From the WDW Radio Archives…
After visiting EPCOT this past week, and in thinking about the future of that park, specifically the Imagination pavilion, I went way back into the WDW Radio Archives to being you one of my earliest interviews.
Let’s go back to 2007 and Show # 30, when, as part of my Legends of Disney Imagineering feature, I shared my conversation with former Imagineer Steve Kirk. Steve helped come up with the initial concepts for Figment and the Dreamfinder, as well as the Journey Into Imagination attraction, and also helped develop some of Disney’s most memorable characters, attractions, pavilions, and even complete theme parks, including being the creative leader of Tokyo DisneySea. We also talk about Epcot, the Studios and so much more.
I would later come to interview his brother, Tim Kirk about his work at Imagineering, specifically at the Disney-MGM Studios, but that is another trip to the archives for another day. For now, sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation (and forgive my voice), with the fascinating and talented Steve Kirk.
You can listen to the original episode in it’s entirety at WDW Radio #30
Let me help you build your brand and business and turn your passion into your profession, or speak at your event, conference, or school! – Learn more at LouMongello.com
Thanks again to Tim Kirk for joining me!
Did you know the story of what Figment and Dreamfinder almost became?
Share yours in our discussion in the WDW Radio Clubhouse HERE
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What we gonna do right here is go back. Way back. Back into time.
Hello my friend, and welcome to another episode from the WW Radio Archives. I am your host Lu Mane, and this is show number 710. I'm gonna open up the archives once again this week, this time going back to October, 2011 and show number 244 where we look at Walt Disney's Carello of Progress, its history, legacy details, and future.
And I recorded this in honor of Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary, and, and I wanted to look at an attraction that was not open on Walt Disney World's opening day in 1971, but was so, and remains so deeply rooted in Walt Disney World's history and sentence of nostalgia. And more importantly, it's direct connection to Walt Disney.
So I went to Tomorrowland right outside of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress and met with my longtime friend, author Rac Onur historian Jim Corcus, to do a segment that I sort of called a part Wayback Machine, part dsi Disney Scene Investigation. But really take a deep dive at not just the history, but the stories and the people behind this attraction, and also leave you.
With some questions that I think still to this day might be a little thought provoking and ones that hopefully you have an opinion that you can share on over in the WW Radio clubhouse at ww radio.com/clubhouse. You can also answer the question, let me know what you think about this or any episode by calling the voicemail at 4 0 7 909 3 9 1.
That's 4 0 7 900 WW one, and if you want even. Carousel of Progress. Back on show 1 36, I did a a very sort of different look at the Carousel of Progress. We sort of called it a DSI Disney scene investigation, but came at it from some different angles with a different guest who was joining me as well. So if you're a Carousel of Progress fan or just wanna learn some more again, you could also go back to show number 1 36.
If you enjoy this episode, please tell a friend. Share it on social. If there's an episode from the archives you'd like me to bring up and share on the feed, you can email me lou wdw radio.com or connect with me on social Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter at lu mongie. And of course, you can find email@example.com.
So sit back, relax, and come with me to Tomorrowland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. For a look and listen at Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
with October 1st, 2011, marking the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney. Many of us are getting a bit nostalgic and on the show, one thing that I want to do is sort of look back at some of those opening day attractions that we've had a chance to explore and examine in depth, uh, over the last couple of weeks and months and moving forward.
There's one more that we wanted to hit that really isn't an opening day attraction at all. In fact, it took a number of years before it came to Walt Disney World, but because it's classic, because it's iconic, because of its relationship to Walt, I thought it appropriate that we talk about it when we talk about the history of Walt Disney World.
And now might be, now is the time. Now is the best time. There is a great, big, beautiful Jim Corcus sitting here with me to talk about Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Jim, welcome back.
Well, it, it, Lou, always a pleasure to be on your show. You have some of the, uh, as we were talking earlier, you have some of the greatest listeners, uh, in the wo world.
I just absolutely love them. I'm always, uh, uh, flattered when some come up and say, you know, I heard you on Lou's podcast. I I enjoyed that. And, uh, they're all so positive and, uh, uh, friendly. And, uh, you know, when we were at, uh, incredibly good looking too at, at Destination d uh, we, you had that, I had that one listener come up while the two of us were talking.
And he goes, oh, you're Jim Corcus. I, I really enjoy your podcast with Lou. But, but you sound much shorter on the on the radio. And both of us looked at each other and go, How do you sound shorter on the radio? I can,
I sound shorter
everywhere I go, . But you got a big heart buddy. A big heart, as I always say.
And again, yes, we're sitting right outside. Uh, carousel progress, one of my favorite, uh, attractions and as you alluded to, it wasn't open on, on October 1st, 1971. Remember that, um, Walt Disney World, that was considered phase. Phase two was going to come, uh, five years, uh, later, roughly about 1975, you know, with the Asian resort, uh, the, uh, uh, big Thunder Mesa, uh, all of that.
And, uh, one of the few things that came for phase two was, uh, carousel of Progress, which opened here January, uh, 1975, on the exact same day that Space Mountain opened, uh, uh, out here. So, uh, my understanding is we're gonna talk a little bit about, um, uh, the history, uh, of, uh, the attraction, especially the history out here at Walt Disney World and of, uh, course, because your listeners always enjoy this.
We'll talk about, uh, some of those special things to, to see on, uh, the attraction today. And, uh, then, you know, you and I were, uh, discussing what, what should be done with the carousel progress. So we'll end with that. And, uh, hopefully some of the listeners after listening to this, Uh, they might have some ideas as well.
Absolutely. We wanna help them appreciate and also understand the attraction as well and, and its history. Not just going back to the World's Fair, but we were talking about before, you know, it's about Walt and one of the things I love still about this attraction is that it, it is called Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress because there is a lot of Walt, literally and figuratively in inside the
Carousel of Progress.
Oh, oh, ab. Absolutely. In fact, uh, uh, this is one of the few, uh, attractions where Walt was intimately involved in hands-on, right from the initial, uh, concept, uh, to the final, uh, uh, execution. Uh, you know, uh, John Hench had gone to see, uh, on Broadway, he'd gone to see the Play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. And he recommended to, uh, Walt, uh, that Walt should see that play.
And Walt saw it three times in, in Los Angeles and felt that this would be a great idea to tell, uh, the story of electricity for General Electric. You know, a lot of people realized that for Disneyland, Walt had plans for a parallel street, uh, to Main Street. At first it was gonna be International Street, very similar to, uh, the concept we have at World Showcase at Epcot today.
Then it was gonna be Liberty Street, very similar to Liberty Square that we have out here at Magic Kingdom. But also one of his plans was at the end of Main Street, uh, in a little cul-de-sac, right off to the right hand side was going to be Edison Square, and it was gonna be turned in the century. And, uh, there'd be a statue of, uh, Thomas Edison.
And he was hoping General Electric was gonna, uh, sponsor this. And, and the main attraction in that area was a, um, four theater show called Harnessing the Lightning. Uh, with, um, Wilbur K Wat and K stood for kilo kilo kilowatt. And, uh, in each of the stages you would see how electricity and specifically General Electric had changed your life.
So in the first theater it would be, uh, 1898. So the turn of the century. A second theater would be 1918. Uh, then the, uh, third theater would be 1958. And John Hench actually did up a concept sketch of, uh, three kids wearing Mickey Mouse ears sitting in front of the TV set watching, uh, the Mickey Mouse Club on tv, which you would do in 1958.
And then the final scene was 19, question mark eight. And the question mark, uh, was intentional because it was supposed to be somewhere in the immediate future, but the vague. And you would be, um, in your, uh, house, which was literally an island in the sky, so you could see the stars above you and the stars below you.
And, uh, the, uh, kitchen was, uh, self program very similar to like Monsanto, uh, house of the, the Future. And there were self-propelled serving carts and, uh, you know, uh, uh, big screen TVs and, and all of this. But of course, in those days you would walk. So, um, there would be a three-tiered viewing area, very similar to like the, uh, viewing area you have at, uh, uh, stitches, great escape where you're, uh, uh, watching them burn the little alien to oh, just breaks my heart there.
