Wow, what a busy last week and a half. Moving sucks. Why would anyone ever move anything?
So, let's start off on the previously mentioned '64 World's Fair pavilion and festival space by discussing my plan to move an entire attraction. Let's talk about my plan to move Carousel of Progress out of Magic Kingdom, out of Tomorrowland, and into Epcot's World Showcase. Hey, I'm not the one doing the packing and hauling, so it's easy for me to suggest this as a potential solution no matter the questionable sanity of said idea..
For those that might not know, Carousel of Progress, the original attraction, was initially developed by Walt and WED for General Electric's pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, NY. It was a whole new concept in entertainment, quite simple sounding on the outside (a theater where the stage stands still and the theater itself rotates), but quite an amazing piece of work. The theater, made up of 6 sections, each seating 240-250 people at a time, allowed the show to constantly be in motion, churning visitors through it at a fantastic rate. If I do my math correctly, the show was around 4 minutes per scene, with scenes 1 and 6 acting as load and unload. This means that the show could churn 250 people every 4 minutes, or an outrageous (and unbelievable enough I need to do some more research to verify it somehow) 3750 people an hour! That's over Haunted Mansion numbers in terms of hourly capacity! It's was a crowd eater!
The attraction, wait, if you are reading this you are likely Disney fans in some way, shape, or form. If I have to tell you what goes on in the Carousel of Progress please turn in your mouse ears and renounce your Disney Fan-dom. CoP is a Walt original, and shame on anyone who would not view it at least once! I'd understand if it's not a Must Do each trip, but I have to assume that you've been on the sucker at least once, if only to sit down in the AC. For a brief recap, each of the 4 showrooms go through the advancements in modern technology and their impact on the average American household. Being partnered with GE, a lot of the advancements were tied to advancements brought forth via electricity. The good thing is, electricity still pretty much powers our lives, so it's not like going back to show what life was like during the electric revolution is a bad thing.
As to it's ties to Epcot? Well, Walt's model for Epcot, called Progress City, was held upstairs from the Carousel for years.
A show like this is an absolute precursor to Epcot's long, animatronic heavy attractions, using lifelike audio-animatronic figures to tell a humorous, charming, and important story. You can see it's influence in American Adventure, Spaceship Earth, Horizons, World Of Motion. Wait, well, you could have seen the last two if they hadn't... grrrrrr. Time to move on.
It fits the theme of the '64 Worlds Fair like a glove. Needless to say, moving it from Magic Kingdom to Epcot is a pretty insane idea, but not one without merit, nor historical precedent. The entire attraction was moved from California to Florida! Moving CoP would free up space for a new attraction in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, a land that is in desperate need of an update. I mean, it's not a monstrous footprint like the Tomorrowland Speedway, but the space available would hold a nice little C ticket new attraction to fill out the land, while bulldozing the Speedway gives plenty of space for an E-ticket. It also would add another attraction to Epcot, one with historical significance, one that fits a bit of the retro-futuristic theme of Epcot. Something with optimism and a message of progress.
It also could be taken care of much better, because instead of needing to always move forward with the times in that last scene, jumping from 1950 directly to 201X (always a few years behind and out of date on the technology). In a 64 Worlds Fair themed pavilion, it could be restored to it's 1964 version and introduced as exactly the nostalgia piece that it is. I do not think that the show would lose any of it's message if it went directly to 1960, the retro-cool of it would work and the continuity would improve the ending. That of course assumes that Disney commits to keeping it in running order, but not feeling the need to update the final scene every 5 years because it's out of date would allow the maintenance to be kept to keeping it in perfect running order.
As a cornerstone attraction in the new large festival space/pavilion, it would give folks something to do in this part of the park. It's not adding an E-ticket super rollercoaster that is going to draw in the crowds like gangbusters. World Showcase doesn't need that (yet). It's the only real draw in Epcot right now. World Showcase could use attractions though that give people a nice, calm, entertaining thing to do between stuffing food/drink into their mouths.
As for location, well, this attraction lands in the Southeast corner of the pavilion, giving us plenty of space for more to do in this pavilion. Carousel of Progress is a nice-to-have. The rest of the area would work just as well without, but I feel that by moving this attraction here (or rebuilding it here in Epcot from scratch, either way), we've added a tried and true attraction with historical context, one that fits theme much better in this pavilion than it does in the land it currently occupies. It gives the pavilion a full-year reason to stop, even if a festival isn't being held (those times do exist right?). I put this picture up last week, but might as well do it again.
Now, there were other attractions that made their debut at the '64 Worlds Fair, the most obvious choice would be It's a Small World, and I did toy around with moving this attraction as well (it'd fit) and clearing space in Fantasyland for a new attraction as well, but I mean seriously, I'm already asking for the improbable here, why go that far off the rails. So, I scaled that part back. See, I'm reasonable!
That doesn't mean that It's a Small World doesn't play a part in the new pavilion of course. Next time, something that started out as a joke quickly becomes a fully fleshed out idea...