Happy 40th Birthday Carousel of Progress!

Carousel of Progress
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress celebrates it’s 40th anniversary today, January 15, 2015, at the Magic Kingdom.

On January 15, 1975, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress opened in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World, along with some Mountain of Space.  The Carousel of Progress, or COP as Disney Cast Members sometimes refer to it, is a special attraction for me because it is the same attraction that was on display at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.  This attraction was the brainchild of Walt Disney, and after the World’s Fair, was transported across the country to Disneyland before making the trek back across country to the Magic Kingdom.

What I really enjoy about the Carousel of Progress is that it takes us back in time, while at the same time giving us a glimpse of the future — or at least, a version of the future that some would say is here today.  It’s that trip back, though, that I truly enjoy — looking at how houses operated back in the day, thinking about what it took to live, and to enjoy life, and focusing on the history of it all — I think that is why it is among my favorite attractions.

Knowing that Walt Disney was a lover of history, I see so much of his influence in the attraction, and that is another reason why I enjoy it like I do.  Carousel of Progress is both simple and technologically advanced all at the same time.  How many theaters have you been in where the seats rotate around the sets?

One of the scenes from the Carousel of Progress.
One of the scenes from the Carousel of Progress.

Carousel of Progress incorporates the use of Audio-Animatronics in it’s characters, and that technology is just another example of one of the incredible marvels that Disney has brought to their theme parks.  The attention to detail is remarkable, as you can see in the shot showing how the wiring was all connected and strung out from the light fixture.

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is well deserving of it’s anniversary this day, and I hope that it is around for another 40 years.  What do you think about the attraction?  Like it, love it, hate it, want to see it updated, or don’t care?  Whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear them, so please, let us know what you think in the comments section below.  Thanks, everyone, and have a great day!

5 Facts about Pirates of the Caribbean that will Impress Your Friends.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean – 5 Facts to Impress Your Friends!

If you are reading this post, chances are that you are already a Disney fan — some of you may even be Disney Addicts!  If that’s the case, the five facts I’ve got for you may not be anything you haven’t heard before, but it may be something that you can use to explain how cool Pirates of the Caribbean is to your friends, co-workers, family, anyone that isn’t as big a Disney fan as you are!  So, without further ado, here are five facts about Pirates of the Caribbean that will impress your friends!

Pirates of the Caribbean

For Pirates fans, there are a lot of great tidbits that do a great job of adding a bit of intrigue to the attraction.  Here are my top five facts that I find fascinating about this great attraction!

  1. When Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, Pirates of the Caribbean was not one of the original opening day attractions.  The thought was that because Florida was so close to the Caribbean, the Florida residents would not be interested in pirates.  Well, people were amazed that Pirates wasn’t part of the Magic Kingdom, and they petitioned Disney to open it in Florida like it was in California.  Disney listened, and Pirates opened to the general public on December 15, 1973 — exactly 7 years after Walt Disney passed away.
  2. Pirates opened originally at Disneyland, in New Orleans Square.  The attraction was the last one that Walt Disney worked on before he passed away, and it opened 3 months after his passing.  The Disneyland version starts with a slow ride through the Blue Bayou restaurant.  If you are eating there, you can see the boats pass by from your table.  It’s really cool.  Personally, the scene reminds me of the bayou of Louisiana (hence New Orleans Square) scenes from The Princess and the Frog movie.
  3. At the Magic Kingdom, there are two skeletons playing a game of chess in one of the dungeons — you can see them as you walk through the loading queue.  Interestingly, though, the pieces on the chessboard form a stalemate, with no winner possible.  As a result, the two skeletons have been playing the same game of chess since 1973!  This part of the attraction was the brainchild of Marc Davis, one of the Disney Legends and one of Walt’s Nine Old Men.
  4. Back at Disneyland, did you know that there are two drops as part of the attraction, while at the Magic Kingdom, there is only one?
  5. Lastly, did you know that the drop at the Magic Kingdom was done in order to navigate under the Walt Disney World Railroad?

I hope that you have found these facts to be fun and enjoyable!  Leave me a comment and let me know what facts you have to share also.  Thanks, and make it a Disney day everyone!

50th anniversary of it’s a small world

{Editor’s Note:  Today’s post comes to you from my daughter Sophie.  As you’ll see, she hasn’t written in a while, so come see what she thinks of it’s a small world, and show her some comment love!  Thanks!}

Hi guys. it’s me, Sophie. Yes, I know I have not written a post in absolutely ages, but, I’m here now; so please forgive me. As you probably might know, as it is in the title of this post, the 50th anniversary of it’s a small world is today, well, not today it was more like a few days ago. Anyway, today I was thinking “I wonder where Walt Disney got the idea for it’s a small world?” and truthfully… I have no idea. I’m just gonna put it straight out there: I haven’t got a clue. So looks like you just got out of a rubbish post filled with my all time favorite way of getting to know Walt Disney: learning his history. Oh well, I’ll look it up later… So, today I’m just talking about it’s a small world, I guess… and having a conversation with you… yeah, not the best way to start my comeback to the blog. Oh well.