Uh, so you'd be on those with the railings and you would be loaded in and then the automatic doors would open, and so the crowd would then move into the next stage. That would do another group would, uh, uh, funnel in. And then of course the final thing that you would go to is an exhibit area. Where you'd see all the new General Electric, uh, you know, appliances.
And this was Walt's proposal in 1958 and General Electric was interested, but by 1959, they were really more interested in going to the New York World's Fair. So they asked Walt if he had, uh, any ideas for that. And so, of course it's Wilbur k Watt, we, we'll, we'll do that. And, uh, Claude Coates and Bob Ger had been working on a revolving stage for General Motors where they were gonna tell the story of dinosaurs because in the, uh, fifties, we still associated dinosaurs and oil.
So that was going to be it. So they took the idea of a rotating theater, and the rotating theater is really like a giant donut. So the, the stage is that little empty donut hole in the middle there, but it, the, where the audience sits is like a donut. And it's on these steel, uh, trucks, which, um, each of the trucks have, uh, uh, 36 steel railroad, uh, wheels, uh, railroad car wheels.
So this thing can hold up to, you know, three quarters of a million pounds in each theater, which is, which is why I feel safe writing this attraction. Um, you know, and, uh, it, it, it then moves you around. Now the interesting, uh, difference, of course, is that for the World's Fair and for Disneyland, um, the theater, um, moved clockwise because the final theater would, you'd go up a speed ramp and at the World's Fair, you would see the Sky Dome Spectacular, which was this huge dome designed by architect Wilton Beckett.
And they had, uh, uh, sunbursts and electrical storms and all that. And then at, uh, in, uh, California, Uh, you went up that speed ramp and you saw Progress City when it came out here to Florida. You'll notice that the theater, uh, rotates counterclockwise because you don't take a speed, a speed ramp up to the second floor to see anything at
And that's one of the things I think that we missed. Those of us that know what, that, we never saw it, but know what that was like. And when I take people through the tta, wed way people mover, call it what you will tomorrow, land Transit Authority. And you see that model of progress, land progress City Epcot.
I try and explain to people that's not the whole model by a long shot. That's incredibly detailed, but it's a very small portion of what Progress Land Progress City was back
in Disneyland. Well, and and you don't actually realize how small until you think that the original model was, uh, 6,900 square feet for crying out loud.
And this is just a, a little window display out here in, uh, Uh, magic Kingdom. And again, you had all of these, uh, again, this was Walt's design for his Epcot, the experimental prototype community of tomorrow. And in California, you heard, um, uh, that being said, this is Walt, this is just part of Walt's plan for Florida, you know, whatever.
But it wasn't called Epcot out in California because in 1967 when, uh, the attraction had been moved from the World's Fair, uh, to California, the Disney company wasn't sure they were gonna pursue Walt's dream of Epcot. So they hedged their bets and called it Progress City. And they called it Progress City because the General Electric, uh, pavilion at the 64 65 Worlds Fair was progress land because, uh, general Electric's motto at the time, Progress is our most important product.
And that was their motto in the fifties and the sixties. And in fact, uh, some of these, uh, the listeners here might be old enough to remember in the 1960s watching, uh, general Electric Theater on, on Sunday nights with Ronald Reagan as the host. And he would start each episode where they would, uh, do a dramatic play each, uh, each week with, you know, progress is our most important product.
Um, so that's why it became Progress R Land and Progress City and, uh, that, that big building you see towering up, that was the Cosmopolitan Hotel. And Cosmopolitan and of course means international. Walt's concept of Epcot was always, was, was gonna be international and that was gonna be huge. And that was gonna be the centerpiece for the urban center.
And then everything would spoke out from there and all the lights. And this is just amazing to me. I talked with Imagineer, uh, Harriet Burns before she passed away. And she said Walt drove us, uh, crazy because the model was one eighth of an inch, uh, to a foot, which is really pretty large. But he wanted every single building, whether it was up close where the audience could see or or way towards the back or the side.
Every building inside had to be furnished and lit, you know? Uh, so holy cow. And you went up there. And for those who never had that experience, uh, again, I'm a California boy, so as a kid, I loved this attraction, cuz again, I saw it on Walt talk about it on tv. Walt Disney goes to the world's fair. Uh, again, you would be on a three-tiered level, you know, uh, with the railings, and you would move, uh, from one side of the room to the other.
And as you. It was an entire day of Epcot. You started in the morning and then at the end you saw night come to Epcot and the amusement park light up and you heard narration. You had father and and mother talking and when they talked about the amusement park, they go, now they'll be in amusement park, but it's no Disneyland but it, but it's clean and it's friendly and we have a lot of fun there.
Well, and that's, you know, we talk when we talk even about when we do the shows together. Yeah. We talk about the detail in Walt Disney and well, that I refer to 'em as sort as the layers of the onion. The detail that imaginary sort of follow Walt's footsteps. They put those details that most guests don't see, but if you look hard enough, they're.
Like the lights and the windows and the furnishings and the buildings. It's, it was that important to him. It's still that important to a lot of people here at Disney to make those details sort of even be present in, in the parks as well as, uh, things like the model.
Right. And, uh, you know, when we, uh, talk about, um, the, uh, attraction out out here in, in Florida, you know, I, I run into an awful lot of people who go, oh yes, that, that's exactly the way Walt and it, no, it's not Walt, Walt made changes in it when it came from, uh, uh, the world's fair to, uh, uh, Disneyland, especially in that, that final scene, uh, you know, they had to eliminate things that were, you know, really part of, uh, progress of the world's fair.
But even within two, three years, they were outdated. So by the time I opened in 67, that final scene now showed, uh, you know, um, uh, exciting new things like. Videotape, you could videotape. Oh my gosh, this is amazing. Who could ever afford that in your own home? And, and of course you looked out the back window and you saw the skyline of, uh, of, uh, Epcot, uh, there, when it came out, uh, to Florida in 1975, there were even more massive changes because of course you also have to update that final scene, but you're updating an awful lot of other things, uh, uh, as well.
And again, one of the reasons it, and once it came out to Florida, it went through a lot of changes. It got rehabbed in 81, then later in 85 when General Electric stopped sponsorship. And then, uh, finally in, uh, 93, 94, so things changed, uh, over the years. The dog, uh, we were talking about this, that one of the things we like to do on the show here is not just share information, but sort of, uh, debunk, uh, urban legends.
And one of the ones that are going out on the internet is that the dog in the carousel progress. Is based on Walt's dog. No, the dog that is in there now looks nothing like any dog that Walt ever had in his entire life. However, where that started is if you ever watch the TV show, Walt Disney goes to the World's Fair, and you see the mockup of the first scene, uh, with the father and the dog.
The dog is a white poodle, which looks very similar to the white poodle that Walt had, that he loved very deeply, uh, at, at that time in his life. And so a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And now they've all become, uh, uh, Walt Disney's, uh, uh, dogs. And the dog has changed names in, in California and, uh, at the World's Fair.
In the first scene he's called Rover. Um, in the second scene he's called Buster, in the third scene he's called. Uh, when it came out here to, uh, Florida in the second scene, he's called Queenie, and I have no idea why that is. Now he, now he's Rover through the entire thing. And of course, the big question, maybe something we'll discover today is, is this dog now the same dog that's over at, uh, pirates of the Caribbean with, uh, the keys in the mouth?
And of course, those of you who are, uh, listeners, you can take a look too and go, gee, the grandma in that first scene, is she the same grandma who's in the haunted mansion out here in Florida, in the ballroom scene sitting there by the, the fireplace? Well, anyway, the dog was, was Walt's, uh, uh, uh, idea. And uh, uh, one of the imagineers told me that, yeah, he got woken up late at night because Walt never slept.
And Walt said, The attraction just needs a weenie. And the guy had no idea what Walt was talking about, and he thought the weenie is, well, it's like the castle, right? And, and no, what Walt meant was the weenie was something that would attract people's attention, but also have a lot of joy and all of that.
