My Fixit List: Part 2

Today I am continuing with my countdown list of things in and around Walt Disney World which I feel need attention and has been needing this attention for a number of years.

Let’s start with:

#7 Carousel of Progress – Diorama Dilemma

Anyone who knows me realizes how important the Carousel of Progress is to me. Having said that, let me add that the importance of the Carousel of Progress is why I feel so strongly that it is in need of some attention. Presently there are several dioramas within this attraction with each diorama showing progress made in the world of electricity and science to that point in time. Each diorama has a timespan of approximately 20 years…well, except for the last two. The difference between the last two dioramas jumps from about 20 years to about 70 years, going from the 1940’s to present time. That’s quite a jump and we all know that a lot of “stuff” happened between the 40’s and the turn of the century.
CoP_Sign.jpegSo I ask myself why hasn’t anyone done anything about this? Why has the CoP had next to nothing happen to it for so many years? Well, one reoccurring thought is that this attraction, although so very near and dear to Disney purists, may never be a candidate for a refurbishing because it would need the refurbishment from time to time. Well, yes! Perhaps every 20 years remove a diorama and replace that with a present time display of progress. That should have been something that could have started in the 1980’s. Of course this would mean that the original version of the attraction would eventually be retired and never seen again. For me, I think that is what keeps those first dioramas firmly in place.
There is one other theory, there is a fascinating with the story of the Carousel of Progress and how it eventually came to be at the 1964 World’s Fair. That and it’s tie to Walt himself makes it very hard for anyone to want to change it….or at least the first few dioramas.

Still, I see the attraction confusing many first time visitors as they realize the inconsistency as they come across the final diorama and sooner or later this will have to be addressed. Sooner or later instead of staying pat with the attraction, they will have to give in to…well…progress.

#6 Peter Pan’s Bump”¦erh Flight

Guests continue to love and flock to Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. So do I. When you think of it, of all the attractions that have resided in The Magic Kingdom, Peter Pan’s Flight may be one of the few attractions that has never changed over thePeter%2BPan%27s_Flight.jpegyears from opening day. Can you name the others? So why do I have this attraction on my fixit list?
I’m not looking for Walt Disney Imagineering to upgrade it, enhance it, or change anything. There is really nothing wrong with the ride except for one little bitty thing that has been bothering me for maybe as long as eight years.

Imagine yourself getting on this attraction and as you go through each scene you find yourself enjoying yourself so much that the attraction calms you down; relaxes you; makes you happy for where you are.

This is how i feel too. Then it happens. As my ship, as have many over these many years, slowly makes it’s way pass Captain Hook calling for Smee my ship gets ready for the final turn and BUMP. That’s right! Bump. It’s as if someone has slammed on the brakes or there is a misalignment in the rail that the ride vehicle is sliding on but it happens every time. Is it too much to make that a bit smoother? I brace myself every time before that happens”¦do the small fry riding for the first time know it’s coming? I don’t think so.

#5 Spaceship Earth’s Rude Paperboy

SPE_1.jpgBetween the summer of 2007 and February of 2008 Spaceship Earth went through some significant changes. When it reopened there were mixed reviews. Some guests liked the new look while others were puzzled. Of all the comments made regarding the renovations to the attraction the best I heard was that the new look Spaceship Earth was , “…an E ticket on the way up and an A ticket on the way down.”

But there was something else that struck me about the attraction beyond the fact that the latest generation of audioanimatronics were added and that the entire ride down from the top would be dominated by a small video screen in the ride vehicles. It seemed minor at the time but over the last three years every time I ride this attraction I shake my head.

As guests ascend the huge geosphere and are told of the story of communication through the years eventually their ride vehicle passes by a section that has a very interesting audioanimatronic figure on the left side of the vehicle. The figure is that of a paperboy who is hawking his latest edition…hot off the presses…read all about it.

My problem? He’s not just facing away from the vehicle. He is about as far away from the vehicle as he possibly can and who knows what he’s saying.

