Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

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Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
Carousel.jpg
The exterior of the Carousel of Progress
Magic Kingdom
Land Tomorrowland
Attraction type Audio Animatronic show
Theme Progress
Opening date January 15, 1975
Ride duration 20:45 minutes
Audio-Animatronics 32
Theater Capacity 240 guests
FastPass + No
Sponsored by General Electric (1975-1985)

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress is an attraction located in Tomorrowland.

Attraction History

The concept for the Carousel of Progress began in the late 1950s. At the time, Walt Disney was planning on expanding Main Street USA in Disneyland, with one of the expansions proposed being known as Edison Square. The main attraction of this new area was going to be a show hosted by an "electro-magnetic man", named Wilbur K. Watt, who would have chronicled the evolution of electricity in the home, from the late 19th century and beyond. The attraction would have consisted of a number of stationary scenes that progressed through time. After guests had finished watching one of the scenes, they would get up and move to the next one [1]. Although the attraction would have been sponsored by General Electric (GE), technological limitations and time constraints made the show impossible. Thus, the idea for the new attraction, and the Edison Square expansion in general, never came to fruition.

Show Development and the 1964 & 1965 World’s Fairs

Although the Edison Square concept never saw the dawn of day, General Electric was still interested in partnering with Disney. The company approached Walt, and asked him to create an attraction for the 1964 World's Fair in New York. When discussing what the pavilion would be, Walt reached back to his old idea, and once again pitched General Electric on the idea of an electrical progress show. GE loved the idea, and agreed to sponsor the new attraction [2].

The Progressland pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair

A big advancement in the development of the General Electric attraction was the fact that WED Engineers had finished the Audio Animatronic technology that they had been working on. Although the new technology was not yet perfect, it was good enough to start creating a show, which would eventually become the Carousel of Progress. Imagineers, including Disney legends Roger E. Broggie and Bob Gurr, also devised what they called a "Carousel Theater", a theater which actually rotated clockwise, allowing guests to move on to the next scene without having to stand up [3].

Since there would be a time lapse between when one scene ended and another started, Walt asked the Sherman Brothers to write a song that would bridge the scenes together. Walt was so excited about the show when he told them about it, his enthusiasm stuck with the Sherman Brothers as they worked on the song. The song that the brothers composed was an upbeat and optimistic number about the bright future on the horizon titled "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow". The Sherman Brothers later remarked, that they felt "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was like Walt's theme song because it featured the same kind of optimism about the future that he had [4].

In order to create the characters for the Carousel of Progress, a series of models and voice actors were brought in. The model for the father of the show was actor Preston Hanson, with Rex Allen as his voice. Another model was brought in to pose for the mother, while her voice was done by Rhonda Williams. Casts were made of Disney designer Harriet Burn's arms, which were used for both the mother and the daughter. The son and teenage daughter in the show were based on Disney designer Chick Mill's 8 year old son and 18 year old daughter. Disney Imagineer Richard Irvine's daughter also posed for the teenage daughter role [5].

The robins that sit outside the window in the first scene, were the same robins that Harriet Burns created for Marry Poppins[5]. The robins came from a Los Angeles museum, and were acquired in exchange for Disneyland tickets. Clarence Nash, the original voice of Donald Duck supplied the Robbins's chirping. Walt Disney himself came up with the idea for the family’s dog (he was also the one who suggested the dog change color and breed every scene). Walt was also personally involved in the creation of Cousin Orville, who is seen sitting in a bathtub during the second scene. The character was originally designed by Marc Davis for inclusion in the Edison Square attraction, but it was Walt who modeled his actions (Walt also came up with Orville's dialog as he was acting the character out). The famous voice actor Mel Blank supplied the voice for both Orville and the parrot that can be seen in the first scene. Blaine Gibson, who sculpted all of the characters, said that the grandmother in the attraction was based on his wife's grandmother. Her voice was done by Barbra Luddy [5].

The show opened at the 1964 World Fair inside General Electric’s Progressland Pavilion, and it was one of the most visited attractions at the fair. The show consisted of scenes featuring the 1890s, 1920s, 1940s and 1960s[6]. The unloading and unloading scenes featured the "kaleidophonic screen" which dazzled guests with various colors. After the show, guests were invited to go to the second floor of the pavilion and see the "Skydome Spectacular". Here, images of nature and energy were projected on the pavilion's domed roof (like a planetarium). The Skydome Spectacular also showcased how GE products were used to help get energy from the sun, and protect the environment.

