Carousel of Progress was one of two attractions that opened in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland on January 15, 1975; the other attraction being Space Mountain. General Electric signed a 10-year contract to sponsor Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Unlike the small changes that had occurred when the Carousel of Progress moved from the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair to Disneyland Park, extensive changes were made when the attraction moved to Walt Disney World.
A new carousel theater building was designed to house the attraction: a one-story pavilion, with a loft above. The loft is used by the Tomorrowland Transit Authority track, wrapping around the north side of the building. The interior and exterior of the building received new color schemes with blue and white stripes that grew smaller and larger as the building turned. Also, the theaters now rotated counterclockwise, rather than clockwise, like the two former theater systems.
The load and unload theaters no longer featured the stunning "Kaleidophonic Screens" that had dazzled guests as they boarded and exited their respective theater. The old screens had stretched from one wall to the other, with the giant GE logo in the center. They lit up in various colors and patterns like a kaleidoscope as the orchestral version of "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" played. Various problems plagued the screens after 1973, so silver curtains with the GE logo in the center took their place in both the load and unload theaters with different colored lights shining on them.
The Florida version was planned with no post-show. Guests would load and unload on the first floor. The Progress City/EPCOT model was significantly sized down so it could fit in a window display that could be seen from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. This display is located on the left hand side of the TTA track inside the north show building housing Stitch's Great Escape!.
Because of the changing times, a new theme song, written by the Sherman Brothers, was created for the Florida show. GE asked the Shermans to write a new song because they did not want their customers to wait for a "great big beautiful tomorrow;" GE wanted them to buy appliances today, so a song titled "The Best Time Of Your Life," (sometimes erroneously called "Now is the Time") was created. Although the song was still very peppy and positive, the Shermans still felt that "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was a better fit.
A new cast of voices and "performers" were showcased in the 1975 version, including actor Andrew Duggan as Father. The first three "acts" had some cosmetic and set design changes. The finale was changed to "New Year's Eve in the Home of the 1970s," and the dog also changed breed.
In 1981, the finale was updated to showcase "New Year's Eve in the Home of the 1980s." A new script was written for this scene change, but the rest of the show remained the same. The attraction closed briefly so that the changes could be implemented.
Travel through the 20th century to see how technology has improved our way of life during this classic, 21-minute Audio-Animatronics show.