The story within Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress  is one of the American family, and how it changes with the advancements of new technology.  There are five different stages to the performance -  in both the G.E. sponsored presentation and the newer, unsponsored show.  The theme, however, remains the same in both.

Here is a description from the Official Guidebook of the 1964-65 World's Fair:

In the first part of the program, separate auditoriums, each holding 250 people, circle into position and are carried past stages on which life-sized, three-dimensional, animated human figures move, talk, laugh and act out the story of electricity in the home from the gay 1890s to the present:

  • A late 19th Century home is shown. Its inhabitants struggle with all the latest luxuries: telephone, gas lamps, gramophone, kitchen pump, a hand-cranked clothes washer and a hand-pumped, air-suction vacuum cleaner.

  • A home of the '20s comes next, with coffeemakers and sewing machines, "monitor"-topped refrigerators and a homemade cooling device for hot weather: an electric fan that circulates air over a cake of ice.

  • The '40s are recalled with the little, round television screen, plus some odd applications of electricity: e.g., house-wives mixing wallpaper paste with cake mixers.

  • The glories of today glitter in a living room at Christmastime, a glass- enclosed, electrically heated patio, a kitchen that all but runs itself.

Although this description is from the G.E. version of the 60's, it fits almost exactly with today's performance (minus the patio from the last scene.) 

The music is a vital part of the Carousel of Progress, since it's been said that nobody leaves an attraction "whistling the architecture."  The original song "Great Big, Beautiful Tomorrow," returned to the show during the refurbishment of 92-93.  It replaced it's interim counterpart, "Now is the Time,"  which was said to have fit G.E.'s marketing scheme of the 70's and 80's more appropriately.  

Our audio-animatronic family consists of  eight characters:

  • John: The father, husband, and narrator of the largest part of our show.
  • Sara: The mother, wife and laborer throughout the production.
  • Judy: Known as "Jane" in the original version, the teenage daughter.
  • Jimmy: Not given any name in the original, the son and annoying little brother.
  • Rover: The family dog.  Also called "Sport" and"Queenie" in different versions.
  • Uncle Orville: Visiting relative we hear from only twice.  Invents "air-cooling" with a block of ice and a fan.
  • Grandma and Grandpa: Both remain mostly silent through the production until "modern times" scene, where they speak freely in the updated version.  In the original version, both lived in a retirement community, and were being picked up at the new Jet-Airport.

These "individuals" take us on an historical journey through the century, while entertaining and delighting us.  

Capacity: 3,600 per hour, 226 per theater
Show Time: 20:45 minutes
Speed: 2 fps
Ride System: Sit-down revolving theater

2000 Ladder Productions
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or the 1964-65 World's fair. Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Carousel of Progress
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