Now I’ve been told that the boy is supposed to be facing that way”¦that he is really facing the street. That’s all well and good but he’s the only audioanimatronic that I know of who is completely facing away from the guests. Before the refurb wasn’t he facing? Please give this machine some manners!

For the last three years I keep waiting to someday ride Spaceship Earth and discover that some imagineer has finally realized that they have created a very rude paperboy and they need to fix this issue.

We’re only halfway there. We have five more to go.

Stay tuned.

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20 Replies to “My Fixit List: Part 2”

  1. I hope they only update the last scene in CoP! They need to keep the rest intact. They show where we came from as far as domestic technology. Honestly, those technologies have only been improved upon in recent years…who wants to see them go from an 8-track tape player in one scene to a mp3 player in another? Really?

    It serves a bit of a history lesson to those younger generations, that will never see some of that antique equipment outside of CoP. Walt Disney never walked the streets of WDW, so we need to leave some things alone-historical preservation if you will.

    The last scene should be a family on a floating couch, watching a 4D hologram while a robot fixes their Christmas dinner…cars flying by their home in the background…then Disney wouldn’t have to worry about an update for a while! Soapbox away!

    * * *

    I will have an upcoming blog on this issue which addresses archiving Disney park attractions.


  2. Bahahhahaha! You have hit the nail on the head in regards to the rude paperboy, Mike! Funny enough, my two all-time favourite rides are Peter Pan’s Flight and Spaceship Earth! I completely agree with the herky-jerkiness of the ride, but I truly wish that Disney never changes a thing about the rest of the ride. My experiences on the ride now coincide with my memories of the ride as a child, and only a true Disney Fan can understand what that means. And as for our little paper boy…I was so upset when they moved him! Next to the smell of Rome burning, he is my favourite part of the ride and always got his photo taken by me (ssshhhhh!).

  3. For Spaceship Earth I’ve always been annoyed by the outfit worn by the female scientist in the big computer room. I’m fine with the afro, but a plaid miniskirt and black pleather go-go boots? I know it’s the 70s and all but it’s not very professional! 😉

    * * * *

    True but it is supposed to depict the time period.

    Interesting fact about that scene. Notice the stairway?

    The original design did not have a bannister but one of the EPCOT imagineers told me that OSHA made them put a bannister in for safety reasons.


  4. I just want to note that the ladies working the switchboard have always had their back to the audience. I imagine it’s just a cheap way out of using servos for speech sync.

    * * * * *

    Right Zach…it’s just that not only was our favorite paperboy turned around but he was also placed far away from the ride vehicles.


  5. Rude paperboy! HYSTERICAL! Also troubling is the animated chariot that no longer works.

    I also agree with the bump in Peter Pan. After riding it in Disneyland you got a real sense of flying where in Disney World is herky jerky.

    I love ALL of your suggestions! This was a fun read.

    * * * * *

    Thanks Christine.


  6. The paper boy Use to be facing the riders ans in a small boys voice would scream “Extra Extra, New York Daily” I got stopped there a few times and that was pretty annoying. Then they changed him and it was the same little kid but in a much deeper voice. weird. I rode it for the first time in years in May and like the change at the 2nd part where you can enter info on a touch screen that is an improvment. Something different.
    I’m with you time to change Journey into Imagination back to the way it was, just a weird mess now. Wonders of life shows no life. And update COP last scene.

    * * * *


    Hmmm…do animatronics go through puberty?


  7. Hey Mike,

    I have enjoyed your fix-it list very much. It is amazing what you notice and what you don’t. I did wonder about the answer to the question you posted in this particular article – the teacups and Snow White? Are those two rides that haven’t changed over the years? I would really love it you can tell me what they are. Thanks for sharing your articles with us.

    * * * *

    Oh Stephanie,

    I may miss a few but here are my thoughts:

    Jungle Cruise
    Country Bear Jamboree
    Big Thunder
    Splash Mountain
    Peter Pan’s Flight
    Tea Cups

    Those are the ones in The Magic Kingdom.

