Carousel of Progress FatherNow most carousels just go round and round without getting anywhere.  But on this one, at every turn, we’ll be making progress.  And progress is not just moving ahead.  It’s dreaming and working and building a better way of life.  Progress is the sound of a motor, the hum of a turbine, the heartbeat of a factory, the sound of a symphony, the roar of a rocket.  Progress is people getting release from drudgery, gaining more time to enjoy themselves and live richer lives.  And as long as man dreams and works and builds, this progress will go on…in your life and mine.

And with those words, Rex Allen began the original “Progressland” attraction hosted by General Electric at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York. Progressland is more familiar to us as the theatre portion of the experience – the Carousel of Progress. In truth, there was quite a lot more to the World’s Fair exhibit and we go over all of its retro-fabulous history. While we may all be able to recite the current iteration of the classic Carousel of Progress attraction, it does have a very interesting and storied past, including Walt Disney’s personal involvement in its creation.

Progressland pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair - a Walt Disney Production - the original Carousel of Progress
General Electric’s Progressland pavilion – a Walt Disney Production – from the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York

 

In this episode of Up the Waterfall podcast, we journey back to the very beginnings of this beloved attraction, the changes it has experienced over the decades, and what we hope will happen for its future. We hope you enjoy this info-packed episode, I know we loved recording it!

Progressland at night 1964 World's Fair
General Electric’s Progressland pavilion at night

You can listen anywhere you download and listen to podcasts, including: 

(If there’s a podcast service where you can’t find our show, let us know and we’ll get it added there!)

You can also watch on our Up the Waterfall YouTube Playlist – where you can see our fun opening sequence and some fun images of the Carousel of Progress over the years. Here’s the latest episode:

 

Feel free to comment below with your memories of Carousel of Progress, any questions or info you’d like to add, or if it’s easier, head to the Zannaland Facebook page and join the discussion there with fellow Carousel of Progress fans!

Progressland concept art
Early concept art for the Progressland energy-filled future

 

Progressland concept art
Artist rendering of the incredible drama of nuclear fusion from the Progressland exhibit

 

Here are some of the books and recordings mentioned in this episode (the links will go to the item on amazon.com and are affiliate links – meaning no extra cost for you but a small portion goes back to zannaland if you make a purchase – thank you for supporting our site!):

Walt Disney and the World's Fair
The images from this post are from this CD set and booklet an amazing trove of Disney history!
Designing Disney by John Hench
Designing Disney – Imagineering and the Art of the Show by John Hench
Walt Disney Imagineering book
Walt Disney Imagineering – A Behind the Dreams Look at Making Magic Real


 

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