Travel Culture: Essays on What Makes Us Go

By Carol Traynor Williams | Go to book overview
Save to active project

"There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow":
Historic Memory and Gender in Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress


THE WALT DISNEY corporation has been a major purveyor of popular history throughout the twentieth century. From cartoons to television shows, feature films to amusement parks, Disney has shaped and reshaped the presentation of the past for an audience of millions. With the creation of enormously successful amusement parks in California and Florida, Disney history became part of tourist itineraries throughout the world. Disney's interpretations of history, however, are not static. A look at one attraction in particular, the Carousel of Progress suggests how Disney has transformed the presentation of the history of women and the family over the past thirty years. Disney's "collective memory" of family life reflects a persistent nostalgia for a pleasant, highly controlled past and an equally well ordered future, in the context of an ever changing present.

The Carousel of Progress is a Walt Disney stage attraction that uses "audio-animatronic" robots to portray the evolution of technology in the American home. The Disney corporation claims that this show has entertained more viewers than any other theatrical presentation in world history ( Bierman223). After its introduction as a General Electric-sponsored attraction at the 1964 New York World's Fair, the show moved to Disneyland in California and then in 1975 to Disney World in Florida. An examination of four versions of the Carousel from 1967 to 1995 indicates how history has been interpreted and reinterpreted by Disney to tens of millions of people. 1 A comparison of each act of the play, looking particularly at the depiction of gender roles, should demonstrate not so much how gender roles have actually changed, but rather how those changes have been constructed as a kind of collective memory of the history of women and the family during the twentieth century.

The Carousel is a combination play, advertisement, and amusement park ride. The audience sit in seats that rotate around a stage to view an affluent white robot family in four different eras: the pre-electric turn of the century, the 1920s, the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Travel Culture: Essays on What Makes Us Go


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 196

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?