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An Offensive Disney Ride? Fans Speak out About Walt’s Carousel of Progress

carousel of progress
Credit: Disney

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It’s the only attraction at Walt Disney World Resort that’s older than Magic Kingdom Park itself! However, recent reports suggest that the ride might be operating on borrowed time as guests repeatedly use emergency exits without permission.

The Carousel of Progress originated at the 1964 World’s Fair. It moved to Disneyland Park before finally making its way to Magic Kingdom Park’s Tomorrowland, where it temporarily featured a new theme song and storyline. Walt Disney Imagineers restored it to its original condition two decades ago, including the now iconic tune, “It’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

Fans have long begged for updates beyond the recent clothing makeover. The “futuristic” final scene now features outdated technology, like a car phone, and the Progress family dreams about mystical technology that is now mainstream. The attraction increasingly breaks down, leading some to believe that Walt Disney World Resort isn’t adequately caring for it.

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom

Credit: Brittany DiCologero, Inside the Magic

However, none of these are the reasons for a recent call for Walt Disney World Resort to close the Carousel of Progress. Last year, Disney Parks fans publicly lamented the attraction’s reference to the first movie with sound. In Act Two, set in the 1920s, the father says:

“Jazz music is the cat’s meow, and there’s been ads in the paper for months for a movie starring Al Jolson—and he’s going to talk! And sing! Boy, I’ve gotta see that.”

“Back in 2020 I went on the Carousel Of Progress for the first time and was shocked to hear a reference to The Jazz Singer, a movie starring Al Jolson, a man famous for his blackface performances,” u/Big_Pomelo_2786 wrote on Reddit. “While the film has significant historical value, as it was the first film to have audio that is recognizable, it is today only really known for its blackface. I am confused on how I feel about the line still being around, as while it is referencing a film resolved around blackface, hiding America’s history isn’t the correct way around it either.”

walt disney carousel of progress resized

Credit: Disney

In another instance, a priest slammed the Carousel of Progress’s depiction of a white patriarchal family. From Rachel (@nerdypriest) on TikTok:

@nerdypriest

Look, I just hace some feelings about our great big beautiful tomorrow @MayorLovecraft #disney #disneyadult #carouselofprogress #wdw #progress #progressive #marriedcouple

♬ Cena Engraçada e Inusitada de 3 Minutos – HarmonicoHCO

“I’m just saying that I want to write a dissertation not only on questioning the idea that progress is a linear idea and always inherently for the good, and also just the very sad idea of progress that while technology changes, the fundamental structure of the family and the patriarchal order is maintained throughout all of it,” she said. “It’s also the whiteness of the prototypical white American family. There’s a lot.”

This week, multiple reports revealed that dozens of Disney Park guests are running out of the Carousel of Progress–but not because the attraction upset them.

“On our most recent trip we were stuck in the Carousel of Progress…in the 1920s room for three full playthroughs,” u/quicksilver895 recalled. “I love the Carousel of Progress… Once… Three plays in the same room was worse than being stuck on Small World. It was on its fourth when everybody collectively stood up and walked out of the emergency exit.”

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom

Credit: Kelly Verdeck, Flickr

u/thedudedude had a similar experience:

“I was stuck on [Carousel] of Progress because a lot of people who were not native English speakers kept standing up and or exiting through the emergency exits in the back. Despite cast members repeatedly [instructing] people that the show doesn’t work unless everyone stays seated, it was no use. After about the 15th time seeing the turn of the century, they just gave up and evacuated the ride.”

Carousel of Progress man sitting with a dog

Credit: Disney Parks

u/mikochu, too:

“At the Carousel of Progress, the audience ‘disc’ stopped moving between scenes. After the 4-5th loop, everyone started to get up and exit. It was a surprisingly long walk back into the park. We were surprised cast members weren’t escorting us…it was almost like they didn’t know what was going on.”

“My family and I were stuck on the 2nd scene,” u/ds1224 replied. “Eventually some people were leaving and that was making things worse.”

Never leave your seat or exit an attraction unless instructed by a Disney cast member. Even rides that seem safe have hidden mechanisms that can seriously injure guests.

Is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress outdated and politically incorrect? What would you change about the attraction? Share your opinion with us in the comments. 

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic

About Jess Colopy

Jess Colopy is a Disney College Program alum and kid-at-heart. When she’s not furiously typing in a coffee shop, you can find her on the hunt for the newest Stitch pin.

21 comments

  1. Sounds like they are the types that find offense in EVERYTHING!

  2. You Folks Need To Get A Life.

  3. Leave it alone, if you have a problem don’t ride it Karen!

  4. This is ridiculous! As with all the rides, if you don’t like it, don’t go on it! History is is history…you can’t measure the ways of the past by the ideas of today. That’s why people go crazy tearing done statues, etc. It doesn’t make things go away! I went on this ride at the World’s Fair in NYC.

  5. If you don’t remember history how it was how are you going to learn and improve the future. You have to show what people experienced to ensure they don’t relive it again. We really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the ride but if we were stuck we would exit too.

  6. Leave the ride alone, it’s fun, historic and Walt Disney loved it, if some people are offended there the same people that are offended because the sun rises each morning, they should stop goin to WDW, that’s all.

  7. Leave this ride alone. It depicts the turn of the 20th century and the passage of time. How many people really know who Al Jolson is.? Stop trying to rewrite history. I always enjoyed this ride. People want to be offended by anything and everything. Get a life and stop it already. If you are offended by something don’t go on the ride just like you can turn the channel on your tv when you don’t like a particular show or broadcast. Stop trying to find fault with everything you see and do.

  8. I agree , nothing wrong with the ride. Stop trying to rewrite history. It happened so deal with it
    Don’t approve or are offended by the ride DON’T RIDE IT.
    AND GET A LIFE.

  9. Well ain’t that a shame. A great journey thru progress offends some Karens. Trouble is, it won’t surprise me if Disney rewrites history for a very few offended woke idiots instead of remembering what Walt had in mind for a magical family park.

  10. Stop trying to change history people. It would help if you learned from this experience, not get offended. Geez. Plus it’s a decent air-conditioned sit-down ride. ENJOY IT!

  11. We were just at DisneyWorld and this was one of the attractions we wanted to see. First saw it in 1972 and have gone to see it every time we visit. It’s a great show and very enjoyable! WHO are these complainers?

  12. It’s only offensive because these clowns want it to be.

  13. Oh No! The Snowflakes want another Woke Remake……It’s just sad the way some want to go through life wanting to Whine about anything……would Y’all like some Cheese with that? GET A GRIP

  14. Leave it alone! I saw the ride at the 1964 Worlds Fair. This is a true Walt ride.

  15. WHY?? Why do these types of people even come to Disney? It is a theme park – you are there for a Vacation! Can you not come into the park knowing that it has older rides with HISTORY! That yes, it may have something that is not right – but we have LEARNED from it! Move on!! If you don’t like it – don’t ride it! Some of us can enjoy rides as they are!! These type of loud mouths are ruining the parks. I really don’t understand why Disney keeps hearing those few and not the majority. Sorry, I just had to get this out!

  16. I have said it before if the ride offends you don’t ride it because for everyone that finds it offensive there are thousands that don’t.

  17. It’s sad that the woke people are trying to remove yet another show and need to complain about something. They need to get over it. Half of these Karen’s aren’t even old enough nor apparently ever listened to their grandparents about what used to be. I blame their parents as well for not teaching them anything about reality and the liberal teachers for not explaining history properly but teaching it the way they think it should be taught. My son even thinks these people are Pathetic and he has 2 brain cells to rub together

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