America Sings opened on June 29, 1974, after replacing the General Electric-sponsored Carousel of Progress attraction after that latter show moved to the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in 1973. America Sings used the same Carousel Theater that its predecessor vacated, with its outer ring of six theaters, all connected by divider walls, that revolved mechanically about every four minutes around the six fixed stages in the center of the building.
Unlike Disneyland’s Carousel of Progress, which rotated clockwise, America Sings rotated in a counter-clockwise direction. Also, unlike Carousel of Progress, America Sings only used the lower level of the Carousel Theater. The upper level was used to house the SuperSpeed Tunnel (which later became the Game Grid of Tron) that the PeopleMover transportation attraction passed through.
America Sings was comparable to Disneyland’s Country Bear Jamboree, in that it featured a singing cast of audio-animatronics animals. The show’s Masters of Ceremony were an American bald eagle named Sam (voiced by Burl Ives) and an unnamed owl rumored to be named Ollie (voiced by Sam Edwards). The image of Eagle Sam was designed by Disney animator Marc Davis, as were the other characters. Eagle Sam is completely separate from the Sam the Olympic Eagle character designed a decade later by C. Robert Moore (also a Disney employee) for the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Like the Carousel of Progress, the first and the last scenes of America Sings involved the loading and unloading of guests, while the other four scenes, or “acts,” depicted a particular era. However, the identical load and unload theaters each featured a small curtained gazebo with a backdrop showing a park. The curtains would open to reveal Sam and the owl standing on a two-level podium, with Sam standing on the higher level, introducing or closing the show.
Between each act, as the theater rotated, the lights blacked out, and the theater illuminated with flashing stars; during the rotations, Sam sang about the next era the audience was about to enter, reprising the chorus of “Yankee Doodle”.
Also, at some point in each act, the Weasel would suddenly appear on the scene, spouting the title line, “Pop, Goes the Weasel!” for a total of five times. At the very end of the show, he changed the line to, “Goodbye, Goes the Weasel!”
The characters in America Sings were patterned after the characters from the concept art for an animated movie called Chanticleer, that Walt Disney scrapped back in the 1960s.