My first real exposure to anything CoP was the version of GBBT that was released on the Sherman Bros Album several years back (91?). Prior to that I had only seen passing reference to this atraction, a photo or two but that's it. Shortly after hearing GBBT I went to Walt Disney World and saw the "Now is the Time" version of the show. I enjoyed the show, though I knew virtually nothing of it's history or prior versions. When I finally began learning enough about the Carousel to compare the two songs, my opinion was that GBBT was by far a superior song. It was simple yet elegant, with a theme that is optimistic and still rings true. Conversely "Now is the Time" while still upbeat, just sounds to me like a desperate advertising ploy. That is, they are trying to sell, with this song, something that just doesn't seem true. Sure it's great to live in the moment, but since when is NOW the best time? When in history has mankind NOT been excited about tomorrow and what was to come? I guess the whole point of the song was to show that even though Father and his family were convinced that things couldn't get any better, things DID keep improving, despite what the song said. Also a few of the lyrics seemed a bit awkward.
Overall I guess GBBT just fit better into the overall show. I wish I had been there (alive) to see the earlier incarnations of the Carousel. Times change and therefore scripts are altered to reflect changing acting styles and people's ways of talking. I also think that there is an inherent flaw in trying to continually update a classic like CoP. You can only satisfy so many people. It's usually best to focus on who your audience is. With an update your focus is split, between the fans who don't want the show changed, and the contemporary audience who may never have seen the show, but who you are trying to woo with the updated version. Tricky situation.