And so Walt added in the dog, uh, uh, uh, to there, uh, Walt added dialogue for, um, all of the characters. Uh, the original, uh, design for, uh, cousin Orville was the, um, uh, bathtub was facing the audience, and you couldn't see Orville's, uh, uh, toes. You'd see his, his knees, and he was reading a regular newspaper and then no privacy at all.
He would lift the newspaper to cover, cover his face. Walt said, no, no, no, no, no, no. And he went and he literally moved the bathtub. So now it's parallel. Uh, to the edge of the stage. And Walt took on, took off his, uh, shoes and socks, and got into the bathtub and stuck his toes up there and said, this is how the toes are going to go.
You know, we're going to, we're gonna wiggle this way so that, uh, um, uh, people can see this. And Walt came up with the idea of, yeah, let's have him read, uh, uh, the Police Gazette, uh, because that was sort of like a, uh, more racy version of National Enquirer today. But it told an awful lot about the, uh, uh, characters.
So the way that Orville is positioned today and, uh, how he wiggles his toes and, uh, even how he delivers his line, all of that came from Walt. And of course, we all know that, uh, the voice, uh, you know, no privacy at all in this place is, uh, Mel blank. And, uh, a lot of people also forget that Mel also did the voice of the parrot in the first scene.
Ah, progress. Um, And even Mel liked to tell the story that that was the only voice he did for Disney. And of course that is not true. That's why you can't always believe even the people who were there. Because in 1940, Mel Blank was hired to do the voice of Gideon, the cat in Pinocchio. And he came in and he did all the lines and all that.
And then as they were going through the scenes, they decided they were gonna make Gideon mute, like, uh, uh, dopey in Snow White. So they removed everything except a single hip hiccup, which is repeated three times in the movie. And Mel Blanc, uh, uh, in the old days, was very proud of saying it was the most expensive hiccup in the world and tried to get it into the Guinness Book of World.
Uh, for that to happen. Uh, but yeah, Walt's hand was involved with every single thing, uh, partly because he lived through this time period. And, and by the time you get to the sixties, it's Walt's vision of the sixties. And the whole core of the Carousel progress comes from Walt's, uh, belief in the importance of the family, uh, in the, uh, marvels of technology to, and especially American industry, to make our lives, uh, better.
And, um, the, the overall optimism that, um, the future is going to be good progress is something to be embraced. It's not something to be, uh, afraid of. And, and the Sherman brothers, especially Richard Sherman always like to say, you know, when we wrote, uh, the song, great Big, beautiful, tomorrow, we actually started the song by doing the lyrics.
Walt had a dream, and that's, uh, Uh, that's the start. And they said what we tried to capture in that song was, was Walt's optimism. So Walt's fingerprints are on this entire attraction, even though it's gone through lots and lots of changes, you've probably seen a lot of changes in the attraction.
I, I have.
But it, it goes back to, you know, that's why I said, when I introduced the segment, the importance of it still being called Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Because again, like you said, it embodies that idea of family and togetherness. And again, his vision, he was always sort of, uh, he was a futurist.
That was, sometimes he was frustrated because the technology could never catch up to his imagination. But he was so very much involved, not only sort of from a, a philosophical level as to what his beliefs are, but literally being hands on or toes in to, to the creation of the attraction itself. And I remember, you know, I grew up with not great big beautiful tomorrow, which, you know, we've talked to Richard Sherman in the past is, is one of his favorites.
And that was sort of his anthem for Walt. But you know, for me now is the time, now is the best time because that was sort of the change in what GEs philosophy was. We don't want you to think about tomorrow. We want you to go buy our refrigerator today. Now
is the time. Now is the best time. Now is the best time of your life is price.
Live every minute, open your eyes and watch how you win. Yesterday's memories may sparkle and we tomorrow is still bother. Dream right here and now you've got it made the world's Lord marching and you are in the parade. Now is the fun. Now you're absolutely correct, Lou, and, and you know, you, you see that war between, um, uh, Disney fans.
I've met people who that was their only experience was. Now is the time. And they are livid. That has gone back to great big, beautiful tomorrow. Uh, but you're right. What General Electric did is the attraction was out there in California for, uh, uh, roughly about six years, 67 to, uh, 73. And General Electric saw that the attraction was still popular.
It was, and, and again, this is a people sponge. You know, you can get over 200 people into each theater, so you can funnel through well over 3000, close to 4,000 people an hour. And it's still very popular. But General Electric didn't fail. It was getting enough bang for its buck that, uh, for instance, only 8% of the people who visited Disneyland came from east of the Mississippi.
You know, 80% usually came from California and the, and the surrounding, uh, uh, area. And so they felt. You know, these people aren't being encouraged to go out and buy more GE products. Also, uh, GE had a change in leadership, so they were looking for something. So yes, they agreed to bring it out here to, uh, Florida because they felt, my gosh, this is gonna be a, a huge new, uh, customer base for us, uh, to bring this in.
But the new leadership said, you know, but this song great, big, beautiful tomorrow, you're encouraging people to wait. That something better is coming. Walt didn't see it this, this way, you know, Walt didn't make, uh, fun of people that, oh my gosh, in the 1890s, uh, uh, scene, look how stupid they are, that they're, no, it's like people can be happy at any point in their life with what they've got, but by golly, there's even gonna be better things coming.
GE didn't see it that way. It's like, yeah, now is the time. Now is the best time to buy GE products. And so the Sherman Brothers were brought in, and again, it's difficult writing that song. Richard Sherman told me, he said, We were given directions like, you know, it has to be done in 13 and a half seconds, and it has to be adaptable to, you know, uh, turn of the century, uh, rag time and to jazz and to swing.
And, and he said it. Uh, writing the song was very much like being, uh, uh, uh, told, um, here is the shoe. Build me a foot that fits into it, you know, , and, and that's how it goes. And so, uh, of course also the. The final scene was, was, uh, uh, updated, you know, to, to show the new General Electric, uh, things. Uh, and they eliminated, uh, some things at World's Fair in, uh, California.
The, uh, opening prologue. You have the Kaleido phonic screens, which were all of these colored lights going in, in time to the music, which were just amazing. And it,
and is on cue over to the Tomorrowland Trans Authority. You can hear the background music of Great Big, beautiful Tomorrow, .
Beautiful song, beautiful song.
I, I love the song. I actually, I love, now is the time too. Uh, I, I've only heard on YouTube the, the revision for interventions out in Disneyland, which, uh, uses that, that, uh, Nathan Lane sings as Tom Morrow. I guess there's five different sets of lyrics, and again, one of the things that just brought me great joy in 2010 was going to Iron Man two and, uh, Uh, seeing, uh, you know, Howard Stark, Tony Stark, uh, Ironman's father, uh, as a pseudo, uh, Howard Hughes, Walt Disney doing Stark Expo 74, and the song, you know, make Way, make Way, make Way for Tomorrow Today, you know, written by, uh, Richard M.
Sherman, you know, that really captured the, um, that feel. Now, of course, they had to redo all of the voices. And Rex Allen, I love Rex Allen. Rex Allen, the, uh, Arizona Cowboy, a voice of the father at the World's Fair and at, um, uh, uh, in California, wonderful voice, did a lot of narration for, uh, uh, a lot of the Disney, uh, live action animal films.
But in between, what he had done is he had gone and done narration for Hannah Bara's animated feature, Charlotte's Web, and Disney called him up and said, well, how could you do this? You know, your, your Disney right? Your, your, your family. And Rex Allen said, well, I may be part of the Disney family, but you guys haven't given me work in the last 10 years.
I've got a family. So what they did is the father became, uh, Andrew Duggan, uh, a, a very well-respected, uh, uh, actor. And, and he's the one who did the revisions as well in, in 81 and, uh, 85, although in 88 he passed away from cancer. So in for the 93 94 revision, uh, they brought in, um, uh, author and, uh, humorous, uh, gene Shepherd, uh, who wrote and narrated, uh, a Christmas story, which is why I'm surprised there's not a reference to, you know, you'll shoot out in your eye with a BB gun, uh, for this to happen.