Progressland was a huge hit with visitors, and even though nearly 200 people were loaded into the Carousel every four minutes, the wait usually hovered around an hour [7]. Based on this success, the Progressland show returned for the 1965 World's Fair [8]. This time, a large covered queue was constructed to protect guests from the sun. Due to its continued popularity, after the World’s Fair had ended, it was decided that the Carousel of Progress would be moved to Disneyland [9].

Move to Disneyland (1967)

On July 2, 1967, the attraction re-opened as the Carousel of Progress in Disneyland. Since the show had proved to be such a hit, General Electric decided to sponsor the attraction for ten years. A new theater was constructed in Disneyland, with the scenes being directly transported from the World's Fair [9]. Although the show remained essentially the same, a few changes were made. A new voice was recorded for "Sarah" (the mother), and the 1960's scene which was originally set during New Years was updated. Another minor change was the fact that in the 1940's scene, the father now sat on a bar stool instead of a kitchen bench. Also of note, all references to GE's failed "Medallion Home" campaign were dropped from the attraction.

After the conclusion of the show, guests could board a speed ramp and go to the second floor of the attraction. This floor consisted of a four minute post show, narrated by Sarah and John (the mother and father from the attraction) and it also held a large model that Disney had created for Progress City. The model was based on Walt Disney's original concepts for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), as well as the rest of Florida Project. [9]

Move to Walt Disney World (1975)

Although the Carousel of Progress did eventually make its way to the Magic Kingdom, this was not always the plan. In early 1970, Disney had planned on building a "carousel theater" on the location that would eventually become the Circle-Vision 360 Theater [10]. When this did not come to fruition, the carousel theater was eventually moved to the space next to a scaled down Space Mountain.

Walt Disney showing off his Carousel of Progress

Meanwhile, in the early 1970's the attendance of the Carousel of Progress in Disneyland began to dwindle. General Electric decided that it was not getting enough advertising from the attraction. Their research also showed that 80% of the people who saw the Carousel of Progress were from California and that most had seen the attraction numerous times. After getting this information, General Electric asked Disney to move the attraction to the newly opened Walt Disney World. Disney agreed, and on September 9, 1973 they closed the Carousel and moved it to Florida [11]. At this time, the Progress City model was also moved with the show (a portion of the original model it is now housed above Stitch's Great Escape! and can be seen on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover).

When the attraction moved to Disney World, a new show building was constructed in Tomorrowland. Unlike the minor changes that occurred when the show had moved to Disneyland, this time, major changes were made to the Carousel's show. For starters, the dazzling Kaleidophonic Screens that entertained guests while they were loading and unloading were removed. The screens had been experiencing many technical difficulties, so they were replaced with silver curtains and a GE logo. General Electric also asked the Sherman Brothers to write a new song for the attraction, since they decided that they did not want guests to wait for "A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"; instead they wanted them to buy their products now. After getting these instructions, the Sherman Brothers created a new song for the attraction called "The Best Time of Your Life" (often mistakenly referred to as "Now Is Time"). Instead of talking about how great the future would be, the new song focused on the present [11] .

The 1975 version of the Carousel of Progress featured a new voice cast as well as an update of the New Year's scene. Instead of being set in the 1960s, the setting was changed to the 1970s. The daughter, son, grandmother and grandfather were also added to the scene (instead of only being referenced to as was previously the case). The final difference between the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of the Carousel of Progress was that while Disneyland's Carousel rotated clockwise, Walt Disney World's Carousel rotated counter-clockwise[10]. The Carousel of Progress opened in Walt Disney World on January 15, 1975.

In 1981 the final scene was once again updated in order to keep up with the changing times. The new scene was (fittingly) known as New Year's in the 1980s.[11]

Post General Electric 1985-Present

When General Electric's contract ran up on March 10, 1985, they chose not to renew. The Carousel was then closed for a period of time to remove all references to General Electric. The General Electric logos which were featured on the outside of the attraction were changed to a new logo, which showed the blueprint of the six carousel theaters and stages. Inside, the General Electric logos that were featured in the loading and unloading theaters were also removed. These were replaced with the blueprint logo and the name Carousel of Progress [9]. Although all of the major references to General Electric were removed, some of the household appliances still read “GE” to this day.

