Carousel of Progress
July 1967 - September 1973
When the large, rotating show building was moved to Disneyland from the 1964 World's Fair, it was thought interesting enough to be an attraction in and of itself. Walt Disney named the building the Carousel of Egress, inviting curious guests to enter the building, sit while it rotated them to an exit, and then leave.
The C of E (as fans came to call it) did not, unfortunately, have a lot of return-visit potential, so Walt Disney looked for other uses for the structure. His initial thought was to build an animatronic show about the workings of government -- the Carousel of Congress -- but decided that this would draw attention away from the newly installed Lincoln attraction. Imagineers pitched a Carousel of Coolness ride concept, and a Carousel of Dungress sea-food restaurant, but the ideas were judged to be hideously, horribly lame.
Finally, with sponsorship by General Electric, Disney and his Imagineers created the Carousel of Progress. The attraction -- remniscent of the attraction that once headlined Edison Square -- opened to the public in 1967.
The Carousel showed a typical American family as it might look in each of four decades. The show, performed by animatronic actors, had a focus on what technology was considered to be cutting edge at the time depicted. For example, the 1960 scene focused on television, the 1980 scene featured video games, the 2000 scene showed a world after all computers had been rendered useless by some kind of bug related to the change in century, and the 2020 scene was hosted by dinosaurs who, having been brought to the present in a time machine, had eaten everyone.
In between scenes, the animatronic family would sing the show's theme song, "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow." The song began like this:
The irony of The Carousel of Progress, of course, was that it was powered via an extension cord sneakily plugged into a wall socket in a motel across the street. Freakishly large electric bills drove the motel belly up in 1973.
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