But fortunately for the 1933, uh, 19 93, 19 94 rehab, uh, they brought back, um, Uh, Rex Allen to do the grandfather in, in the final thing, wonder. He just has this wonderful, uh, uh, voice. So anyway, uh, bring it out, uh, here. And, you know, some of the things survived. Uh, you know, one of the things for people to take a look at is, uh, uh, the robin in the first scene, uh, because that survived from California, that survived from the world's fair, that survived from Mary Poppins.
Harriet Burns had to make that robin, uh, for Mary Poppins. When Julie Andrews is singing about the Robins feathering their nest and all that, that's an audio animatronic. And Walt wanted because they were gonna do a closeup, a real robin skin, but Robins are federal, federally protected, and Walt actually wrote to Washington to ask if they could shoot a robins or they could have a robin skin.
And he never got back any answer. But fortunately, one of the imagineers saw at a, um, Natural History Museum, uh, that they had some, uh, bird skins. And, uh, so, uh, Walt said, go get those bird skins no matter how many free tickets to Disneyland it cost. And that's it. They traded free Disneyland tickets for these Robin Skins, and the Robin Skins were packed in arsenic and Harriet Burns said the label on them was 1893
So they had been around for quite a while. And she said, so in the 1890s scene, it's, it's very funny. The Robin is really from 1893 there, uh, doing that. Uh, you know, one of the, the things that I wish they would change is I, I wish they would take a look at maintenance because, um, the figures, there's 32 of them.
The figures are run by hydraulic fluid. Uh, a lot of the audio animatronics out at Walt Disney World now are run by, uh, air and water because it's more environmentally friendly. But hydraulic fluid is still used because, It really does the heavy lifting, water and air just can't lift some of the, some of that weight.
And, um, so, uh, uh, what happens over time is hydraulic fluid will leak. So if you'll take a look at, for instance, sometimes the necks look a little stiff in here and, and all of that, the skins need to be changed. Just like, uh, the robin is, okay, the robin was an arsenic, but these other skins, they, they, uh, need to be changed.
And, you know, even out here in Florida, things have changed all the time. When it first came out here, that scene with a rumpus room, and I don't know how many people know what a rumpus room is. A rumpus room is where you created a rumpus. Literally, it, it, you know, uh, that was a family room where you could, could do that.
In the original version in 75, it's mother who came up with the paint stir using the mixer. And that's supposed to show how creative she is. Well, nowadays that sexist, you know how stupid mother is. So now it's father who's come up with that, because of course, the philosophy now in TV sitcoms and all this is father, is an idiot that's not father knows best.
So, so you go with that. One of the things that we'll see in, in the version, uh, uh, today is it's no longer Cousin Oroville. It's Uncle Oroville. I have no clue why that happens. Uh, they've, they've changed some of the names. Uh, Jane was the daughter. One of the scenes that people never saw out here, but only saw in California was, uh, Jane was sitting out on a front porch with her boyfriend and mother turns on the electric lights, you know, on the porch to say, Jane, it's time to come on.
That's not here. Also, there's no scene, uh, out here where, um, uh, uh, in the 1890s, uh, the sun was, uh, vacuuming, you know, one boy power, uh, vacuum. All of those gone names changed. The sun didn't get a name until, uh, it came out here to, um, Uh, Florida because the son had no lines, in the world's Fair or, uh, in, um, uh, California.
So there's no need for a name. Now he, now he's Jim and the daughter has changed from Jane to, uh, uh, Patty or Patricia or Trish.
So as long as we're talking about, uh, the family and this family unit that goes to all these changes, maybe you can answer a question for me. Mm-hmm. , as we're, as we're looking and, and there's such great details, like you said, like the Robin and some names and some other things.
We'll, we can point out along the way, but in the first scene in the vignette on the left hand side, when you see mother, there's a little girl who's helping her there. And it's not Patricia because Patricia's on the other side, who is the missing sister. And what happened to her is, is, you know, is it, is it the sister we don't talk about?
Is, has she not been paroled as yet?
The sister has grown up? Is the official Disney, uh, uh, uh, spin on that? And who is it for me to, uh, to disagree? Originally it was the son. Uh, uh, doing that. But then when the sun got moved over to another scene, they replaced it with, uh, uh, a young sister. And so they play fast and loose because again, Disney has always been ambiguous about are we seeing the same family surviving through roughly a hundred years, or are these different families, but they're similar, you know?
And, uh, that was one of the reasons for dogs being called different names and different breeds because dog's gone now, you know, uh, and again, uh, at, uh, uh, the Disneyland, uh, version also World's Fair. Uh, grandma and grandpa were not, um, in the final scene. In fact, the mother says, grandpa and grandma are not with us anymore.
They're in a retirement community, . And, uh, our son and daughter aren't here because they're picking him up at the jet point, you know, and grandpa's in his eighties, that's his golf store, uh, score. Um, so it wasn't out here, uh, until grandpa and grandma and the, um, and it, the original voice for grandpa out here was, uh, uh, James Gregory, who was, uh, uh, Lieutenant Luger on Barney Miller and a bunch of other things.
Once you hear the voice or you look it up on imdb, you'll, you'll go, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, but it wasn't until it was out here in Florida that the entire family was together. Uh, out there in that, uh, final scene. But, you know, and, and Lou, Lou is such a stinker. You think he's the nicest guy in the world,
And he is. And he is. But as, as we were sitting down, he says, yeah, I've got a question to ask you, but I'm not gonna ask you until we're on the air. You know, let's, let's see. You know, are you smarter than Jim Cor? No. Cause I never
knew the answer. And I said, you know what? I, I noticed this a while ago. I said, what happened to this missing sister?
It really is the, the sister that we don't talk about. And the same thing too. You know, is it that same family that just ages really, really well, even when you saw them again in in Horizons ? Yeah. You know, grandma and grandpa are still looking pretty good for being 150 years old. Or is it sort of this representation of a family and just how they're depicted in different
times o over the year, you know, a a an inter and we can certainly start a lot of urban legends right?
Today on, on this podcast. And, and what you mentioned was exactly true. Imagine your George McGinnis who worked on Horizons said, uh, yes, that's supposed to be an extension of this family. And in fact, that's why, uh, general Electric pulled out in 1985, their sponsorship of carousel progress, because by that time, Epcot had open in Horizons, uh, had open.
And that's why in Horizons you still have that little clip of great big, beautiful tomorrow as the song, it's supposed to be the same family. And again, they're introducing the future. Walt's feeling was you didn't want to introduce the concept of death. In the future, you just avoid that, you know? Um,
except that Mr.
Toad, it's okay to get hit by
a train . Yes. The, the only attraction at an only busy attraction where you go to hell and people still come out smiling, you know, uh, and, and again, the whole point of Mr. Toad was Walt's storytelling is that stories have consequences. So if you drive like an idiot, that's what's gonna happen.
And so that was the natural conclusion. Nothing else. It made sense that, well, that's what's going to happen if you keep doing this, you know? Um, so for Walt, this result, yep. This is, this is true. No, I thought one of the things you were gonna ask is, you know, we have an Imagineer, um, uh, Kim Irvine, you know, related to, uh, Richard Irvine, who was the president of, uh, Imagineering.
You know, when, um, Walt Disney World, uh, opened and, uh, she came in and posed for the daughter. Uh, although the face is not hers, the face, uh, is a combination of different teenage faces that, uh, Blaine Gibson had, uh, uh, come in and model all of the female arms are Harriet Burns. Harriet Burns literally shaved her arms to make the moldings, and she, she told me, she said, you know, you don't realize all the little hairs on your arms until they're gone.
And then they're growing back in and it's the most awkward thing in the world. Uh, the father, by the way, was modeled after an actor by the name of Preston Hansen, uh, who did an awful lot, uh, uh, of work and, and, and in fact had a, had a, a long career, you know, was, was in things like, uh, uh, Dallas, an aam and, and all of that as a b movie actor.
