For the second time this month, a squirrel made an unannounced appearance in Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
In a set of videos from the occasion, sent to us by Instagram user @xx_djkitty_xx, the squirrel dashed across the stage in the pre-show scene, before the curtains opened.
This happened before the show had actually begun, in the room where guests are initially seated and reminded of safety information. After the squirrel departed from the stage the first time, there seemed to be some hesitation as our friend lingered on the edge of the seating area. Did the crowd want more? Sure enough, there was time for an encore.
Earlier in July, an adventurous squirrel found its way onto the stage to crash the 1940s Halloween sequence, watching Sarah work on her rumpus room as that scene lit up. When John said it was “time to move on,” the squirrel even ran across the stage toward the next scene, before jumping off and out of sight. We don’t know if this is the same squirrel as we saw yesterday, but Cast Members referred to the rodent as “a regular” at the attraction.
It’s not uncommon for guests to see small animals like squirrels running around Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, especially near dining locations. Birds sometimes fly through open doors and find themselves temporarily trapped inside — but a squirrel on stage at Carousel of Progress is a rarer sight (at this point, you’re more likely to see a guest invading the scene).
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
This classic Disney attraction premiered at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in the General Electric (GE) Pavilion. The fair was notable for also featuring the debut of “it’s a small world” and other pioneering efforts from Walt. After the fair ended, both attractions moved to Disneyland. The Carousel of Progress operated in California from 1967 until 1973, after which it was replaced by America Sings (which itself later closed and was replaced by Innoventions and Star Wars Launch Bay).
Progress lived on at Magic Kingdom, though, where it opened in 1975 and remains to this day. The attraction sees guests seated in a round, rotating theater that takes them through four different scenes featuring the same American family in different eras of history. The first scene is Valentine’s Day at the “turn of the century,” the second is the 4th of July in the 1920s, the third is Halloween in the 1940s, and the fourth is Christmas at the dawn of the 21st century.
The carousel focuses on technology, as well as other elements of American family life, and how things have changed over the course of (now well over) a century. As the opening narration states, “Although our Carousel family has experienced a few changes over the years, our show still revolves around the same theme — and that’s progress.”
There have been multiple iterations of the finale scene in particular, though it has remained mostly unchanged since the 1990s. In 2022, the family received new outfits and hair, but the set and dialogue remained the same. Halloween decorations were updated later that same year.
Carousel of Progress is known for its theme song, composed by the Sherman Brothers, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” Many also remember “The Best Time of Your Life,” which was the theme song from 1974 to 1994.
During a “Haunted Mansion” movie interview, star Jamie Lee Curtis recently expressed a desire to make a Carousel of Progress movie.
What’s your favorite memory on this iconic attraction? Have you ever encountered some unexpected visitors? Let us know in the comments.