    Regarding Snow White’s Adventure, that attraction did change because the original version used a different guest perspective and did not include images of Snow White in earlier scenes.


  8. Mike,

    I definitely agree with you on the Paperboy. My biggest pet peeve with Spaceship Earth has been there from the very beginning. In the scene where Michelangelo is painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he is holding the paint brush in his right hand. Michelangelo was left handed. How about they put the brush in the correct hand? As a lefty myself I’d like to see this remedied.

  9. I agree regarding the rude newsboy’s voice! When he was facing the cars he had a kid’s voice (before the last refurbishment). The too adult voice and him turned toward the wall just makes that scene seem odd.

  10. Mike,

    Love the comments about COP. I loved the original ending and think that COP should go back to this, then, a second ride be created to continue showing the progress possibly in another park (Epcot?). The progress of technology seems to fit in Epcot much better than MK.

    Hope to meet you at Reunion in December.

    * * * * *


    Interesting idea…why not have two CoPs?

    CoP I can go 1900-1920-1940-1960.

    CoP II can go 1980-200-2010-2020.

    I still say that if they refurbished the present attraction every 20 years guests would continue to love the attraction.


  11. I agree with just about everything you’ve said, but I just can’t get behind changing the Carousel of Progress. In fact, I kind of wish they’d get rid of that last scene and replace it with one from the 60s, maybe with the family talking about what they think the world will be like in 2000. For me, a huge part of the draw to Disney World is finding a connection to Walt himself, and the Carousel of Progress is the attraction that makes the connection the best for me. I just can’t get behind updating the whole thing. That said, I was attempting to video record Peter Pan’s Flight last time I went, and I almost dropped my camera on that bump, so maybe we can get a petition going?

  12. I “heard” that the newsboy’s face was damaged at one point, and they just turned him around instead of repairing him. True? Who knows, but I agree that his back to the audience is disconcerting. While we’re on the subject of the newsboy, I always felt that his voice was totally wrong for the age of the boy. maybe they could “fix” that when they turn him back around!

  13. Hi Mike,
    Carousel of Progress has always been one of our favorites, and it’s been closed the last four years when we’ve tried to see it. We go during the evening for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in December. We ask Cast Members, and they are unable to tell us why it’s closed. Maybe because it’s in the evening?
    Anyway, we would greatly appreciate some insight. We miss CoP!

  14. my fix it would be for one day to have a adult beverage with you mike !! either @ bob jacksons show or at the rose & crown . my shout.

    cheers , dusty

    * * * *

    You’re on Dusty…always drop me a line when you intend to be in WDW…you never know.


  15. I can’t believe no one has commented on this yet – maybe for once I’m just early! So far, you have the exact same fixit list that I have; maybe we need a petition or something. As always your articles hit home for me – waiting for the next installment!

  16. I have find this series “My Fixit List” to be very entertaining and informative. I absolutely agree about the COP “gaps” in time. My theory on the “Peter Pan” bump is that it is intentional to express that moment with Captain Hook.

  17. Mike it is so great to have you back. Been missing your musing. Great articles. I can think of a few ‘fixes’ I’d like to see as well. Keep it up!

  18. Nice post. The paper boy in Spaceship Earth is one of the oddest moments in the ride. I’d heard that the AA is defective, so there’s nothing to show in the front of the boy. If that’s the case, it would make more sense to remove it and then fix it. And I love Carousel of Progress, but the final transition and the last scene could use some work.

  19. I complain about the backward-facing paperboy to my companions every time I ride Spaceship Earth (which is several times a year.) I’m with you Mike…turn that boy around! He faced forward all the years prior to the refurb, why not now?

  20. HYSTERICAL. “Spaceship Earth’s Rude Paperboy” is how we will refer to this animatronic from now on.

    You are spot on with all of these. When I saw Peter Pan’s Flight, I got a little nervous that you were going to suggest changes. But the ride without “the bump” would be a definite improvement to show.

    As for COP, my biggest gripe is the “present day” scene. Kids who ride COP have better technology in their pockets.

    Thanks for a good read, Scopa!