And he came in and they did a, a casting of his face. And, uh, they came in and, and took, uh, uh, photos and he posed for Blaine Gibson. Um, Uh, and, uh, all of that. And he looks, he looks a lot like Walt . He does. I, I wonder if that was why he was cast. It. It's interesting. He never did, uh, a, a Disney, uh, uh, film. Uh, but that's, uh, that's a little thing.
And, and as, as long as we're telling people things to look at, you know, even though General Electric pulled out, it's still in the attraction. Take a look in, uh, the second scene and you see the Hot Point oven. Hot Point, uh, by the, the twenties was part of General Electric. It had been a separate company, and then, uh, the General Electric bought it out.
And in the third scene, the, uh, refrigerator is, um, uh, general Electric. And, and why do these things do this? Because we bring good things to life. Is is the
vacuum cleaner still? The red vacuum cleaner? Still a, a GE vacuum cleaner too. Yes.
So, so you've got all those little, uh, GE is getting, uh, has been getting free publicity since 1985.
Well, and you were talking about, you know, some of the names that are lost because, you know the names of of Rexel. Most people wouldn't know unless maybe we talk about 'em. And, and that's why I love sort of letting people sort of listen for things and look for things as well too. And I always talk about how, uh, you know, people that work on attractions and they're not really credited, you know, the Disney honors people by giving them a window on Main Street, they may get a tombstone in, uh, over in the hundred Mansion.
And there's very few exceptions other than maybe the Castle Mosaic. But sometimes, like here, they do recognize and they do sort of honor, maybe pay subtle tribute to a couple of imagineers, like a Marty Slar whose name you could see in the final scene. And Herb Ryman too, right?
A absolutely. And, and, you know, to give credit where credit is due, uh, Marty s Scalar was, was the primary writer, uh, for this.
But Larry Clemens was involved. He, he was a very good writer at the studio at, at the time, worked on, um, uh, the animated version of, uh, Robinhood, but also. Uh, intros for, uh, Walt for the, uh, uh, TV series and, uh, all of that. Uh, Mark Davis worked on some of the vignette sketches. Uh, so did Sam McKim. Sam McKim actually hand painted, uh, the Niagara fan, and it's the same one from, uh, uh, California.
So that, uh, and, and he did it. So it was a, a souvenir of the time period. John Hench, of course, uh, uh, uh, did, uh, uh, some, uh, design work in here. Claude Coates, uh, uh, as well. Uh, but again, the Disney Organization, waltz philosophy is we're all doing this together. He, he said, I'm not even Disney anymore. You know, Disney is, is is this something over and above what, what I am?
And so everybody did this and loved. Uh, the opportunity to work on that. And Walt, of course, what a, a sly guy, you know, he, he did the world's fair attractions, not just because he wanted to be exposed to an East Coast audience, because people kept saying, uh, Disney type of theme park entertainment wouldn't fly on the East Coast.
And, uh, he didn't, uh, uh, just do this to, to utilize his staff, you know, to put them to work. Basically, general Electric was paying the research into development, for audio animatronics for crying out loud the state of Illinois. It was as well for great moments with Mr. Lincoln. And then Walt had all of these attractions.
He couldn't move back to Disneyland. That was, that was in the contract. You know, Marty had to convince General Electric to sponsor it in, um, California, and he pointed out that within, uh, the first year at the World's Fair, 7 million people rode the attraction. 15 million people in the two years. It was at the World's Fair in the six years it was at Disneyland, over 31 million people rode Carousel Progress.
You know, it, it's just, um, it's just, uh, fun, you know? And, and even with all the changes that have been made, you, you get that, um, you know, you get that Walt, uh, feeling. And, and one of the things that you, you pointed at, uh, the end there is Yes. On, on the bulletin board on that last scene, you know, posted up on the bulletin board, it said, uh, it says Marty called, wants changes, you know, and uh, gosh, what a wonderful springboard, cuz we were talking about, uh, uh, changes, right?
may not be the only one that wants changes. I mean, look, when we talk about the car of. Um, rarely do you see the lion sort of snaking through Tomorrowland? Uh, it is sort of set off back here and, and, you know, it's in a day and age where, uh, a lot of kids want more exciting things. They want more interactive kind of things.
And over the years, uh, you know, the Carousel of Progress became a seasonal attraction, which is usually the death nail. Usually when something is seasonal, it means come in and see it as fast as you can. Uh, what I said, John Lasser came to do just that because he was afraid too, that it was going away. Um, there's been a long standing rumor that because of its connection to Walt, uh, there's a sort of unwritten, uh, belief that, you know, there should always be a carousel of progress here.
There should always be Walt Disease, carousel of progress. But you talked about, um, the attendance. You talked about maybe some maintenance issues. We, a lot of people talk about that final scene and although I will tell you I have a six and an eight going on, 38 year old, old soul. Child, children, they've come in and they enjoy this attraction and they have a lot of fun with it and they enjoy the music.
But for years we've been talking about what's next, what needs to be changed, what should happen to the carousel progress. And as we were talking sort of offline before we started, um, you basically enumerated sort of those four different options. Mm-hmm. , um, let's kind of hit 'em one by one. Cause I think this will be an interesting discussion, not only for us, but I certainly want the people who are listening to come by the show firstname.lastname@example.org and leave their comments as well.
Uh, especially because of. The history and the nostalgia, uh, and the ties to Walton's Attraction. So one of the options to do with Carousel
Progress is what? And, and again, and again, I think this is a, a wonderful opportunity for, uh, listeners to get involved. And I'm looking forward then to them doing that.
You know, oftentimes I hear, oh, Jim, you know, everything. I don't, I know enough to know how much I don't know. And also, I always love getting different perspectives, you know, because again, I grew up seeing this in California, so I'm seeing it through different eyes. And, uh, so we talked about options. Now, the, the first option, of course, is one that has been talked about, uh, for years.
And what you alluded to is in two, uh, year 2000, they were talking about closing the attraction. And John Lasseter made a special trip to come out and see the show because he thought it was the last time he would ever see this show. And here we are in 2011, right? Um, uh, so the first option, of course, is, my gosh, let's just.
Put it out of its, uh, misery, you know, uh, uh, no, we're not doing any, uh, maintenance, but by gosh, there's still labor costs. There's still overhead for, uh, uh, electricity, uh, uh, things like, uh, this, yes, we're not seeing, uh, uh, the traffic in there that we're seeing at, at other attractions. Uh, let's just, uh, uh, close it and say, you know, you had a nice run, but there were other things that were here that were just as good and, and they're gone now.
And, you know, Walt, as part of Walt's belief in progress, we're moving on to the next thing. So what do you think about that close the attraction?
So, Walt Disney said, and, and Marty Slar has articulated over, uh, through the years, that they never set out to build a museum. And sometimes it is time for attractions to close, even if they seem like they're popular.
There may be various reasons many of us lament the passing of Mr. Toad and 20,000 leagues and horizons. But maybe those weren't the most popular attractions at the time. We're sitting here right out at the exit of Carousel Progress, and as we've been talking, I, I've been watching people come out and the Magic Kingdom is not crowded today, but as each theater door opened, there is a good sized crowd that comes out.
So I think that, and I know it was just euphemism, you say, put it out of its misery. I don't think it is that it's such a, a condition that it's irreparable. It's unattractive, it doesn't hold, um, an enjoyable educational, fun time for guests that come in here. So for me, closing the attraction, sort of literally shutting the doors, you know, and knocking everything down inside and gutting it and putting in a, you know, chick-fil-A is not, uh, is not something that I hope would be an option.
I think there are. If you don't like it the way it is now, uh, and again, you can turn around and sort of see, watch the, the reactions of the people of all ages, right? And there's a, they're a good size craft. And that's the thing too, Jim, is that this is one of those attractions that, again, Walt set out to build, he wanted a place and things that families can have fun together.
