the Carousel of Progress. Walt Disney's 1964 World's Fair creation for General Electric showed how (GE's) technology helped a family through the decades, starting at the turn of the 20th century up until the modern day.

Trouble is, that modern day was now half a century ago. Disney made a few updates over the years to the show, which now plays at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, but the technology in its final scene seems almost as out of date these days as a hand-cranked washing machine.

Fans got version 2.0 of the Progress ride with Epcot's Horizons, which spawned the quote now widely misattributed to Walt Disney, "if you can dream it, you can do it." But that attraction — also sponsored by GE — closed 20 years ago tomorrow, on January 9, 1999, to make way for Mission: Space.

But today, 20 years later, Carousel of Progress and Horizons fans can board a new ride that shows how a big American company's technology is helping modern families in their everyday life. The ride is not at a Disney theme park, however. It's at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.

Google is the sponsor of this attraction, which illustrates one family's use of Google Assistant over the course of a day. Here's the ride through:

Okay, the limited animation isn't quite up to modern Disney theme park standards. But unlike the 1964 New York Fair, which ran for two six-month seasons to justify big installation expenses, the CES will run only until Friday, so just the fact that Google commissioned and installed a freakin' dark ride for its show pavilion is pretty much amazing. And the song is great!

The video embed above is a 360-degree video, so you can look around. The ride follows well-established Disney dark ride conventions by using music to tell the story, a narrative journey to reinforce the ride experience, and even a party at the end to celebrate the adventure. (What, no Winnie the Pooh?)

What did you think of The Google Assistant Ride?

Replies (7)

January 8, 2019 at 9:52 PM

Wow! Pretty nice. Fun to watch in the 360, even backwards to see the train.

Which company (companies) did the concept, build...?

January 8, 2019 at 9:56 PM

I am assuming that someone from the creative design team behind this will message me to take credit?

Anyone?

January 8, 2019 at 10:49 PM

That is absolutely fantastic! Can’t wait to find out who the creative team is behind that.

January 9, 2019 at 10:22 AM

That was too fun!!! Is it safe to say this is the first "dark ride" ever at CES??

January 9, 2019 at 10:41 AM

If there were a dark ride just begging to be transported to Innoventions, this'd be it.

January 9, 2019 at 3:33 PM

This is fantastic! I'm sure many of us would like to see a 360 video of attractions/ dark rides that we all love, but there are probably a ton of issues with that idea. Love this though!

January 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Okay, hearing word that Anne Kelly, formerly of Thinkwell and Walt Disney Imagineering, was involved in the creative development of this ride. She's now internal with Google. Congratulations to Anne and the team!

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