Carousel of Progress
Opened: January 15, 1975
Location: In the back of Tomorrowland, in between Space Mountain on its left and Buzz Lightyear to its right.
Extra Magic Hours: Yes, Morning. DisneyWorld.com may not list it, but it is usually listed on the Times Guide. Either way, this is certainly not one you want to take the time to ride first thing in the morning.
Type: Audio-animatronics theater show
Similar To: Hall of Presidents
Scary Factor: Only if you are deathly afraid of mannequins or animatronics
Seasonal Opening: The Carousel of Progress is occasionally listed as “seasonal,” but it’s open every day.
What to Expect: The Carousel of Progress isn’t a carousel like Prince Regal Carousel. Instead, the “carousel” in the name refers to the theater sections that move from scene to scene in a circle around the stage. This allows new visitors to enter the attraction without having to wait for the entire show to end.
The Carousel of Progress is an audio-animatronics show that follows the lives of a family as they discover and adapt to changing technology throughout the 20th century and beyond. There are four main scenes, each of which depicts a distinct time period in history. The theater is comfortable and air-conditioned and there is a short video preshow explaining the history of the attraction.
Where to Sit: For the best view, sit near the back in the middle of a row. Shows are usually so empty that you have your choice of seats.
When To Go: This is an excellent attraction to visit in the middle of the day when the Magic Kingdom is at its hottest and most crowded. Also consider visiting while waiting for a FASTPASS for a nearby ride (Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin) to become due.
Expect to Wait: Waits should be 10 minutes or less.
Length: 20 minutes
1964 New York World’s Fair: The Carousel of Progress was originally designed by Walt Disney himself and was one of his favorite attractions. It debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 to long lines, rave reviews, and amazed crowds. After the Fair, it was moved to Disneyland and then transported to the Magic Kingdom where it resides to this day.
Commentary: If you’ve seen Disney’s other audio-animatronic shows and decided that they just aren’t for you, then I would still recommend the Carousel of Progress if you have the time. If you’re only going to go to one audio-animatronics show at the Magic Kingdom then I would make this it as well. The theme is slightly educational and it will give youngsters some perspective about what life was like prior to electricity, microwaves, television, iPhones, and all of the other technological advances we seem to take for granted. It’s also a comfortable show and you’ll probably need at least one break from walking around during your day (if not five or ten). The short wait and close proximity to the other popular Tomorrowland rides also makes the Carousel of Progress a worthy attraction in the middle of the day. The only real downside is that the final scene that is supposed to show the current and future state of technology is sorely outdated. Luckily, they did finally replace the tube TV with a Samsung flat screen.