Carousel of Progress

Just listened to my full ride audio of the original CoP with Rex Allen tonight.

Two things came to mind:

One, that its too bad the audio for the latest incarnation of the ride has never been released (not even on the "Forever" system) with Jean Shepherd.

Two, how sad it is that the ride has been relegated to "seasonal" status.

This attraction is too good, too important to fade away.

Just my $.02 As much as I enjoyed my listening experience tonight, at the same time I was a little depressed. Has anyone who's been to WDW's Tomorrowland lately noticed any changes at the theater?

X-S Tech

Active Member
When I went in April I was very disappointed that the Carousel wasn't open, even knowing that it was on seasonal operation. I had hoped that we would hit spring break and it would be running. I asked one of the City Hall Cast Members and they said that actually we missed spring break but that it wasn't open then anyway. They said it hadn't run since Presidents day. The building looked normal but there was no mention of the show on the Wedway. On the last day we spent in the Magic Kingdom though we were across Tomorrowland and the moniters outside the building were running their little queue area entertainment. Alas, it seemed to just be an oversight. Maybe we could bring the CofP back to DL for the 50th. That would be a truly welcome addition.

X-S Tech

Active Member
You know I didn't realize that the last scene was dated already. Rex Allen as the Grandfather refers to "car phones" and "laser discs" two terms which while the concept is not too out of date, the terms themselves are. Perhaps this can be chocked up to Grandfathers old age.

As much as I love this show though, I have always had a problem with the voice actors who make up the cast. With the exception of Jean Sheperd, the rest of the characters come off as very rehearsed and unnatural. Back in 1964 this sort of thing could easily be overlooked for the novelty of an all audio animatronic cast. However to think that the current version debuted in 1992, the acting is corny and insincere. This may not be fault of the actors so much as the directors. I think that this may be a big reason that AA shows are dwindling so. The dialogue and acting are very corny, and not just because the subject is "the history of electricity". What would be really great would be to get some sitcom or comedy writers in to actually write the dialogue. No offense to the wonderful WDI show writers, but not everyone is qulaified to write everything. Then on top of that use some of that "randomization technology" that we hear so much about with Indy and Tower of Terror, and interject a few alternate lines, jokes, interplay between the cast. Just to keep it more like a live show.


Active Member
You know, X-S, I was just thinking about that the other day. The main reason why AA shows are not in fashion anymore is because of a lack of repeatability. There is no varation at all, as opposed to a live show. I was thinking about that randomization thing you mentioned and wondered why that couldn't now be implemented to greatly increase the repeatability.

It would be great to see a show and not see the same show every time. At least with things like Pirates and Haunted Mansion, you're constantly moving, so you get a chance to see new things every time. With a show, you just sit there and see everything in front of you.

X-S Tech

Active Member
I personally still love the idea of an AA show. To me it's the ultimate because not only do you have all of the environment of an attraction but the inhabitants themselves are almost works of art. Especially something like Splash or CBJ where the figures were designed by a master artist like Marc Davis. The problem is that the average guest probably doesn't get as big a kick out of simply the visual aspect of an AA that I do; they can appreciate them when they are done right, they just don't keep go to an attraction simply because it's got an AA. I tell you the only reason I even go into Innoventions at DL is to check out the Tom Morrow figure.


I dont know what it is, but ever since I was a kid Ive loved watching AA's just move, you know? Those old shows were intoxicating to me...

Unfortunatly, I think now days people are too sophisticated to suspend disbelief about spending 10 to 15 minutes watching robots pretend to be organics. But anyone who knows me knows that the old AA shows are my favorites (the way that ride thrus are others favorites) and Im really sad that they are they are slowly dying.

Come to think of it, I cant think of any new AAs ANYWHERE that have been made...

Thanks Mike....getting me going on the Carousel of Progress again.......great to hear from Bill that it actually IS seasonal at least, open occasionally.

