I’m going to leave it to other bloggers to write about mainstream Disney World. I’m focusing on one of the most outdated, tame and overlooked “rides”. The Carousel of Progress is the only item that was created by Walt Disney. Other iconic, old timey rides like It’s A Small World are vintage but they’re copies of the original rides Walt worked on in California.
Walt worked on this carousel tirelessly to ready it for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He loved it, was obsessed with it, actually touched it and sat in the audience seats. I doubt you’ll ever have to wait more a few minutes to experience the carousel but I recommend watching the short documentary film shown during the wait. It succinctly explains the Carousel of Progress.
The carousel features a central stage divided into six pie pieces. Each piece shows an American family in a certain period of time and highlights the home innovations of that era. Probably because General Electric was a partner in those days. The audience is seated and rotates around the stage.
Although the carousel was described to me by a Disney staff member as “pretty boring”, my kids loved it. That staff member also bucked up once he realized I was interested anyways at which point he became a font of knowledge on the subject. It’s one of the few things I remember from Disney when I came back in Grade 6. My suspicion is that it’s one of his favourite rides but he’s been burned before recommending it. He was a carousel nerd.
The ride was cheesy and outdated, yet cutting edge at the same time. That much was clear. It has been updated but don’t expect it to be up to date. The last section will make you think of Back to the Future. Also, and this is my favourite part, we experienced technical difficulties twice. Boo ya! The first time, the soundtrack started before our rotation so we missed the beginning of the narration. The second time, something went wrong, we were told to remain seated and then we had to redo the whole 3 minute story before we could finally rotate out.
I recommend this ride if you: are nostalgic from when you went there as a child; don’t want to line up for another ride; are a nerd; need a break from the sun; love the progression of technology; have a thing for Walt Disney.