Walter Elias Disney died in 1966 and to many in modern society, the words Walt Disney are little more than part of a huge media conglomerate's corporate moniker. However, Walt Disney was the source, the heart, the soul, the driving force, and the legend behind so much of what media and more specifically, themed entertainment has become today, almost sixty years after his death.
The Disney Parks, particularly Walt Disney World, have in recent years suffered from a serious drift away from Walt Disney's original vision of what themed entertainment should be and how it should be enjoyed by the public. While it is true that society's tastes and level of sophistication (or lack thereof) have changed and evolved in the decades since his passing, Walt had a unique and accurate assessment of what the public wanted from entertainment, which is why his company, legacy, and ideology have endured for so many years after his death.
One of the last vestiges of Walt Disney's vision and genius is still (thankfully) alive and well in Walt Disney World,. It is called the Walt Disney Carousel of Progress. Originally, presented at the 1964-5 World's Fair in Queens, New York as "Progressland," the Carousel of Progress offered visitors a view of how a fictional family evolves through four generations of technological advancements.
Walt Disney, ever an optimist, futurist, and patriotic American, wholeheartedly believed that human beings could solve many of the problems plaguing society with ingenuity, technology, and gritty hard work and determination. Many of the these themes are present in the Carousel of Progress. In fact, the theater itself was, at the time it debuted, a technological marvel, as it employed a seating area that rotated around a stationary stage depicting four different scenes.
The attraction also features the iconic song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" from Academy Award winning composers Robert and Richard Sherman, unfortunately abbreviated in the this video to avoid YouTube copyright strikes.
While the last scene is often mocked for its dated look at the future, Carousel of Progress remains a classic and iconic Disney attraction that should not be missed when visiting Walt Disney World and should never be permanently closed.
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