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VIDEO: Walt Disney Talks Creating Carousel of Progress

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

As Nate shared earlier this morning, this week marks the 40th anniversary of the Carousel of Progress here at Walt Disney World Resort – a now we have a special treat to share with you. What better way to celebrate this classic attraction’s anniversary than by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the carousel led by Walt Disney himself.

This video clip was originally featured in “Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair,” which aired on television on May 17, 1964. In it, Walt gives viewers behind-the-scenes looks at the Carousel of Progress, one of a handful of attractions he and his team of WED engineers were creating for the then-upcoming 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. In it, Walt proudly shows off the carousel’s model, tours the sets as they’re being built, shows off the latest Audio-Animatronics technology, and offers up the first listen to the attraction’s theme song, “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

It’s clear that Walt put a lot of heart and imagination into this attraction. Check it out below.

Comments

  • This was awesome! Like others have mentioned, it is great to see Walt himself demonstrating attractions, and showing us “behind the magic”. I’d love to see an updated version of this to know if it is still being run on all those tapes, or if it has “Progress”-ed to digital! :)

  • Love every single Disney original clasic like this one ! Makes me feel they keep Walt alive somehow :)

  • I remember as a kid watching with my parents The Wonderful World of Disney and Mr Disney describing the different “attractions” at the 1965 Worlds Fair. I lived in the state of New York and we were able to go to the Worlds Fair because my father was an employee of GE! I will always remember seeing the COP there and how fantastic it was for everyone! People really identified with the “progress” scenes and having the moving seats was quite a talked about feature and a fantastic futuristic element to the show. My mother loved the dogs, my father smoked a pipe so he liked the dad, and as a 10 year old kid I fell in love with the “Disney Magic” that is still strong today. Many thanks for the post, the wonderful memories, and to Mr Disney and the Imagineers who made it happen.

  • Happy 40th Carousel of Progress! Thanks so much for sharing this. My whole family LOVES COP, and, being able to see Walt give a demonstration of it is just perfect! :-)

  • I love Carousel of Progress in the Magic Kingdom it’s awesome! I can’t wait to see it again! Awesome!

  • As a 46 year old ‘little kid’, COP is still one of my fave attractions at WDW, and I’m fascinated by the work of your Imagineers and all the development that goes on back stage. So, to me, this video (have seen it before – a long time ago) is awesome. We’re heading over to WDW from the UK in July – and will most certainly be enjoying the Carousel again. The theme tune’s in my head again… and I’m lovin’ it !

  • One of my biggest regrets is that my daughter has not seen COP yet. Seeing this reminds me of the fun I had with my Dad and how much we loved the show. I sang this song for many years and will probably sing it many more. Hopefully, I can take my daughter again so she will have this memory also.

  • This is AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing. I love the show and consider it timeless. I hope Disney never outgrows this. The song gives me hope for the future and brings back wonderful memories.

  • This was my dads favorite attraction at Disney – the company he worked for was a GE subcontractor at the NYWF and dad and his team helped with the building and on-site assembly of the COP in the ’60s. One of dads fondest memories was the day Walt visited to see how construction was going. What was supposed to be a 20 minute visit turned into several hours as he insisted on climbing around inside to see how the assembly was going and getting descriptions from the guys doing the work on each feature. Dad always liked how Walt came across as “a regular guy who just wanted to know how things worked.”

  • No trip to the Magic Kingdom and Tomorrowland is complete without seeing the Carousel of Progress. Truly one of my favorites. It always amazes me how much work and technology goes into these attractions!

    • Fun!

  • Wow, what a fun behind-the-scenes tour from Walt himself! I have always loved the nostalgic feeling of Carousel of Progress and it’s always a must do on every Disney trip! Thanks for sharing this :)

    • I love seeing how proud and excited he was to share what his team was working on. You can tell he couldn’t wait to show off his latest and greatest project.

  • One of the most memorable attractions from my first trip to Disneyland in 1970! Just saw it again last year in Florida and it still holds up!

    • That’s great to hear you enjoyed it, Kelly!

  • Thank you very much for sharing this video of a much beloved classic attraction!

  • The COP has been a favorite ever since I waited on long lines back at the 64 World’s Fair. Now that I’m a “little” older, I have to question the progress of moving from the idylic farm to the crowded city. The first three acts seem to reflect Walt Disney’s life seen in One Man’s Dream; the farm, the city, his home in the Los Feliz section of LA in the 40’s.

    We make sure we visit the COP every trip to the Magic Kingdom.

    One question for you: Who is the little girl helping Sara with the laundry in the first act?

  • This is our favorite attraction. What a great clip, thanks for finding and sharing. I had not seen that before.

  • I love seeing behind the scenes. It doesn’t spoil the magic, but makes me appreciate it even more! Give us more, please!!

    • I’m happy you liked it, Patricia.

  • One of my family’s favorite attractions (truth be told, they’re all favorites). Love these video posts with Walt in them!!

    • We’re happy we could share it, John! :)

  • Happy birthday Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress!
    I saw this fabulous show for the first time when I had 5 years old and I loved. Now, I have 16 years old and I will say only one thing about that: this always will be my FAVORITE thing that Walt Disney has done. I absolutely will LOVE the WALT DISNEY’S CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS until the day I die!
    William, a Carousel of Progress’s fan.

  • I love the COP & have been visiting it since I was a little girl! I hope that WDW never decides to get rid of this classic attraction. My girls love it & we always visit it several times each trip! I would love to see it refurbished a bit though to include a new final scene perhaps (with some Ipod or Iphones, lol) I do think that Walt would want understand that technology is always changing & that last scene is a bit dated…but please leave it in WDW, where it always belongs. It’s always a highlight to many.

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