In 1993 Disney had planned to remove the Carousel of Progress and replace the show with a new "Flying Saucer" attraction [10]. It was eventually decided to keep the attraction however, and on August 16, 1993 the Carousel of Progress closed for another major refurbishment [10]. In conjunction with the rest of the "New Tomorrowland", the attraction was given a new mechanical theme. The blueprint logo was replaced with a new "cog logo", and a series of large cogs were painted on the outside of the building. The attraction's final scene was also updated, now taking place in the year 2000. A new voice cast re-recorded the show's dialog, including Rex Allen (who voiced the Father in the original show) who now voiced the grandfather in the final scene. A four minute preshow video, explaining the history of the attraction was also added during the refurbishment. When the Carousel of Progress reopened in 1994, its name was changed to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, and a contemporary version of "It’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was also reinstated as the show's theme song [12].

Following a decrease in attendance after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Carousel of Progress was closed. The attraction later re-opened but was listed as a "seasonal" attraction [13], leading many to speculate that it would soon close for good. Since 2003, however the Carousel has been open nearly every day [14] and Disney states that it has no plans to remove the attraction.

In July 2016, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress recieved a new multi-color exterior paint scheme [15]. At this time, the interior of the attraction was also cleaned and refurbished, with one of the theaters getting new carpeting and seats [16]

Current Show

The current show features an identical loading and unloading room, as well as scenes depicting:

  • Valentine’s Day at the turn of the 20th century
  • The 4th of July during the 1920s
  • Halloween during the 1940s
  • Christmas in the 21st century

In each scene, the father of the family (named John) shows guests the newest technology and inventions of the time period. Other family members as well as their dog, appear in each of the scenes. Although the story takes place over about 100 years, the family only gets slightly older throughout the show.

Preshow and Loading Scene

Even though the Carousel of Progress does not typically have long queue, there is a preshow video shown to guests while they wait in line. The video talks about the history and development of the attraction, and even includes clips of Walt explaining the attraction on his television show. The video lasts about four minutes, after which guests can usually enter the theater for the next show. On the stage in the loading room, is a large Carousel of Progress logo, framed by green curtains. The attraction’s narrator (who also voices John in the rest of the show) tells guests more history about the attraction. He focuses in on the fact that the attraction was Walt's idea, and that he loved the show. After the introduction, the attraction's theme song, "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" begins playing as guests move on to the first scene.

Valentine’s Day (Turn of the 20th Century)

The first real scene in the Carousel of Progress takes place during Valentine’s Day, right around the turn of the 20th century. As the scene opens, robins chirp in the background and the music fades. The father of the family, John, is sitting in a wooden rocking chair inside his home. On his right, his dog Rover is happily laying on the floor. John tells guests that it is "right around the turn of the century" and also that it is Valentine’s Day. He then claims that things could not get any better than they are at that time, before giving a list of the new inventions and technological achievements of the day. These include:

Achievements Technology
Buildings being up to 20 stories tall Gas lamps
Moving pictures (movies) A telephone
8,000 automobiles in the United States Cast-iron stove
It only takes 7 days to get from New York to California Icebox
The Wright Brothers, who are working on a "flying contraption" A reservoir which keeps 5 buckets of water warm, with three buckets of coal.
A water pump in the kitchen
John and his dog in their kitchen, right around the turn of the century.

As John highlights the new pieces of technology, a spotlight shines on them and they begin to work. He then comments that problems such as chopping wood, sour milk and having to get water from a well are all things of the past. After he is done showing off the new technology he calls to his wife, Sarah, who is ironing in the room to his right with their young daughter. The two discuss how Thomas Edison is working on an idea for "snap on electric lights", which the Sarah says will mean no more kerosene and no more gas. She also shows guests her new "wash-day marvel", and comments that now she can do the laundry in five hours instead of two days! As John is explaining that Sarah now has time for other things, he is cut off by her response of "Such as canning and cleaning the oven?" Sarah then excuses herself, commenting that she needs to get the laundry off the line before it starts raining cats and dogs (which makes Rover bark).

After it begins to rain, the family's son begins to talk from the left room. The son's name is James, and he is scolded for using his father’s Stereoscope without permission. James is watching Little Egypt dancing the "Hootchie-Cootchie". John comments that she is going to be the star of the upcoming World's Fair, and that James better put the Stereoscope away before his mother finds it. The upcoming World's Fair is a reference to the 1906 World's Fair in St. Louis, which has led many to conclude that the scene guests are watching takes place on Valentine’s Day 1906 (although this is unconfirmed).