To me, audioanimatronic technology always been an inherent part of the "Disney experience," what has made a visit to Disneyland unique from the beginning. And while the moving figures themselves don't vary in appearance, making for a seemingly boring and unchanging situation, the imagineers involved have always placed the figures in scenes filled with intricate details, so much so that I almost always spot something new, be it in Pirates, or the Carousel(I always carefully inspect the 50's kitchen to see what was in my Mom's)--Walt himself insisted on the importance to detail, insisting that the public would take note--"They will respond to it. They will appreciate it." The environment and its inhabitants combine to create a unique experience, one which encourages repeat visits, for just one more look.

The dialogue in the Carousel show may seem corny to some, but when you place it in the perspective of the particular part of the 20th century that's being visualized, I think it works. There is also a danger with "hip, contempoary" writing, which can inappropriately date something in its own way. I love the reference to a "rumpus room," something I used to heared discussed frequently as a kid. I don't know, I think it works, I always get some chuckles out of it.

I've hounded the executive offices at WDW about the apparent neglect of the Carousel, and will continue to do so. If a 13 year old boy, namely my son, who loves thrill rides as much as any rollercoaster lover, can still genuinely enjoy a trip through the 20th century in the Carousel of Progress, then Walt's idea can't be all that bad.

Mike(aka "old fogey")

P. S. Sorry to be "off music" tempoarily, but don't forget, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"!

X-S Tech

Active Member
As soon as I mentioned comedy and sitcom writers I regretted it. I didn't mean to imply that the Carousel's dialogue needed to be hip and witty in the way that "Friends" or "Seinfeld" are. But there does seem to be a lack of polish to the dialogue. I just threw these professionals out as an example of a group of people who may be able to give the show a little sincerity. The Rumpus Room bit is actually quite well done, and Mothers embarassment comes off very well.
Whew, thanks X-S, you had me worried there......hmmmm, Jerry Seinfeld and friends meet the Carousel of Progress--shades of the episode with George screaming, "The worlds'll collide!"



The Scene: INT, Will's Appartment;

GRACE: "Hey Will, how about that Rumpus Room?"

WILL: "Awww, Gracie, it'll never catch on."

ENTER JACK, dressed as a French Maid

JACK: "Imagine! It used to take two days to do the wash!"

Grace enter's the bathroom, screams,

WILL: Grace, what is it?

UNCLE ORVILLE: "No privacy at all around this place!"

- I thank you.


you know Bill, Ive heard that Sinbad is really cool...and the stuff Ive seen (pictures) the characters design is neat...Ill check it out :)



Active Member
Yes, the video floating around on the net is great! The characters are much more fluid than usual. I don't know, it would be kind of fun to incorporate those modern AA's into "It's a Small World" and see what happens. But then maybe that would ruin the integrity of the, it was just a thought.

Anyway, you can check out the "Sinbad" video at...
Does anyone know if any high quality Jean Shepherd tracks are out there?

BTW, I LOVE the concept of showing progress through the years. I'm an old fogey, too, Mike Z.! I'm constantly telling my kids things like "I didn't have a VCR when I was a kid!" Substitute almost anything for "VCR" such as color TV, Playstation, PCs, etc.

Bill! Thanks for the positive report! This is Walt's ride!

Re: Funny stuff.... I always kind of enjoyed the running gag of "Now Mother's got time to.....".

The line when Narrator says to dog, "Quiet while Mother's interrupting!"

And my favorite.....because I can see the twinkle in Walt's eye everytime I hear it, "You're probably wondering what happened to Grandma and Grandpa. They're no longer with us....."
Ah...the Carousel of Progress. :D

To tell you the truth, when I think of Walt Disney and Walt Disney World/Magic Kingdom - this is the first thing that pops into my mind. Not only is it extremely nostalgic, but it's pretty much a necessity.

