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Orange Bird Photo Hunt


« THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1] | Main | Disneyland Meets EPCOT Center »

Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It

As a boy I was entertained to no end by the cleverness that was Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.  Today I enjoy it just as much-- Laser discs and all.

Here we get a look at our favorite animatronic family and their surroundings from all new angles. Photos provided anonymously with statement that they were taken with permission a number of years ago. **May contain partial animatronic nudity!**

I too spent a bit of time working on-set at Carousel of Progress and noticed a few interesting things.  First of all, it was great to work with some of the very same props seen in photos and video of Walt with the Carousel sets.  Few things at Walt Disney World were around for Walt to enjoy so this attraction has great meaning.

I thought it was fascinating that inside the cups and other dishes there are screws and other tiny pieces of hardware for Maintenance workers to easily access.

The printed paper props (newspapers, calendar, etc.) are made up of stacks of the exact same print.  If the top print wares out or goes missing, the subsequent layers of paper are identical.  Was this always the case? Don’t know.

The stages are not as deep as I would have thought.  I had suspected the center core of the building be be much smaller- that the stages went further in.

Rover has a two-piece shell of fur (head and body) that easily pops off.  Until recent years, his fur was glued directly to and animatronic components and had to be cut away and sewn back together every time the dog was maintained.

The television Grandma is watching is driven by 8mm film projectors running footage from the basement below- the ballroom dancing footage and the boxing footage (for when Grandpa’s asleep).  “Give’m a left you big lug!”  Here you see an actual piece of dancing scene film stip thrown out after breaking:


Preview of Things to Come

In our new and upcoming series we compare the old to the new and see what remains the same.  Golly this will be fun!


This post is intended to be a simple study of attraction staging with no intent to spoil illusions.  Please do not photograph or visit backstage areas without permission.


Related posts:

A Look at the Progress City Model - Then and Now
Horizons Animatronics Found Under Carousel of Progress
America Sings
HORIZONS MURAL, "The Prologue and the Promise [High Res]

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Reader Comments (14)

I LOVE CoP! It is still my favorite attraction! No matter what!!!!

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAurora

These blog posts about behind-the-scene looks at the classic DL rides are simply fantasmic. Thank you so much!!!

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTraderSam

This just made my day!

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonnie

Outstanding! I've always loved CoP, even though I'm always afraid it could be next on the chopping block. The relaxing show, the lack of lines, and the uncrowded seating make it a favorite, but also make it prime for elimination. I think if they added a new room with an updated theme, it would help rejeuvenate the attraction. It shouldn't be difficult, as they could move the curtain to the first(earliest) scene and have it raise at the beginning of the show. The "new" room that was behind where the curtain used to be could be used for the "room of the future" with another curtain to lower at the end. Any chance Iger reads these?

Definitely looking forward to the Then and Now Photo Series.

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWDWFanBoyBrett

So funny- I had never even heard of carousel of progress when I was a kid- It was all America Sings. I was five the year it was opened and I loved it for the same reason a lot of folks like CoP- no lines, AC, great show. It wasn't until years later that I realized Disneyland had this amazing legacy and, surprise surprise, there were rides that were built and removed before I was born!

So, fast forward to 1993 and my first trip to WDW and there was the CoP, still in working order!! I went around the carousel many times that trip.

Pure awesomeness.

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteveZ

I remember at WED when the Carousel Of Progress was pulled from Disneyland to be sent to Forida's Walt Disney World. A lot of the sets and props had to be updated including the present day kitchen scene. All the appliances had to be removed for newer ones, and I was told to take the old ones to the dump. That's a whole other story.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProfessional Dreamer

Truly fascinating. Love this! CoP is forever one of my must-do's.

I love the Carousel of Progress, it reminds me of the simple days in America and Walts vision of a Great Big Beautiful Tommorrow

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Mcbryar


August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

I always loved CoP for all the same reasons. It always reminded me of a simpler time in life & how far we have come. I was a little disappointed when they updated it a while back & changed the music in it though. I would love to find out if anyone has any video or sound bytes of the old verison of CoP. I loved the old "now is the time" music. i can still sing all the words to it today LOL

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHank Clayton

Maybe when it is pulled from WDW and sent back to Disneyland's Tomorrowland Carousel theater, the original music will be restored as they did Lincolns voice. Along with a major final scene upgrade, the rest of the show will be restored. I believe You Tube has the original music to hear.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterProfessional Dreamer

CoP always disapointed me when the guy says that "2 brothers from North Carolina are building the flying machine". We all know that the Wright Brothers were from Dayton, Ohio and only tested their craft in NC. I tried years ago to get Disney to change this but they refused saying that only people from Dayton would know the statement was wrong.

April 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwright brother

Perhaps the elderly family member reporting on the brothers in the early scene didn't know their name by calling them the "2 brothers", or the actual facts beyond something he heard on his radio. The son in the later scene would probably have known, as I remember a P-57 Mustang on his book shelf. Show wise, It was added before the show went to Florida's Walt Disney World in the complete overhaul, and it was missing it's canopy and one had to be fabricated for it. Perhaps if it did come back to Disneyland that information could be added along with a new final act with some Star Wars influences.

April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterProfessional Dreamer

I really enjoy this site. I have always been interested in how things work at the Disney parks. Of course the first thing I noticed in the photo looking from the back of the set through the window where the Dad can be seen, is the mountain of dust and dirt on the ledge the window sits on. Don't they ever used a vacuum cleaner on the COP?

August 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Seward

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