As the John and James finish talking, John tells guests that they also have, "one of those new talking machines". The right stage then shows the family’s grandmother, sleeping with the radio on. The radio plays, "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", and the grandmother’s parrot exclaims "She keeps that thing on all day!” John's attention is then drawn to a room on the left, where his daughter Patricia is. Patricia is getting ready to go to a Valentine’s Day dance on the other side of town. John explains that she will be taking one of the new "horseless trolleys", before telling her that she better be home by 9 o'clock. He then tells guests that he is going to take one of the new trolleys downtown to have a root beer (which he explains is just a sarsaparilla with a new name). After he is finished, he begins singing It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow and the Carousel spins, moving guests to the next scene.

4th of July (1920s)

As guests leave one scene and arrive at the next, they find John is once again sitting in his kitchen. Wires and new electric machines are all over the room, and instead of sitting on a rocking chair John is now sitting on a smaller kitchen chair. Although a dog still lies on the floor, the dog has changed colors and presumably breeds. When John stops singing, he tells guests that things have changed a lot in the last twenty years. He then proceeds to tell guests the new accomplishments of the era. These include:

  • Charles Lindbergh, who is about to fly over the Atlantic Ocean by himself (John says he will never make it).
  • Sports stadiums that are being built all over the United States. He also says Babe Ruth is the country's best baseball player.
  • Advertisements are out for the Jazz Singer, in which Al Jolson will talk, and even sing!
  • Electric starters are now in cars, eliminating the need to crank them.
  • People can travel by train from New York to California in 3 days.

John then tells guests that Thomas Edison has brought electricity to his home. At this point all of the electronic machines in the kitchen, including: a refrigerator, a toaster oven and other cookware turn on. Since all the machines are running at the same time they blow a fuse. This not only shuts out the power in the family's house, but the whole neighborhood loses power as well. One of the neighbors can be heard telling her husband that, "They did it again!” and that she wants her husband to go over and confront John (but this never happens). John then tells Jimmy, his son, to go put in a new fuse. Jimmy remarks that his father blows a fuse every time he has company over, before the lights come back on.

With the power in the house restored, the scene shifts to the mother who is sitting on the front porch. She is outside sowing a George Washington costume for John to wear. John then tells the guests that Sarah's Ladies Club is in charge of the town's 4th of July celebration and that the whole family will be performing in their presentation (with John and Sarah going as George and Martha Washington). As John begins making a joke that being the, "father of our country suits me", Sarah interrupts him to say how happy she is that they put electric lights on the porch. John then tries to make another joke about going to the 4th of July next year as Benedict Arnold, when Sarah interrupts him again, saying how excited she is about her firework show. As she is talking, Rover begins barking and John tells him not to interrupt while Sarah is interrupting. Sarah then tells John that Jimmy has volunteered to pick the music for the celebration. Jimmy appears with his grandmother in one of the left rooms, dressed in a colonial outfit and standing next to a radio, which is playing patriotic music. John then tells guests that they can now get news and entertainment on their radio from all over the country (even Pittsburgh!). The radio then says that people have begun gathering downtown for the 4th of July.

After hearing this, John tells his daughter Patricia that she better hurry up and get ready. Patricia is sitting in a room on the right, wearing a Statue of Liberty costume. She tells her father that she hopes her new boyfriend doesn't see her in it and run away. John makes another joke, saying she can "always carry that torch" for him. He then tells guests that the family now has indoor plumbing which is great for cold days, especially for Uncle Orville, their constant house guest. Orville is then shown sitting in a bathtub on the left side of the stage. John informs guests that he has set up an air cooling system. While Orville sits in the bathtub, a fan sits in front of a block of ice, blowing on him. As John tells guests that Orville has no job, Orville responds by saying, "No privacy at all around this place". At this point, Sarah calls John and tells him it’s time to go. John concludes the scene by telling guests with all the conveniences they have, they are really on easy street. He then begins to sing It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, as guests move on to the next scene.

  • Note: The line about Charles Lindbergh flying across the Atlantic Ocean has led many to assume that this scene takes place on July 4, 1927.

