It's A Small World  Fantasyland
Features large boats that carry you through a worldly adventure of culture, heritage, and diversity showcasing dolls from around the world...and a very catchy song.
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This ride rated..for the kiddies!             Get Magic Kingdom Tickets here              2 Free Disney Tickets here

It's A Small World AttractionAs you approach this ride, you start to hear a loud but methodic noise. Centered in front of this huge building, is a large clock tower, ticking away each second.
When the clock reaches the hour, a spectacle erupts of fun and enjoyment for kids of all ages! I was there during the 2 o'clock hour, and the clock bells rang twice, and then doors opened up from the clock tower, along with panels opening up all over the front of the building. Singing soared over the waiting area, as Small World Wooden Dolls, came out, parading in a small circle around the base of the clock. The dolls were from all types of countries and sported their unique clothing heritage. Big smiley faces swayed back and forth on the building as they sang the famous "Small World" tune. It was by far the coolest thing I had seen to showcase an attraction!

Inside the ride is basically your boat taking you through every country imaginable. Small dolls, almost like animatronics, sing in unison the famous, and sometimes annoying "It's A Small World After All." The scenes are breathaking though, and favorites among the kids! I loved to watch the kids in our boat point and laugh at the silly antics of the Mountain Goats singing or the Penquins sliding across the ice. Each Country you enter sings the song in their native tongue, which is a GREAT education for anyone who hears it! The ride ends with the word GOOD-BYE in all different languages written all over the tunnel you leave in.

So what's the difference between WDW and Disneyland's? It's actually pretty simple- WDW's entrance is located INSIDE the building, and there is no clock tower, or large decorated building, for that matter. You board your boat inside and WDW's Small World decorations are in the line area. WDW's is located in Fantasy Land, not Toontown, but the ride is pretty much the same. I am sure their are some differences in the ride, dolls, etc.. but nothing I could actually see without doing some serious comparison with a Small World Ride expert.

It's A Small World is a classic because of it's history and how it became to be at both Disney Parks. It makes me sad to hear so many want it removed or updated, because I feel to much of that is happening already in both Disney World and Land. It is a great ride for the kids, and even adults should give it at least one chance to experience a piece of Disney history.

It's sometimes hard to imagine a world where every nation sings side by side, where the best of all cultures is enjoyed rather than criticized, or where for about 10 minutes you can forget the daily news reports and focus on a grand idea of world peace. Yes, It's a Small World is only an attraction at Disney, but for those moments riding in a boat around the "world," I caught a fleeting glimpse of an ideal world.

It's a Small World is located in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. It remains a Disney original, with the same charm it offered years ago, before it was surpassed by bigger thrill rides and technological wonders. The lines aren't as long as they once were and even The Unofficial Guide to Disney World only mentions that you should see this attraction whenever you have hit all the bigger draws. I suggest visiting It's a Small World anytime that you are tired of the crowds and need a cheerful pick-me-up.

The Wonder of it All

It's a Small World is an attraction that will delight young children, and many adults with its animated singing and dancing dolls from around the world. The average wait times on one of the busier days at the Magic kingdom were lower than most Fantasyland attractions. Because you travel on large boats through this adventure, there is good loading system operating. The lines move smoothly and the boats are continual.

Once you enter the waiting line you will hear the well known It's a Small World tune echoing around you. Those that report not liking this attraction often comment that the song remained ringing in their heads days later. Others will find themselves humming the tune in the shower, as they recall a world far away, where dancing and singing dolls inspired smiles.

Once you are seated on a boat, the ride moves along at a leisurely pace, allowing you to take in all the different details of the animated dolls. The dolls sing throughout the ride, some in their native languages. The colors painted all around you will take you back to the early 1970's. I could not recognize any changes to this attraction from when I rode it as a child. I could swear that the Brady Bunch used the same paint colors in their house!

There is much to notice on your trip around the world. Details surround the doll exhibits with some easily recognized and others harder to understand. Explaining where each group of dolls were from was sometimes a challenge for us. The kids were fascinated with all the different cultures, and the beautiful costuming. Disney has definitely done a great job with keeping this attraction true to the original.