So the little kid, the grandma, the person who may not, may have some mobility issues, they can all enjoy this attraction together. It's air conditioned. If that's your thing, if you want to take a nap, that shouldn't be why you go and see it. Uh,
but it, it's not bumpy, it's not jerky. Like all the new, the thrill rides, everybody can enjoy it.
In fact, I'm even worried about the, uh, uh, snow white, uh, mine train. Everybody's excited about that. Uh, I'm excited. But in terms of, of, of seeing that mine cart wiggle from side to side as well as going. I know that I have a nephew who's gonna be concerned about that. If, if my parents were still alive, they would be concerned about that.
This is an attraction that everybody can go on. On October 1st, I made a, a point of coming here to visit this. There was a little girl sitting in, in the first row, uh, came up to about the size of my knee, and she was just delighted at the dog. She didn't care about anything else that was going on. Oh my gosh, jumping up and down.
But from a business standpoint, you know, that's one of the reasons Skyway closed down. They said, what it's taking us to maintain this ride is the same amount of labor and effort that it would on an e ticket ride. Now, another option, of course, is, well, let's just leave it alone. Nothing to see here. Move on, move on.
And so for, for folks like you and I, maybe some of the people who are listening, it'll be just that little hidden treasure, you know, to get out of the. Uh, you know, Disney, just forget that it, that, that it's here go on and, and, and do avatar land and whatever. You know, just, just let us have this and, and let it alone.
That, that could be an option.
And see, and you're right, you could just, as it has been, again, 2000, they thought it was closing 11 years later. It hasn't really, you know, they've changed the carpets. They've up, they've changed the seating a number of years ago, which obviously meant that if they're gonna invest that time and the money to do that, they plan on keeping this attraction open in some form or fashion.
And I don't think it's almost the, you know, ignore that big dome in the corner kind of thing. Move on to Space Mountain because I'm, I'm watching the crowds sort of funnel out of here, and I, and I still see that it is popular. So I think it's, it's popular for those of us who are nostalgic. It's certainly popular for those who have never been.
Remember we take things for. There's still a lot of people here, like that family over there with the two kids. This is their first time at Walt Disney World. Mm-hmm. . So for them, this is a new, this is a novel attraction. Uh, it is not the high speed 3D thrill kind of thing, but I think they will appreciate it for what it is.
It's that simple, uh, family friendly, uh, kind of attraction that everybody
can enjoy and, and see. And I agree with that too in, with all the changes that I would like to, to make. And, we'll, we'll talk about that cuz I'm gonna save those for my final two, uh, options. Uh, here. I feel that this show still works as a show.
You know, I think it still has that storytelling core that Walt, uh, put in there. And, and I know later we're gonna even go see the, the tiki room and I'll, I think the tiki room probably, uh, works, uh, a as well. Because again, it still has that core, that belief of the family, that belief of optimism, that belief in, in, uh, um, technology.
And for me, that that is still works. So I feel that this actually brings a heart to, uh, uh, tomorrow land. I don't see anything else here in Tomorrowland that I would consider the heart, you know, uh, of that, uh, other things that are important, other things that are great, but I think this is, is the heart and that glimpse of Walt's future.
Okay. A third option. Oh,
wait, just real quick. Yeah. A and you mentioned tiki room, and I think that's a good parallel because it is, it's not high tech, it's not sexy. It's very, very simple. Um, the music that's in there now is certainly not, you know, no kid is gonna come in there and recognize that music, but my mom will go in and say, oh, I remember that.
And I've gone in there with people say, oh, I remember that. From this show, that show whatever it is when I was a kid, that too is Walt Disney's in Chann Tiki Room. And I think because of their connection to Walt, uh, I think they're, I think that makes them important attractions to stay
here. So go ahead.
Option number three. Okay. Yeah. Well, and, and when we do the podcast on, on Orangeburg and Tiki Room, which we're, we're gonna go, we can go through that. Maybe there should be an attraction in every land that is Walt Disney's attraction. So Walt Disney's Carousel Progress here and Tomorrow Land and Walt Disney's Tiki Room and Adventure Land.
Maybe there should be Walt Disney's, uh, uh, mark Twain. Maybe there should be Mar Walt Disney's, you know, whatever.
If this isn't it, what attraction in the Magic Kingdom for you is Walt's attraction. It sort of embodies the, the spirit, the belief, the technology, his hands in it. What are you
thinking? The trains.
Well, Disney's trains come on. And, and, and maybe the second one. Maybe the, maybe the, the Steamboat. But trains. Trains, you know. And, uh, the going back in, in into time and the being able to, to, uh, take a journey somewhere new and, and, and explore the trains. Trains still work for me. Okay. I thought you were gonna say Stitch Great escape, but go ahead, move on.
Okay. . Well now I, I, I'm sure there's people in Disney marketing and, and Synergy and brand, all of whom I love dearly are probably thinking, is there some way we can make Stitch? You know, Walt l Walt loved mischief. And so that's, um, no. Okay. Third option. Let's bring in an entirely new attraction. Now, obviously we can't bring in America Sings.
I loved America Sings. Actually, if I was gonna bring America Sings to Florida, I'd put it in Liberty Square, the history of America through music. But maybe there's a different attraction, certainly not interventions that went into to Disneyland. And when they put in interventions in, they actually ruined the rotation of the stage.
So a lot would have to happen for that stage to rotate again. But, um, Uh, come up with an entirely new attraction. You know, one of the things that they were discussing at Disneyland was, uh, George Lucas was gonna take over the carousel theater. There was gonna be a crashed space saucer. And basically you would go in and you see these performers from other worlds who are performing for you.
They're on their way to a gig, they're performing, waiting for their saucer to get, uh, fixed. And so there's all sorts of, uh, of options, you know, could there be a, a buzz light here, storyline here? You know, this is a wonderful concept. Of, uh, you know, that, that moving theater, it's, it's a, it was really something innovative.
I come from a theater background as, you know, really something innovative. Maybe it's time for a whole brand new show for the theater.
So you don't see necessarily gutted high-tech attraction. You wanna keep that sort of multiple theater spinning around. Mm-hmm. the donut hole as it were. Right. Uh, does it need to be something that's based off of a franchise?
Is it waiting for the next big franchise, or can it be something that sort of stands on its own? Does it have to be tied to Toy Story or the Incredibles or whatever, you know, maybe coming next down the pipeline?
Well, of course you tie it to Avatar and, and you can use 3D screens and you got people sitting there, so, my gosh.
And, and no. Um, I don't think it has to be tied to a, a franchise. I, I always like when, when Disney, uh, takes something, but no, I don't think they have to look through and go, oh, well Walt did, uh, moon Pilot. In, in the, in the sixties, we're gonna theme it to Moon Pilot. Who cares? The cat from outer space? No, uh uh.
They could come up with something, um, completely nude, you know, maybe it's sunny eclipse, maybe, whatever. But keep the theater. But changed the show, you know, we've changed out, uh, shows, but kept the theater. Uh, um, and I say we, I'm using the Disney We here. Disney. Disney has, has kept theaters, but changed out to shows and, and, and that has improved.
Sometimes it hasn't worked, changing the show. Okay. Fourth option, this is, uh, fourth option, and then I'm gonna save my fifth object, which is my absolute favorite. But the fourth option is when the show was originally created. There's a 20 year gap between scenes. So you start at the gay nineties. In fact, father is holding a newspaper that says 1890.
Even though in this version they make reference to the. Uh, St. Louis World's Fair. So that'll be 1904. Okay. And then you jump to the twenties, and in this version out here, they make reference to Lindbergh's Flight and Al Joseph's Jazzing. So that's 27 right before the depression. Good, I idea. And then you make, uh, uh, another 20 year, uh, uh, jump into the frantic forties.
And it's obviously towards the end of the forties going into the fifties, because again, you're dealing with, uh, TV and the original version of the show, you watched black and white cowboys shoot 'em out. And so the gag was when you went into the final scene, you saw a color tv. It was the exact same film strip, but it was in color.