Halloween (1940s)

As It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow continues to play, the scene changes to the 1940s. John is now sitting in a circular booth and wearing a sweater. His dog Rover has once again changed colors but is still lying on the floor. As the music stops, John tells guests that everything is better than ever in the 1940s. He then shows off the new technology that they have in the kitchen, including a refrigerator that holds more food than ice, and a dishwasher. John also informs guests that he is now a part of the rat race, which he then explains means that the highways are now full of people, who drive to work in the city, and then turn around and drive home every day. Johns also says, that they now have television (when it works) and that John Cameron Swayze brings them the news every night.

At this point, the scene shifts and focuses on a room on the right, where the grandmother and grandfather are watching boxing on TV. After that, Jim (the son) calls from his room and asks what John thinks of his Jack-O-Lantern. After John says it’s scary, Jim remarks that he used his sister Patty as a model. After Rover "laughs" at this joke (barks), Sarah calls out from a room on the left and tells Jim and Rover that Patty is prettier than either one of them.

John then tells guests that Patty is using an old exercise machine that was "all the rage in the twenties" but never worked. Patty is then shown using the machine while talking on the phone about her date for that night. After this, John tells the audience that he is caught up in the "do-it yourself" craze. John and Sarah are redoing their basement and making into a rumpus room. On the left, guests can see Sarah putting wallpaper up in the rumpus room. She is using a "paint mixer" that John says he made for her, using a blender. As he is admiring his handy work, the paint mixer goes haywire and shoots paint everywhere. John then says that it's time to move on, but everybody should try and cheer Sarah up by "singing our song". At this cue, A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow begins playing, and guests move onto the next scene.

Christmas (21st Century)

Unlike previous scenes, the Christmas scene begins will the whole family in one room. They all sing It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow as guests enter the scene. John is standing on the right working on Christmas dinner, while Sarah sits nearby working on a computer. Rover is once again in the kitchen, and is also once again a different color. Jim and his grandmother are playing a virtual reality game, while Trish and her grandfather sit around the Christmas tree. Sarah tells John that she has programmed the oven to recognize his voice. John then comments that now all of the household appliances are voice automated, to which the grandfather replies "Then tell the refrigeration to bring me a root beer".
The final scene in the current attraction, Christmas at the turn of the 21st century.

Sarah responds to the joke, saying that although they can't do that, she can brighten the tree lights. She then tells John to try the voice activated oven, which he does with no problem. After the oven confirms John’s temperature command, Trish comments that, "the oven even talks back now!" She and the rest of the family also make fun of John for burning last year’s turkey. At this point, the grandma who has been playing the motion sensor game has her score up to 550 points. John and Jim are both impressed, and they repeat the score in awe. Upon hearing John say 550, the oven increases its temperature, although nobody seems to notice.

The grandfather then remarks that he cannot believe the new gadgets that people have today. Trish, cutting him off, begs him not to tell another story about the time “before there were even car phones!” The grandfather, still undeterred, tells her that for a while he didn't even have a house phone, not to mention the technology of today. He then gives examples of modern technology including laser discs and high definition televisions, before commenting on how everything is automated today. His last example is about automated plumbing (which causes a flushing noise be heard in the background) this leads Uncle Orville (who is off stage) to once again remark, "No privacy at all around here".

The scene then shifts back to the grandmother who has now beat her video game. She finishes with a score of 975, which John once again repeats. After hearing this number, the oven overheats and begins to smoke. The family all laughs at the fact that another Christmas turkey has been ruined. John jokes that maybe in the new century, ovens will learn to read minds. Jim says that someday everything will be automated that John will never have to cook again. At the prospect of this, Rover barks leading the family to laugh and sing It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow one final time.

Guests then come to the unloading area, which looks identical to the loading area. Here they are told to collect their belongings before exiting.

Deleted Scenes

Since the show moved to Walt Disney World only two scenes have been removed. The Original Disney World show ended with a scene set during New Year’s Eve in the 1970s. This show was then changed to New Year’s Eve in the 1980s (in 1981). In 1993 (with the scene now obviously dated) the final scene was updated once again to the current one, Christmas in the 21st century.

New Year’s Eve (1970s)

The New Year’s Eve (1970's) scene began with the family singing the show's theme song (at the time) "The Best Time of Your Life". John then commented that he was happy that everybody was together for the holidays, and he told the audience he was making chili. After John dropped a pan, the grandmother told him that his chili smelled good. John then joked that it's a good thing, because since Sarah had joined the Clean Water Committee, he might be the only one with time to cook. Sarah reminded him that he encouraged her to get involved, and then told her family that the mayor had sent (the committee) a letter thanking them for their help.