The ride itself is housed in a refreshingly cool building, with a duration of about 10 minutes for your journey. The atmosphere may seem outdated to some, but the nostalgia was a worthwhile trip for the GenX parents of the 4 children who marveled at It's a Small World without asking for some spectacular special effects! Perhaps it was the awe in my toddler's eyes that inspired me. Disney's special effects on this attraction center around the simple wonder of beautifully designed dolls from around the world.

Let's Ride Again!

These were the words we heard from the kids as we ended our ride. It was an attraction that everyone enjoyed, and the perfect kind of Disney attraction for families of all ages. Mom didn't have to sit on a bench waiting for the braver older kids and husband rode Space Mountain or endured Alien Encounter.

It's a Small World may be opposed by some disinterested teenagers and adults. I was actually warned that the song can drive some relatively stable adults a bit "loco" before I went. It's a Small World is more of an uplifting experience, in my opinion, however.

The best times to visit this attraction are not as difficult as many other Disney attractions and the lines move along quicker than most. For those that suspect that their younger ones will demand repeat rides, I highly suggest trying this around dusk. We enjoyed an entire boat to ourselves and literally walked on. Enjoy your journey around the world!

Note: Spelling ñitÍs a small worldî with all lowercase letters was a gimmick thought up by Disney. Just to clarify that IÍm not making the same glaring typo over and over again. Nevertheless, IÍm going to be italicizing the attractionÍs title just so that it doesnÍt get lost anywhere.

itÍs a small world is an attraction whose reputation as a facet of pop culture interminably precedes it. People who have never so much as set foot within a Disney theme park will attest with equal enthusiasm as to the drudgery of riding it and hearing its infamous theme song. The current management of the Disney Company itself is quite aware and possibly agrees with the general publicÍs perception, and even goes to so far as to self-mockingly mention it in their films. To quote an exchange between two characters in the 1994 animated Disney feature, The Lion King:

Scar: Oh, Zazu, do lighten up. Sing something with a little bounce in it!
Zazu: (Halfheartedly) ItÍs a small world after allƒ
Scar: No, no! Anything but that!

The question is: If everyone knows how allegedly terrible and monotonous of an attraction itÍs a small world is, is it really worth keeping around?

For those of you who honestly havenÍt the slightest idea what IÍm talking about, itÍs a small world is an attraction at Disneyland and Disney World, a boat ride through dioramas of animatronic children representing different countries of the world. The children, in their respective languages, are singing two verses of a song and repeating ad nauseam. Common jokes entail forcing people to ride over and over as a method of torture. ItÍs not really that bad.

it's a small world was one of four attractions presented by Walt Disney at the 1964 New York WorldÍs Fair, along with the Carousel of Progress, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and the Primeval World Diorama (then a part of the Ford Wonder Rotunda). Each attraction was sponsored and built under the conditions that theyÍd all be moved to California as part of Disneyland once the event had concluded. In Disneyland itÍs a small world became a considerably popular attraction, and consequently Disney World got its own, more-compact version upon opening in 1971.

Who have we got to blame for the song? Credit goes to the Sherman Brothers, the highly-regarded composers behind the soundtracks to countless Disney films and theme park attractions (among well-noted work for other parties). These are the same guys who gave us the songs in Mary Poppins, the Jungle Book, the Carousel of Progress, and Journey Into Imagination. I personally donÍt feel that itÍs a small worldÍs theme song is really so horrendous; the problem is hearing those few verses repeated over and over and over, something pretty much necessary in preserving the continuity of the attraction. A few more verses would be ideal, but would probably become difficult to keep the song in sync throughout the entire course of the ride.

The idea behind itÍs a small world was to promote equality and togetherness amongst the separate nations, a foray into social and political commentary somewhat unusual for Disney. It wasnÍt quite as bold a venture as would be EpcotÍs World Showcase some years later, but international tensions were still present, as was apparent in DisneyÍs reluctance to initially include Communist Mainland China. Nonetheless, the attractionÍs message was a positive one, and itÍs a small world has managed to otherwise remain fairly unchanged until today.

Needless to say, however, no attractionÍs popularity can hold out forever. There isnÍt much of a crowd outside of itÍs a small world anymore; waits range from 5-15 minutes at most, even during the peak seasons. ItÍs primarily ridden by younger children and senior citizens, heavily as the result of its calm and uneventful ride. Nothing scary or over-stimulating here; just a slow-moving, 5-minute long boat trip, making it more or less the longest ride that Fantasyland has left to offer. ItÍs colorful and friendly, despite moderately stereotypical representation of some countries. As for other age groups, itÍs pretty much a case of who adheres to the idea of itÍs a small world potentially making your ears bleed. Some people like it, and some donÍt.