Do you know how much of our culture - and children - have no sense of what it was like to live so far in the past? The Carousel of Progress is probably the best attraction out of them all - World of Motion, Horizons, Spaceship Earth, etc. - that we can relate to - because of the whole family: curious brother, cheezy, but loveable, father, Rover, Grandma, the old uncle...etc.

And, I believe, this, and Timekeeper, is the best attraction in Tomorrowland because we're not in some space story of the future: we actually get insight into the life of people from the past - lifestyles - but we see how much progress has impacted the American family's life over the years - immensly. We take things for granted and we can get a much deeper appreciation for the classic past/present/future attractions - for, without the past, how the heck could we ever be where we are today? ;)

As for Animatronics, I would just update them. They have been seriously upgraded through the past fact, we have the same animatronics from 1964 - but with facelifts. Audio-Animatronics shows are the number one attractions at Disney, I believe. These shows are/were on spot one always. And they're expensive. Unfortunately, because of this, we may not see another "American Adventure" style show for a quite a while.

Here's an insider story that I'll throw in here while we're on the subject:

Before the fair in 1964, Walt Disney asked Ms. Davis (Marc Davis' wife) to come and look in his truck. She looked in and saw a quiet old lady sitting in the backseat. She immediately recognized it - it was the Carousel of Progress grandmother animatronic! (This is the version most likely sitting next to the parrot in Act 1).

Mr. Disney, who seemed like 'a kid with the neatest, newest toy', was excited about a trick he was going to play with Grandma. He wasn't going to ship her to New York - he was going to fly her there. (After all, she's the grandma to have more performances than any other!)

Ms. Davis thought Walt was silly, but Mr. Disney pulled his fun idea off. He put Granny in a wheelchair on the plane and as they were boarding off in New York, passengers commented: "Now isn't that a sweet little lady."

As for corniness? Why, aren't we all corny? ;) Walt once said that he knew he was corny, but he loved it. And actually, I do too!

"Don't interrupt while Sarah's interrupting!" (Actually, this same line was used in the Tiki Room in a different way, before Iago sqwaked his way in)...

Or how about...
John: I wonder what they thought of me when I was dating Sarah!
Cuckoo Bird: Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

One of my favorites...
Grandpa: Oh, anyone can do that voice activated stuff. Watch this. Rover, speak!
*The lamp turns on behind Grandpa*

Some of these things are hidden and just pass by, which makes the Carousel of Progress an attraction which you can always find something new in. There's so much detail - hidden mickeys and such - and hidden comics all over. So keep your eyes peeled!

CoP is the attraction that does not deserve to be closed right now. It deserves much more - not only has it had more performances than any other stage show in the history of American theater, but it has had more viewings than any other!

And get this: [glow=red,2,300]The Carousel of Progress is the ONLY attraction that WALT DISNEY told his Imagineers to keep open as long as his parks existed![/glow]

Unfortunately, Disney's not giving a breath in trying to keep the Carousel running. And it just missed out in one of the best advertising opportunities: One Hundred Years of Magic. Heck, we got a silly flying Aladan ride for the celebration...but yet, the ONLY attraction with Walt Disney's name (besides the railroad) in the Magic Kingdom was CLOSED - even on his birthday! And each time it was open (seasonally) - it was darn crowded. There are even pictures on this forum from its first opening after its seasonal status (December 2001) with there being a line going all the way down the ramp.

Do you know what an impact of putting at least banners, music, balloons, or ads could have done? Instead, they just close it at will. Why? Because it's expensive. But isn't it just cheaper to close the other attractions and make a bunch of meet and greets? (Oops, I think I gave Disney an idea - no, nevermind. They're already starting that one.)

If Disney's willing to close the only "Disney" attraction of the Disney Vision of Progress, Family, Walt's magic touch, and nostalgia, then I don't see why I should even go back to the parks. Why? Because it's wouldn't be Walt Disney World. Walt Disney's attractions are in major need of praise - but instead, the cheap thing is just to close them. No one cares right? Wrong. Walt Disney's fans go to Disney. And why would Walt Disney World want to lose its fans?

