Mike’s Favorites: Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is one of my favorite shows!

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is one of my favorite shows!

My Favorites: Carousel of Progress

By Mike Ellis.

The other day it dawned on me that we haven’t been to Walt Disney World since June 2014!  This past summer was when we went to Disneyland for the 60th Birthday, so it has now been roughly 18 months since our last trip to Walt Disney World.  That’s crazy to think about, so as a result, these next series of posts are going to be looks at some of my favorite attractions, rides, shows, whatever you want to call them, at Walt Disney World.  Today we kick it all off with a look back at the past and the “future” with the Carousel of Progress!

To me, CoP (as the Cast Members know it as) is as much about history as it is about entertainment.  In each of the scenes, you experience what life was like in a certain segment of time in American history.  While the actual year is not displayed, you can figure some things out.  For example, in the opening scene, John talks about those Wright Brothers, so dates things at around 1902, 1903, somewhere in that timeframe.  Then, in the next scene, if you look closely, you can see on the back of the Niagara Falls fan that he is using the year. That year, my friends, is 1926.

Of course, the biggest debate among Carousel of Progress fans is whether or not the ride should be updated, especially regarding the last scene, with the futuristic programmable ovens, virtual reality, and all of that.  There are reasons for and against on both sides of the aisle for this one, but as for me, I’m of the opinion that it should not be updated.  This attraction is one of the last that Walt Disney personally worked on, and to me, despite the words of Walt himself that the parks would never be completed, puts me in the camp of not changing this attraction any more than it has been in the past.  But enough of what I think.  What do you think?  Should the Carousel of Progress be updated?  Or should it stay just as it is?  To be (updated) or not to be (updated), that my friends is the question!  Please let me know by leaving us a comment, and thanks for stopping by today!  To close us off, have a look at the attraction in it’s entirety, courtesy of bigfatpanda.com!

My first Disney trip

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This picture is from 2006, the next time that my Mom would visit the Magic Kingdom!

I was about 10 or 11 years old when I first went to Walt Disney World.  My Grandma and Grandpa had retired the previous year, and moved to Florida, so the following summer my Mom and sister and I went down to visit them.  In the course of that trip, Grandma and Grandpa took us on a trip to Walt Disney World.

I don’t have any pictures of the trip, but I do have memories.  I remember that at that time Disney World consisted of the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian resort.  We didn’t stay on property, and we had to decide which rides we wanted to enjoy because the park had tickets for the individual rides.  The more popular rides took more tickets than the less popular ones.

I remember that I wouldn’t ride Space Mountain.  Robin (my sister) tried really hard to get me to go, but I was chicken.

Remember when the Theater on Main Street showed silent Mickey Mouse cartoons?

So many things have changed at Walt Disney World, but regardless of that, so much of the Magic Kingdom has remained the same.

Despite the changes, the predominate things that make Walt Disney World special remain.  The Magic began for me with the moment we would get into the car to make the trip to Disney.  The closer we got to the park, the more the excitement would build, and when we saw the “Walt Disney World Sign”, I was about ready to bust with excitement.

The excitement continued to build as we passed the parking attendants, got out of the car, and memorized where we parked (we were usually in Grumpy or Happy).

Then, as you ride the tram to the the Transportation and Ticketing Center, reality continues to fade into the background as you are magically transported to the world of Walt Disney.

For us, as we rode on the Monorail to the park entrance, seeing the famous Magic Kingdom landmarks approach always started a discussion on what ride we would ride first.  The answers always varied, but for me, and that first visit, I didn’t care which ride I rode first.

For me, the experience of it all is what was really special to me.  I didn’t care which rides I rode, that first trip I was all about where it all begins — Main Street, U.S.A.  Seeing the train station, experiencing the buildings around the circle, and then taking in all of the shops, that is, in many ways, what it is all about.

Even now, after years of visiting Walt Disney World, to me, nothing is as special as the feeling I get when I enter Main Street, U.S.A. and take it all in.