Uh, and then, uh, you jumped 20 years into, um, you know, the, the sixties. So at the World's Fair, it was the General Electric, uh, medallion home of the future. And then when it, uh, went to. Uh, at California, you know, it moved a little further in, in, into the, uh, late sixties when it, when it came out here, it was in the seventies and in 81 they updated it into the eighties.
You know, uh, now it's, uh, uh, the turn of the, the millennium there. So basically what is happening is you're jumping 20 years. 20 years, and then that final jump, you're jumping 60 to 70 years. You know, that's a shock to this. What have, what have these people been doing for 60, 70 years? So let's go through and redesign the sets.
So now there's only a 40 year jump. So yes, you start at the turn of the century. I think that's a great place to start. And again, since you're not tied to General Electric, you can go into all sorts of other, uh, things as well, you know, to show there's other progress other than just electricity. Uh, then you're gonna jump the 40 years to the forties, you're gonna jump the 40 years to the eighties.
And because there's people around today who remember the eighties, not a lot. I'll, I'll, I'll have the, these wonderful college students come up to me and they'll talk about Disney history and I'm just so impressed. They know. And they turned out they were born in 1991 . And I still have clothes in my closet that I bought in 1991 that I wear today.
And then the final jump is you jump another 40 years. So, uh, again, you're not into the Buck Rogers Flash Gordon zone, but you're into what Walt always liked, which is the world that's, you know, just around the corner, you know, um, and Steve Jobs would've been great to create that scene, but, so yes, let's go through and change all of the sets.
So now there's a 40 year jump rather than a 20 year jump. That's my fourth option. So
your fourth option seems to encapsulate, and, and I have no problem with, you know, you can go back and update some of those earlier scenes and do. But it all comes back to the current discussion and dialogue, which is the final scene.
The final scene is supposed to be the future, the present, whatever it is. Right now, it's 25, 30 years in the past. But I think you've run into the same problem that they ran into here in Tomorrowland, that they run into in Epcot. Is that, and I think Walter has ran into this problem too. The day that Tomorrow Land here opened.
Yeah. It was not about tomorrow. Flight to the Moon was about something that took place two years early. The Grand Prix Raceway wasn't all that futuristic. And the Skyway is a technology to have been around. So how do you predict, how do you, more importantly, how do you portray the future? If you took something right now and you gutted that final scene, what do you put in there?
An iPhone, an iPad, you know, Bluetooth, the wireless technology. But three years from now, people go, remember how those iPads, how cute those were, because it's always, we're never gonna be able to keep it updated enough to keep the technology both fresh, but certainly not
futuristic too. I think you have hit on the key challenge to this, this attraction that has always been the key challenge, you know, and in fact, um, what they did of course at, at Disneyland and, and what they've done out here.
Is you're going back to a retro future, you know, uh, the future of, of the pulps, the, uh, magazines and the old science fiction films. And, and in fact, that's why we've got gears, you know, and people think the gear out in front of Carousel progress is, well, that's because there's this big gear that's moving here.
No, it, it's the whole theme of the Tomorrow land here of, of that almost sort of a steampunk, uh, uh, type of look. That's the challenge. That's why I've saved for last my number one option. Those of you listening, I told Lou you love him dearly, that if he said Storm the castle, you would go out and get the torches and you'd be out there today because you love Disney that much.
That's one of the things I've, I've seen and and Lou's, uh, listeners, is, uh, I I see an awful lot of Disney fans who are jaded, uh, who are worried, who have given up hope on things. But, but that pixie dust is, is always still in your eyes. This is what Jim Corcus would like to see happen with the carousel progress.
Take it back to the absolute original version. And so what you do with that final scene is you take it back to Walt's vision of the sixties, so you have the references to Walt's vision of Epcot. Maybe even the whole house is designed as Walt. As Epcot in the sixties, you know, you bring in an artist like Shag or, or, um, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daley, who I love the work that they do.
Absolutely outstanding, you know, and do that retro futuristic sixties. I, one of the, the, uh, TV series that I absolutely loved growing up as a kid and I still watch today is The Avengers with John Steed and Emma Peel of, of course, I'm still in love with Diana Rigg of the sixties. But, uh, if you take a look at that, it really isn't Britain.
It is, it really isn't UK of the sixties, but it has that whole sixties feel, that image of the sixties. And so what we do is, yes, the other scenes stay the way they are, although, you know, you refresh them, you do the maintenance, you know, you get rid of the dust bunnies on the scrims and, and watch where, you know, they've started to get a little thread bear and, you know, do that and bring back Rex Allen's voice.
The voice tracks are there. Bring back Rex Allen, you know, as the father, you know. Um, And, and do that. And so this really then truly becomes Walt Disney's carousel progress because it's capturing that carousel of progress that Walt saw in the sixties. Walt's last, wonderful vision of progress, a global community, the family together, you know, um, and spending the time together at, at, at Christmas.
That's what I want. That's the option I want. And so those of you who are listening and you go, oh, that other option Jim said was the best one. I'm telling you, this is the one we need to go with. And,
and that might, like you said, that might sort of resolve all the issues. How do you address that final scene that will always be out of date?
How do you get back to it being truly Walt Disney's carousel of progress to let it sort of be up there with the train and something that he had such a, a, a literal and figurative hand in creating and dreaming about, uh, and putting together the original song is back there again. We, we talked about the tiki room going, you know, back to the future as it were.
Mm-hmm. to that original and people embracing it once again. Uh, I think this is where we want to hear the listener's opinion as to. What their ideal option is and what do they think about that? Is that something that, let's sort of play devil's advocates for a second. This is all about making magic and it's all about pixie dust.
It's all about family fun and entertainment, and everybody here is just smiling and have a good time, but it's also about a business. Mm-hmm. . And from a business perspective, would it make sense to spend X amount of dollars in order to do it right and in order probably a very large sum of money to take this attraction, multiple scenes, multiple theaters, and bring it back, bring it back to a more modern day vision of what it looked like in 1964.
Because if you do, are you able to justify it? Will that bring in more guests? Because that's where it's gonna come down to you. You need to, if you're gonna spend money, it's obviously gonna make. Will, bringing that carousel of progress sort of back to life, for lack of a better term, will that translate dollar-wise?
Will that potentially bring a, again, do you advertise on TV on Good Morning America, the new and improved 40 year old retro carousel of progress? And I'm not saying it would or wouldn't, right? That's me sort of asking that
question to the audience. No, I, I think that's a valid question. And we always need to realize that when we talk about, uh, the Disney business, it's show and its business, and the business has to be healthy in order for the show to go on.
Uh, I think that taking it back, you're gonna get that, uh, initial, uh, uh, punch because again, you've, you've got so many Disney websites now and Disney, uh, podcast, although I know none of you listen to any other podcast other than Lose. There are a, a couple out there besides, and they should, but they should.
But, but to get different perspectives. I think that that touching in to Walt, because I don't think dis the Disney company has understood how to really touch in as a tribute to their founder. Yes, you've got the partner statue, but basically you're marketing Walt as, as a, uh, a piece of product on a t-shirt.
Things like this. This is the one thing where this, this is the heart. Something you can always point to. You can market it as an alternative to those rockham sock rides. You know, I, I wish we had more stage shows, you know, at, at Disney. I will tell you my favorite stage show was the Golden Horseshoe Review.
Long gone, long gone Out here it was the Diamond Horseshoe Review. Long Gone. Kids, kids of the Kingdom. You know, it used to have a galaxy search stage out here. All, all of these gone. One of the reasons Walt loved the this show is that the show was always consistent. The show would always go on and Walt said in a Canadian broadcasting interview, and nobody's going off for, uh, coffee and I don't have to deal with unions.
And when I say bring it back to the original, bring it back to the illusion of the original because audio animatronics have advanced. You know that technology has advanced. You can add in those little tweaks, but it can still look like it was in, in the sixties. And, uh, again, I think this is something that every person of every age can enjoy.
And there's that huge long line always out in front of Buzz Light here. Even with Fast Pass on all this, this would be that wonderful spillover as well. People are are running into this by accident now. You know, people love going and seeing something. Uh, I, I would be interested to see what the figures are of the, uh, uh, tiki room under original management.
