There are so many great reasons to visit Disney parks: meeting your favorite characters; trying unique foods; and seeing spectacular live shows, to name a few. But for most of the Disney-going crowd, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of the rides. Thanks to that famous Disney magic, you can ride through Neverland, outer space, or even your own imagination, experiences that are tough to beat at any other theme park.
The downside, though, is that many of those rides have hour-plus wait times and mere-minutes ride times—worth it for many people, sure, but still a little frustrating. That couldn’t be further from the truth for Disney World’s longest ride: the Carousel of Progress. Located in the Tomorrowland area of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the Carousel lasts approximately 20 minutes and 45 seconds. That’s longer than some of the park’s shows! Here are more behind-the-scenes secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.
To be fair, the Carousel of Progress isn’t a traditional “ride” where you strap in and get whisked away. Instead, it’s more of a show with the added element of motion. Passengers sit in a rotating theater and travel through the 20th century. In four segments, an animatronic family details the many inventions that ushered in the modern age.
Disney’s site lists it as a “slow ride,” and it may not have the adrenaline-pumping draw of Space Mountain, but it’s a classic part of the history of Disney World. The Carousel opened in Disney World in 1975, and Disney insiders claim that Walt himself played a major part in coming up with the idea and that it was one of his favorites. Since the wait time to ride the Carousel is usually pretty short compared to other rides, it’s a great attraction to hit when you need a little break from the excitement and hubbub. Plus, Touring Plans says it’s a must-see for parkgoers who are particularly interested in learning about Walt himself. Don’t miss these other Disney World insider secrets from a super-fan.
Because of its connection with Walt, the Carousel will probably never close. But it may soon face competition in the form of a longer—and considerably more modern—ride opening in Disneyland. With the much-anticipated opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge park expansion this year, Disney gurus are buzzing about a new ride called “Rise of the Resistance” that is slated to open in December 2019. Nothing is set in stone yet, but people with their finger on the pulse of Disney news have speculated that it could be as long as 28 minutes! It will be a fully immersive journey through a galaxy far, far away that Star Wars fans will undoubtedly flock to as soon as it opens.