Opened: January 15, 1975
In the back of Tomorrowland, in between Space Mountain on its left and Buzz Lightyear to its right.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning.
Length: 20 minutes.
FastPass+: Not available.
Audio-animatronics theater show.
Similar To: Hall of Presidents.
Scary Factor: Only if you are deathly afraid of mannequins or animatronics.
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 seating 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 otherwise 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.
Expect to Wait: Just as long as it takes for the next theater section to open – usually about five minutes.
Rating: On nostalgia, 8/10. For what it is in 2015 and beyond, 3/10.
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: Carousel of Progress is nice because it’s air-conditioned, comfortable, unpopular, and a nice break from the madness that is often an afternoon at Magic Kingdom. Many guests return time and time again for the nostalgia factor, but those with young kids who have never experienced the attraction before may want to skip it with limited time. On the other hand, it’s an educational and interesting look at the past and a rare opportunity to see something Walt himself worked on.