Whether, you know, um, uh, numbers have gone, uh, up and whether that's just a curiosity factor or whether people are really going in there because they don't want. The jaded cynicism that's out there, you know, those smart alec nudge, nudge, wink, wink remarks. They want to feel good. And, and I think Carousel progress would be one of those things that there would be the initial rush cuz it's new, the initial rush because we're honoring our founder.
You know, this is the, the one place where, where we're, uh, we're doing it where the entire family can, can uh, uh, get together. But I think word of mouth then would start to build on this. And uh, that's how uh, you know, a lot of attractions at, at Disneyland especially became popular was word of mouth. Cuz nobody had any idea.
And then they go, oh yes, we went on this and this is it. And as you point out, this is a great place, air conditioning. Mm-hmm. , you get to sit down. Something for all ages. And
I think the fact of being a tribute to Walt, the person honoring his, his legacy and his vision is important to us. Mm-hmm. , and I point to you and I and, and, and I think there's a segment of the population that's probably listening that it's important to, but again, playing devil's advocate because I have to put my right, the money that my parents put to law school to some sort of good use.
Do you think that that's important for the everyday guests that mom and dad that are saving for three years to take their two kids? Do you think that's something that would drive them or be important to them? Or do you think that if Disney says we've got X amount of dollars, We're gonna rehab the carousel progress, or we're gonna take that empty spot where the Galaxy Palace Theater one set, and we're gonna put a new attraction in there.
A again, that's always the, the hard decision. You know, Disney can extend the monorail, you know, but the question that always comes down is the amount of money we're spending, do we really wanna spend it on that or do we want to spend it on, uh, something else? You know, uh, uh, 10 years ago, uh, when I was working for the Disney company, they had a focus group over there at, uh, uh, the studios.
And they were asked, you know, if we extended the monorail, you know, so for instance, the monorail from the studios, uh, to Dak, and then maybe some stops at some of the. Uh, resorts in between and then connect that monorail eventually to the Epcot monorail. Would you be willing to pay for a transportation pass?
And if you were willing to pay for a transportation pass, how much would you be willing to pay? So we can see if any of that would offset, you know, uh, the investment and people were willing, people would, were willing to pay for, uh, because, uh, uh, you know, that, uh, bus travel on property can be a challenge.
And the monorail is not only, it's a great transportation medium, but it's an, I think for a lot of us, the monorail is still a nostalgic type of attraction.
Yeah. Abs ab Absolutely. You know, uh, and again, it Disneyland, you know, it, it, it curved and. And, uh, Walt was told, well, you know, the monorail is meant for distances, so it should be, you know, it should go straight.
And he says people are gonna enjoy curving and they're gonna enjoy seeing the other monorail coming the other way. And he was right. He was a as as always cuz he had that instinctual understanding of what people, uh, you know, uh, liked and wanted. And, and I think some of that still exists in, um, the carousel progress and I think even the carousel as it exists today, um, is worth your time.
Is worth coming, uh, uh, to visit. Not everybody agrees with me, but I, but I think if we tweaked it, so it was really was waltz carousel. I think you solved that problem of always having to constantly. You have, uh, again, from a business standpoint, yes, you have a lot of upfront cost, but you're not having any backend coming in, which has always been the problem with this.
Yeah, and this is one, like I said, that I certainly want to hear a and look, we've honestly, we, we've talked for a long time, but we've really sort of only touched on some details and stories and history about the attraction. And I wanna know on the most basic level, is the carousel progress a must do when you come to the parks, is it something you do every time?
Is it a one and done? Is it a Oh, if I bring new people and more importantly, share your opinion. If you, do you think it should be, uh, refurbished? Do you think the final scene should be changed? The whole attraction should be changed. Which one of those options, if any, is most appealing to you? Or maybe you have one, maybe you have one that we'd ever thought about.
Um, but I would love to hear, because I. Some of the things that we say and we talk about now, you know, you never know who may be listening, and I'm sure, uh, the carousel progress is on the radar. Uh, it is something that Disney's probably always thinking about and wondering what to do next with it. So I think it's an interesting conversation, especially at this time, uh, you know, nearly 40 years after it's been here and, and having such a long history behind it.
But, um, like I said, speaking of great big and
beautiful people, what Well, they see, they should be listening to us. Bob, Bob Iger. John Lasseter should be saying, you know, we're gonna fly out, uh, Lou and Jim for a week. You know, we're going to, uh, whine and dine them. We're gonna pick their brains and then we're gonna send 'em away.
We're gonna also gonna have 'em sign those non-disclosure contracts. So anything we do, none, none of 'em are alive.
Well, according to my son who's six year old, um, that is exactly what happens because when he had a chance to meet, uh, Ron Schneider, the original dream funder the other night, we went home, we, we put on the dvd I made of the original journey to Imagination.
And he looks at me serious as a heart attack. And he goes, daddy. And he points to me with his little finger, he said, the next time you talk to Bob Iger, you tell him to bring back the dream binder . So he goes, pinky swear. I said, okay, I pinky swear. But, um, so yeah, even the six year olds are a little nostalgic as well too.
Um, but there's so much more we could talk about this. There's a lot more that we have to cover as well too. And again, there's so many. Uh, great stories that only Jim Corcus can tell. If you want to hear more, go back and listen to old episodes. Stay tuned for future episodes. More importantly, go out and buy yourself by a friend, uh, and by Bob Iger, A copy of Vault of Walt.
I'll put a link to it. He can get that at Amazon. Uh, it is a great collection of stories about so many, uh, Disney attractions and Walt Disney himself. Uh, an incredible book, uh, it is a must have for any Disney fans' library.
And Lou, as always, thank you for giving me this, uh, platform to, to share some of the stories, share some of the information.
And I would also, like this time, I always thank you. I'd like to thank. The listeners because so many of them come up and they say, we're trying to save the stories. Those stories that you tell Lou, we try and share them with other people, and I know they are because I see them popping up and, and not one of them go.
And Jim Corki said it's like this story. In fact, there was stories that came out about, uh, the Roy statue that even came out officially from Disney that I know. Disney didn't have that information. The only way they could have got it was from listening to me talking to you on the show and saying, lane Gibson told me such and such.
And, and there it is. And, uh, in fact, a couple of your listeners come up and say, we're trying to save those stories. We're trying to go around and talk to people in the parks today. We're trying to talk to our parents. We're trying to look through old things that we have. And that's, that's what is So I important because it, it's in danger of, of disappearing.
And again, what a perfect time for Bob Iger. What a wonderful legacy for him to leave. That he listens to you and I and makes those changes . Right.
Well, like I said, um, we're so grateful for you sharing these stories, and we want the listeners, when they do come here with maybe that new family or, or a new friend or whatever it might be, bring them to the carousel progress, make them understand the legacy.
Watch that pre-show video. Of Walt and the Sherman Brothers and explain to 'em why this attraction, uh, is so important in some of the history and the stories and the details behind it. Uh, also look for more of Jim's stories behind the stories in Celebrations magazine. We are so honored to have you be a part, uh, of, of our, uh, of our print magazine and all the stuff you do there.
So, Jim Corcus from the Vault of Walt, author of The Vault of Walt. Uh, thank you so much
and, and not as short as he sounds. I'm not as short as I sound. He's he's
handsomer than he sounds. Uh, I am as, as short as I appear in the videos. Uh, and so maybe we should, you know what? In honor of, uh, of Walt and, and Bob IGAs continuing legacy, we should go and experience the carousel
progress together because there's always something new to see.
I, every time I come, I see something. And what a wonderful way of experiencing it. Experiencing with Lu Mongie. Thank you all. Thank you again, Lou. And we've gotta do some more podcasts, buddy. Absolutely.
Just dream way.
So there's a great big, beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow.
Just a dream. Always. There's a great big, beautiful tomorrow. Just a dream. Always. Well, it sounds pretty good. In fact, that's just the right.