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Disney Days of Past: Carousel of Progress Marks 40 Years at Magic Kingdom Park

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Forty years ago this week, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress opened at Magic Kingdom Park and this classic attraction has entertained guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort for generations. Here’s a look at the Carousel of Progress being built in 1974.

Carousel of Progress being built in 1974 Carousel of Progress being built in 1974

Sponsored by General Electric when the attraction first opened, the Carousel of Progress theme song was changed to “The Best Time of Your Life” mirroring GE’s philosophy when opening in Florida. After going through a rehab in 1993, the song “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” returned along with the Carousel’s family celebrating four holidays – Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas. Below is a look at the original final scene from 1975 version.

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The Carousel of Progress is still a “must do” on our list of attractions to visit every time my family visits Magic Kingdom Park – a true, classic Walt Disney original.

Comments

  • It is a timeless treasure that my parents love, i love, and now my children love!! One to keep around forever!

  • Love CoP! I remember seeing the original show at the the New York World’s Fair in 1965 and loved it when it opened at WDW in the 70’s. Just bought a CoP 40th anniversary shirt from the Disney Store that I plan to wear on the attraction when we visit in June.

  • We love it !, a classic. So sad last year on our first visit to disneyland to see it is no longer there, nor the peoplemover…

  • Nate,

    My wife and I celebrated the 44th anniversary of our first trip to Disneyland this past November. One of my most vivid memories of that visit is the GE carousel of progress. Living in the western United States we go to Disneyland far more often but The carousel of progress was one of the highlights of our two visits to Walt Disney World over the years.

    I enjoy Disney history and have a question. Did the original version of the GE carousel of progress run simultaneously in both parks or did the Disneyland version change 40 years ago when the carousel opened in Walt Disney World? I can’t remember when they began singing Jeremiah was a bullfrog at the Disneyland attraction! LOL

    Mike

    • Hi Mike-

      As you can see from answers from above, it did not run simultaneously at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It moved from Disneyland to Walt Disney World and America Sings opened at Disneyland following Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress opening at Walt Disney World.

  • Fabulous classic Disney world attraction, this ride is a “MUST DO”! We ride this ride every time we go to WDW, this is the experience that did & always will make Walt proud! Please let me know if there will be an anniversary pin made for this wonderful celebration of history & memories! Happy 40th Anniversary Carousel of Progess! I hope there will be many years to come.- The Disney Pin Princesses

  • Thank you for sharing these amazing pics! Our family visits this attraction several times each trip. Always a favorite! AND the day before we begin our Disney vacation, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” is sung numerous times by all members of the family! 🙂

  • I love the Carousel of Progress! I always make a point of visiting on each trip. I hope that WDW keeps it around for a long time to come.

  • This is our favorite ride! We look forward to it every time we visit WDW- the park would not be same without it. The Carousel of Progress is history, not just its own, but ours. We recently took our 90 and 85 year old mothers to WDW (my mom rode the new Dwarf roller coaster and loved it!) with our youngest son. After going on the CofP, it brought back many memories and they told him stories about their younger days all afternoon. Thanks for a look at how it was built- very interesting.

    • You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed this look back!

  • Was just on it Saturday, January 12, as much fun as ever! Have been riding with my family and friends since it first open!

  • This is a timeless attraction that appeals to all generations – I loved it as a kid and now my kids love it, too! Thanks for spotlighting it. These types of articles – dealing with the history of the parks and attractions – are the best content on this blog. More, please!

  • I’m assuming so, but does Carousel still use the same track or rail in those pictures? I love seeing the inner workings of attractions!

    • Hi Robbie-

      Great question. My friends at The Walt Disney Archives and Walt Disney Imagineering Library had this to say about your question:

      The attraction has gone under several renovations, being updated with maintenance and new show elements over time. The glorious content and design aspect of the attraction is that it begs for…well…progress! 🙂

  • I love this attraction!! The Carousel Of Progress is a classic Disney attraction which along with the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and several others should ALWAYS be a part of Walt Disney World!!! Don’t even think about closing any of our classics!! (And please bring back Dreamfinder & Figment to their former glory at Journey Into Imagination in EPCOT too!!!) Thanks!!!

  • Was Carousel of Progress moved from Disneyland or completely rebuilt including the animatronics?

    • Hi Antonio-
      Here’s an answer from my friends at The Walt Disney Archives and Walt Disney Imagineering Library:

      The attraction, in its essence, was moved from the New York World’s Fair to Disneyland, and then to Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World. Set pieces, props, and Audio-Animatronics® figures were moved each time, from one venue to the next. The show building was built anew at Disneyland, as well as at Magic Kingdom Park. As America Sings replaced the Disneyland version of the show (utilizing similar technologies), a show building for the Florida version needed to be built. It’s worth noting that AA technologies have been updated throughout the attraction several times over the years (as to be expected), from the New York World’s Fair, to today!

  • Love this show! Enjoyed as much last week as I did when I first saw it with my parents in the ’90s.

    • Every time my family visits Magic Kingdom Park this is on our ‘must-do’ list. 🙂

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