the 50th anniversary of the beloved it's a small world
the 50th anniversary of the beloved it’s a small world

I’m thinking of paying tribute to it’s a small world in a new way! I’m going to tell you guys about a my first experience with it’s a small world. And I want you to comment about the experience YOU had on your first time riding it’s a small world (if you can remember.) My first experience on it’s a small world was on my first trip to disney, 9 years ago. My family and I were going to disney with my friend, Riley, and her family to celebrate her birthday. Riley and I have been friends since  birth and we agree on EVERYTHING. We were four so naturally we would be drawn to fantasyland ,as most little kids are. And we all know that if you’re in fantasyland you’ll ride it’s a small world. We both wanted to ride it’s a small world first. but our parent’s had other plans. we waited patiently. allow me to mimic my four-year-old self: “Can we ride it’s a small world?… Now can we ride it’s a small world?… How about now?…Now?..Now? Now?………” Finally we went on it’s a small world. Would you believe me if I told you we were addicted to that ride? Answer in the comment section below. We loved that ride so much we went to bed humming the it’s a small world theme song that night.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post I’m Sophie and I will see you all next time. BYE!

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia – The Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents
The Hall of Presidents resides in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom.

The Hall of Presidents, located in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, is one of the best educational exhibits you can find at Walt Disney World.  Thank you for joining me today!  I’m joined by my incredible co-hosts Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Jenn from Disney Babies Blog, and Heidi from Heidi’s Head for our weekly Disney Trivia series, Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!

When the idea of the Hall of Presidents came about, Walt originally wanted to call it “One Nation Under God” for Disneyland.  While the idea wasn’t able to come to fruition entirely, “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” was created — first at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and then opened in Disneyland on July 18, 1965.

After Walt’s death on December 15, 1966, the Imagineers were able to come up with the idea of Liberty Square — the thought process being that since Walt Disney World was so much closer to New Orleans then Disneyland, that there would be no need to have a New Orleans Square at the Magic Kingdom.  Additionally, it was decided that this canvas would be the perfect place to resurrect Walt’s idea of “One Nation Under God” — but under the slightly different name of the Hall of Presidents.

To me, what really makes the Hall of Presidents is the Audio-Animatronic likenesses of each of the Presidents of the United States.  This is incredibly cool to me because the Presidents are so realistic — some of them speak, they all move in some form or fashion, and even when the camera isn’t panned on them, you can still see movements, almost as if the characters are talking to one another!

The film that plays prior to the appearance of the Presidents is great, also, and full of a rich history of what makes our country great — but for this writer, it’s the Presidents themselves that really set this attraction apart.

Thank you for stopping by today!  Now, please check out the other great entries in our Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia hop!

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The Incredible Haunted Mansion!

The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom lures you in for some ghostly fun!

As we continue our look at all the incredible detail that the attractions of Walt Disney World entail, today we are taking a look at another of the Opening Day attractions — The Haunted Mansion!

As you all know, the Haunted Mansion opened on October 1, 1971.  While it is fairly similar to the attraction at Disneyland, there are some very distinct differences.  For example, the Mansion at Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square, while the one at the Magic Kingdom is located in Liberty Square.  As a result of the different lands they occupy, the time period and decor of the mansion is entirely different.

Technically, both rides utilize the classic “Doom Buggy” car to take you on your tour of the mansion, but what you might not know is that the stretching room that you enter at the beginning of your experience operates differently!  In the Magic Kingdom, the stretching room, while it gives the illusion of movement, doesn’t actually transport you anywhere — it is just the ceiling that raises.  However, at the Disneyland version of the ride, the stretching room actually transports you down to the next level, very much like an elevator.  That sounds so cool!

I have always thought that the horseless hearse was so cool looking!

Did you know that the Haunted Mansion used to house FastPass machines?  I don’t think they were utilized for a very long time, it was probably more of a test than anything.  Then, the Magic Kingdom and the Imagineers redid the queue line for the Haunted Mansion, and they turned it into two lines — one that takes you through the “interactive queue” and a second line that took you right into the ride itself.  Now, though, I’ve seen that the “interactive line” is now the full time line, and the shortcut is now for the FastPass+ entrance.

I was privileged to do a series of posts with my friends Terri from WDW Hints and Jonathan from Mouse and Memos a while back.  There are a whole number of different things to discover about this classic Disney attraction.  Jonathan, in particular, wrote a much more in-depth narration about the history of the Haunted Mansion, take a look at it for all sorts of details!  Also, Terri wrote about how the storyline evolved — this was something she learned during a Keys to the Kingdom tour back in 2005.  Check it out — it’s a great read!  I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but I hope you’ve enjoyed your ride!  Now, to finish it off, which Hitchhiking Ghost did you get on your Doom Buggy?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!