‘Have to See It, Yet Boring’: Disney’s Robot Dramas Revisited

  • Li Cornfeld


Cornfeld unpacks the “spectacle of contradictions” that is the Carousel of Progress, focusing on the varying narratives that surround this attraction. While some laud the attraction for its connections to Walt Disney himself—it is rumored to have been his personal favorite attraction—others celebrate it solely as a place to enjoy air conditioning or a mid-day nap. Guided by fan cultures that celebrate the Carousel as both Walt Disney’s brainchild and an object lesson in American history, this essay analyzes corporate histories that shed light on the formation of these narratives: a television broadcast through which Disney introduced Audio-Animatronics to the nation and a series of textual revisions made to the Carousel script throughout its half-century run. Attention to these histories underscores the production practices that shape what visitors “have to see” on the Carousel of Progress—and the promotional practices that shape how we look.


Disney World Walt Disney Carousel of Progress World’s fairs Audio-Animatronics Robots Performance Feminism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Cornfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, and SocietyWilmingtonUSA

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