The grandmother responded to this by saying that in her day women had time for fun things, at which point Sarah cut her off responding, "Such as canning and polishing the stove?” The grandfather then spoke up saying that he and grandmother had always made a good team. Jane, Sarah’s daughter then retorted, "grandma spent most her time on the bench", causing everybody to laugh. John and his dad then talked about how they were going to watch football on T.V. all day on New Year’s, with the grandfather remarking that he felt bad for all those people "bucking traffic and those crowds". This response surprised Jane who told her grandfather that "you really do care about people". Her grandfather responded that his generation had always cared about people. John agrees and comments that progress for people has always been a challenge. His son then interjected saying, that when there were problems, that was when the most progress seemed to be made.

John then told the family that it was getting close to midnight, and that they better watch the New Year’s celebrations on TV. The TV then turned on, just in time for the Walt Disney World New Year's celebrations. A newscaster, broadcasting from atop the Contemporary Resort, said that all around, people were joining together to celebrate the New Year with hope and optimism. The family then commented that the chili was almost ready. They all agreed that they were living in the best time, and that electricity had really helped their way of living. Finally the family sang "The Best Time of Your Life" one more time as the scene ended.

New Year's Eve (1980s)

The finale scene the 1980s version of the Carousel of Progress.

The New Year's Eve 1980s scene started with the family singing the show's theme song (at the time) "The Best Time of Your Life". The family was positioned in the same places that they are in the current show. Trish (holding a guitar) and her grandfather sat around the Christmas tree, while Jim and his grandmother sat next to a large TV. John and Sarah were both in the kitchen area, with John cooking and Sarah sitting next a computer. As always, the family's dog was sitting on the kitchen floor. After they had finished singing, John commented on how beautiful the sunset looked and how happy it made him. Sarah then said that she was just happy that everybody could be together for New Year’s Eve.

The grandmother then agreed, and said that "it's a great time to be alive". Jim reminded her, that she and her husband did all kinds of things during the past year including: traveling the world, taking up tennis, and organizing their high school reunion. The grandmother replied that they all have a lot to be thankful for, something that her husband agreed with. John, who was cooking the kitchen, told everybody that he's making his famous "Omelet Superb avec Jambone". Jim and Trish then pointed out that “Omelet Superb avec Jambone” just meant simply ham and eggs. After John responded by asking whatever happened to respecting your elders, his father replied that he always wondered the same thing when (John) was young. Sarah then told John that she was going to put his recipe "on memory", which prompted Trish to ask Sarah to put the New Year’s celebration from Europe on the television. The television in the middle of the room then showed New Year’s celebrations from London and Paris, before finally stopping on Walt Disney World, where the family watched the fireworks in awe.

After the fireworks, the grandmother and grandfather commented that they all have a lot to celebrate. Jim told his grandparents that the world had gotten more complicated, which his grandfather responded that that was always the case. Finally, Jim told the family that they all had a lot more choices now. Sarah agreed, and then told him that his ham and eggs were finished. With the food now ready, the whole family sang "The Best Time of Your Life", ending the scene.

Watch the Deleted Scenes

If you want to see the New Years (1980) scene click play below. It starts at right around 4:30


If you want to read the script from both the 1970s and 1980s finales check out:

www.waltdatedworld.com/id215.htm

Cast

Original Disney World Cast (1975-1981)

  • John (father)– Andrew Duggan
  • Sarah (mother)– Sharon Douglas
  • Grandmother– Peggy Stewart
  • Grandfather– Bill Keene
  • Daughter– Rori Gwynne
  • Jimmy (son)– Al Able
  • Cousin Orville– Mel Blanc

Second Walt Disney World Cast (1981-1994)

  • John (father)– Andrew Duggan
  • Sarah (mother)– Coreen Conolly
  • Grandmother– Dena Dietrich
  • Grandfather– James Gregory
  • Jane (daughter)– Claudia Johnson
  • Jimmy (son)– Gary Morgan
  • Cousin Orville– Mel Blanc

Current Cast (1994-Present)

  • John (father)- Jean Sheapard
  • Sarah (mother)- B.J. Ward
  • Patricia (daughter)- Debi Derryberry
  • Young James (son)- Peter Nelson
  • Teen James- Paul Osterholt
  • Grandfather- Rex Allen
  • Grandmother- Mary Cervantes
  • Grandmother (act IV)- Janet Waldo
  • Uncle Orville- Mel Blanc
  • Parrot- Mel Blanc
  • Radio announcer- Noel Blanc

Watch the Show!

