It’s a Small World

A Report and Photos From Re-Opening Day!

Awhile back Disneyland opened It’s a Small World to the public after months of upgrades and repairs. If you’ve been to the park in the past couple of years, then you’ve seen the upgrades. But for those who are deprived of a recent trip, you’ve missed the renovation of this beloved attraction (along with the billion bucks spent on Disney’s California Adventure).

Small World loading areaEven if you’ve been on the ride recently, you may have forgotten some of the changes. We were able to take a ride with a former cast member who had served as trainer and lead (foreman) on the ride; Susie pointed out many of the subtle changes to the “cast” of the boat cruise. First, a quick dose of background.

Disneyland’s It’s a Small World is not exactly the most high-tech attraction in the park, but it is one of the most popular, even after over 40 years. The Anaheim “company” of characters had its beginnings at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, being originally in the Pepsi pavilion. It was acquired by Uncle Walt and brought out to California afterwards.

Alice and the White RabbitThe famous soundtrack we now know and hum (against our will at times) was not used initially; the genius songwriting Brothers Sherman (creating the masterpiece songs in Mary Poppins among tons of other wonderful tunes for Disney) wrote the theme that may be the most-played song in history: OK, the tune is on a continuous musical loop; It’s a Small World ride is at multiple Disney parks, open 365 days a year-—you do the math. Man, to be able to come up with tunes like those two brothers…!

Anyway, the Disney folks have deliberately retained the simple technology over the years (although don’t you wonder how they can coordinate the melody so well throughout the ride?), wisely realizing that there is a time and a place for high-level technology and realism.

So it’s no surprise that the renovations performed to this beloved attraction do nothing to reduce its old-fashioned charm. They have added some additional ethnic instruments to the “it’s a small world (after all)” soundtrack, but it sounds great.

If you’ve been on Soarin’ Over California at Disney’s California Adventure you’ll recall that they spray orange scent into the air while you are gliding over citrus groves, and pine scent over the forests. It’s really a great touch, one that brings your olfactory senses into the experience.

Well, they don’t do that here. But wouldn’t it be nice to smell tropical flowers while in the South Pacific, spices from various countries, grasses, etc., as we move through the continents? Chairman Bob Iger take note if you’re visiting us today.

As you can see, we’ve got some photos from our around-the-world excursion, capturing several of the new residents of It’s a Small World. The other dolls seem to be treating them well, but they are professionals after all.

Next time you ride on the happiest cruise that ever sailed ‘round the world watch for the new arrivals. See if you can count all 29 of them. We hope you enjoy this short photo shoot inside It’s a Small World.

Donald Duck