Have you ever been on Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Disney World? If you have, you know that the theme song rivals “it’s a small world” for most likely to get stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
This slow-moving ride is one of the most historic rides in Magic Kingdom and was created by Walt Disney himself (and his team of Imagineers) for the 1964 New York World’s Fair! You step into a rotating theater and journey through the decades with an American family (who are all audio-animatronics). And, today we’re taking a deep dive into all the little details that make this ride even more special!
First up is a fun detail about the narrator for your journey — John! He’s the dad of the family and tells you all about the latest happenings as you go from year to year. And, if you’re really listening, you might recognize his voice! Jean Shepherd is the voice of John and is known for his narrating role in the movie “A Christmas Story.”
The audio-animatronic also looks a whole lot like the dad in Beethoven, played by Charles Godrin, but we’re pretty sure that’s just a coincidence. 😂 So, does that make John the audio-animatronic Godrin’s doppelganger or the other way around?
And, the next time you’re on the ride, pay close attention to the family dog, Rover.
He’s the same type of dog that can be found holding the key to the prison in the second to last scene of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride! From time to time, Disney will repurpose an animatronic for multiple rides and that’s what happened here!
Speaking of Disney reusing animatronics, the grandmother from Carousel of Progress can be found in her ghostly form somewhere else in the park…
…Haunted Mansion! You’ll find a replica of the grandmother animatronic amongst the 999 happy haunts.
Now for one of the details that you have to really be paying attention to catch! In the second scene, look out the window — you’ll see that there is a small window that says “Herb Ryman Attorney at Law.” Herb Ryman was the Disney Imagineer that originally drew the concept art for Sleeping Beauty Castle and the rest of the Disneyland theme park.
And, out another window in a different scene, you’ll spot some animatronic robins out the window. These were originally used in the Disney movie Mary Poppins during the “Spoonful of Sugar” scene!
One of our favorite scenes on the ride is when James, the family’s youngest boy, says that he’s modeling his Jack O’ Lantern after his sister. And, he really is! If you’re paying attention, you’ll see that he’s got a framed photo of her on the desk!
And, the last detail to look for is in the final scene of the ride. As the family is talking about all the cool technology (which we now call VR), take a look at the bulletin board! There is a note that says “Marty Called Wants Changes.” This is a nod to Marty Skylar, a former Walt Disney Imagineer!
The next time you ride the Carousel of Progress, keep your eyes peeled for these hidden details! You’ll look like a total Disney pro when you point them out to your friends and family.
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Did you know any of these details about Carousel of Progress? Let us know in the comments!