Just thinking that the Carousel of Progress might close is stomach turning. It seems like a nightmare - something impossible. Something wrong - and unjust. Don't you wish the National Landmarks can formally recognize it? It is a landmark. Don't you wish Disney could go in search of a sponsor? Perhaps, they can look for ways to USE the COP message and find a cheaper way to operate it? Is it possible that they can keep the Walt in the Walt Disney Company? Like I once said, without Walt Disney, it would just be "THE COMPANY."

Look at the Disney Channel. During Walt's 100th Birthday, what is the most fitting thing to do? Who cares. Vault Disney was pulled. Bye, bye, Walt - family entertainment - hello repetative and addiciting Teenage shows. Wait...isn't this the Disney Channel? *shreak* Oh wait, nevermind. Disney distributes Adult Entertainment, also, so why shouldn't I be suprised?

Long live the Carousel of Progress - one of the LAST true Disney attractions left. We've lost our Horizons and other EPCOT attractions...but keep the Carousel. [glow=red,2,300]SAVE WALT![/glow]

Thank you very much!
Progressland Publicty stunt

Howdy Grizzly Hall!!

That story of Alice Davies and the grandmother in the truck was a static (non-operational) figure.......she was one of several mock-ups made during early full size staging teats for the Carousel of Progress sets......she even had a name Mrs. G.E. Fare ......and Disney & GE used here for a whole series of publicity shots as the opening of the New York Wold's Fair came closer.......and to come see just what Mrs. G. E. Fare was
so excited about!. She was photographed all over New York City the best restaurants.......etc......She was a much "thinner" compared to the actual AA figure from the show.

Very interesting! Thanks for the info. I got the story out of a Walt Disney Book (Remembering Walt); I was under the impression it was the actual one used.

- Grizz :D
Thank you, Grizzly, for the impassioned response--I thought the Carousel post might draw you back into the web.......I can only echo the case you've already stated--but one other point--

From the very beginning, Walt Disney and his talented associates have been sharing stories with us; at first, through animated and live-action features, and later, through theme park attractions. Some of the more memorable theme park "adventures" have been the ones that have engaged us in a story, using striking visuals, words--and let's not forget, music. And besides thrilling us, many times these stories, almost without us knowing, would teach us. This is what makes the Carousel of Progress so unique, in that it shares an entertaining story with us that can make us smile, and as a bonus, we walk away with a bit more knowlege of our world(just think what might happen if some of our educators caught onto this "secret"!). But this concept is something Walt always strove to accomplish, because he certainly wasn't simply an entertainer, as Melville Bell Grosvenor, editor of National Geographic in 1963 pointed out in the August 1963 issue(also with a definitve article on Walt, "The Magic Worlds of Walt Disney"--definitely worth looking up!)--

"When future historians sit down to choose a Hall of Fame for our time, there will be trouble over the name of Walt Disney.
Some judges will list him as an artist; others will call him an educator. Still others may insist that Disney belongs with the inventors, and some will argue that he was a naturalist.
Each, in my view, will have a point, for Walt Disney is all these things. But on one question the historians are bound to agree: Walter Elias Disney was a genius who brought laughter and knowlege to the world in a distinctive American way."

Laughter and knowlege--the Carousel of Progress. Sorry, but "Disney's" latest bombshell, Chester and Hester's in the Animal Kingdom, doesn't quite reach that same level of achievement. And if that's the direction the Walt Disney Company has chosen, then they will most certainly, and quite sadly, loose many of us along their dreary way.

I just thought I would throw in this bit of trivia for what it's worth... Although I know the soundtrack has been redone several times, in the original World's Fair version the voice of the mother and little sister was Rhoda Williams, a.k.a. Drizella in CINDERELLA. Rhoda is battling some pretty debilitating health problems right now, but she is extremely proud of her work in the Carousel of Progress.