If you want to see the current version of the Carousel of Progress, click play below:

Early Script Recording

In an early version of the Carousel of Progress' script, guests were welcomed to "America's most progressive little town, Middleberg, USA". Here, things were so up to date, that there was "even suffragette movement on Main Street". In this version of the attraction the family was named the Peabodys. Family members included wife Sarah and children Susie, Johnny, Jane and Billy.

Click below to hear an audio recording of this early script:

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • If guests look closely at Uncle Orville, they can see his toes move.
  • Prior to 1994, Orville was referred to as "Cousin Orville" not Uncle Orville [17]
  • Cast members sometimes put pictures of their children, or other personal artifacts, on the bulletin board in the final scene
  • To add realism to his voice, Mel Blanc recorded Orville's dialog with a pen in his mouth (because Cousin Orville is smoking a cigar)[5].
  • When the attraction was located at the World's Fair, a duplicate grandmother Audio Animatronic was created. She was used by GE for promotional purposes, often being placed in crowded places. Unknowing people who would encounter her would be shocked to find out that she was a machine and not real [5].
  • An Animatronic that looks exactly like the grandmother in the Carousel of Progress can be found in the Haunted Mansion's ballroom scene [18].
  • A picture of Walt Disney can be found in the Patricia’s room during the 1940s. It is located on the upper left corner of the wall that faces the audience.
  • When the Carousel of Progress originally opened, guests loaded in both of the load theater's doors [10]. This is no longer the case as guests now only enter through the left door.
  • Alice Davis designed the costumes for the Carousel of Progress [19].
  • The newspaper held by John in the Carousel of Progress' first scene is a copy of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper dated July 25, 1863. The newspaper's headline is dedicated to the Siege of Vicksburg [20].
  • Cousin Orville is reading the National Police Gazette while in the bathtub[20].
  • Mickey can be seen three times in the attraction's final scene. As a nutcracker above the fireplace, as a present under the tree, and as an abstract painting depicting him in Fantasia[20].
  • In Patty's room in the 1940s scene, guests can find Mickey's Sorcerer Hat from Fantasia[20].
  • A note on the bullion board in the Carousel of Progress' final scene reads "Marty Called- Wants Changes!" this is a reference to former head of WDI, Mary Sklar[20].
  • In the 1940s scene, a sign outside the window reads "Herb Ryman Attorney At Law". This is a tribute to longtime animator and Imagineer Herb Ryman [20].

References

  1. http://www.mouseplanet.com/9833/A_Visit_to_Edison_Square_1959
  2. http://blog.silive.com/goofy_about_disney/2015/01/disney_goes_to_the_fair_carousel_of_progress_saw_a_number_of_firsts_outside_the_ge_pavilion.html
  3. http://modernmouseradio.com/2012/04/19/its-a-great-big-beautiful-tomorrow/
  4. http://www.thedisneyproject.com/2013/03/theres-great-big-beautiful-tomorrow.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 http://www.mouseplanet.com/9835/The_Carousel_of_Progress_Cast
  6. http://www.nywf64.com/genele01.shtml
  7. http://www.nywf64.com/genele04.shtml
  8. http://www.nywf64.com/genele01.shtml
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 http://www.yesterland.com/progress.html
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 http://www.martinsvids.net/?p=812
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 http://www.mouseplanet.com/9818/A_Carousel_of_Progress_Christmas
  12. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_cop.htm
  13. http://www.wdwradio.com/2005/04/tomorrowland-then-and-now-a-world-on-the-move/
  14. http://anopensuitcase.com/carousel-of-progress-by-contributing-author-corey-applegate/
  15. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/carousel-of-progress/news/22jul2016-photos---a-look-at-the-new-paint-scheme-at-carousel-of-progress.htm
  16. https://twitter.com/WDWNT/status/759038369275973632
  17. https://www.mouseplanet.com/9835/The_Carousel_of_Progress_Cast
  18. http://www.imagineeringdisney.com/blog/2012/5/17/the-haunted-mansion-like-youve-never-seen-it-part-2.html
  19. https://d23.com/walt-disney-legend/alice-davis/
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 http://www.insidethemagic.net/2014/12/d-tales-8-carousel-of-progress-hides-disney-history-in-plain-sight-with-amazing-details-and-tributes/