Part of the problem that I have with itÍs a small world is the general state of disrepair into which itÍs fallen in the absence of a sponsor. It looks dirty and dingy inside, and many of the animatronics have been sitting out of order for some time. ThereÍs a lot going on to divert your attention, but nitpickers such as myself often have no better purpose than to spot things that arenÍt working. I think the general argument among detractors of itÍs a small world really is that the whole thing has become a bit tacky and outdated-looking after all this time, especially if they canÍt keep it clean and functioning properly. IÍm all for preserving the attraction and can easily find appeal in its simplicity, but I believe it very un-Disneylike to let the place fall apart.

Then again, IÍm not sure that itÍs a small world could ever really gain the appreciation of its critics, even in perfect working order.

So, what could possibly be done if so few people take this attraction seriously? Turn it into a lackluster parody of itself as was done with the Enchanted Tiki Room as punishment for its monotony? No, I was never a big fan of that decision. Could they update itÍs a small world with a fancy new presentation maintaining a similar theme? As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I think that the overall appearance may be beside the point. This may simply be a case where there is no right answer.

My outlook? Just fix whatÍs broken and clean the place up. Regardless of everything said about it, itÍs a small world is a classic ride, a notable remnant of Walt DisneyÍs vision and spirit with an excellent message to boot. And itÍs worth preserving. Not every attraction is going to appeal to every person, and thinking otherwise is one of the biggest flaws in Disney management today. TheyÍre just too sure thereÍs a right answer to everything.

When I first took my children to Walt Disney World in 1985, my four-year-old daughter already had her list of rides in order. We had been singing "It's a Small World" for years, so naturally, this was the ride she most wanted to experience. Her one-year-old brother seemed to be in agreement.

We visited Walt Disney World in October, since we'd heard the crowds were smaller and the weather better than in the hot summer months. All I can say is, if those were the "small" crowds, I would have hated to be there for the large group. But, the weather was perfect, mid-seventies, clear and sunny.

After parking our car, we walked straight to the entrance of The Magic Kingdom, where I rented a stroller for my infant son. The strollers cost $5.00 a day to rent (they are $7 a day now) and have a place for a diaper bag in the back. One caveat: do not load yourself down too heavily because you must leave the strollers in a queue when you go on rides and there is no guarantee that whatever you leave in the stroller will still be there when you return from the ride. I just brought a diaper bag with my wallet tucked inside and left my purse in the car. That way, I was able to easily throw the bag over one shoulder, hold my son in one arm and hold my daughter's hand with the other when we boarded a ride. With the size of the crowds, it is very important for parents to keep in actual physical contact with their little ones. It is too easy to get separated otherwise.

The line for "It's a Small World" seemed to move somewhat faster than lines for other rides, probably because each boat holds quite a few people. We were fortunate enough to get into the front seat on the boat, which gave us a marvelous panoramic view. The second time we rode, (oh, yes...there was a second and a third time) we were in the middle of the boat. Even though we could still see the displays which are raised above the level of the water, the view was not as good as we'd had up in front.

Basically, "It's a Small World" is a gentle boat ride. You float into a dark, cool cavern while the delightful song, "It's a Small World After All" plays over a sound system. The theme of the song is unity among humanity. The ride echoes this theme to show how people from every culture of the world, despite their differences, have underlying similarities.

Each part of the world is represented by a series of large animated dolls dressed in the typical costume of their country. For example, the dolls representing Germany are in lederhosen; the Spanish dolls have lace mantillas and gilded braid; the dolls from India wear saris and turbans, and so on. In addition to presenting a colorful and enchanting display which absolutely held my children's attention, even my baby's, this ride was also an educational experience. Even mama loved it!

And yes, as soon as we got back out into the bright sunlight, we had to immediately stop and buy the Walt Disney World record for my daughter's own little Fisher-Price record player. (Remember, this was in 1985) Today you would probably buy an interactive CD-ROM for your child's own little computer!

My teenagers and I are planning a return trip this summer and we intend to make "It's a Small World" our second stop. Even my macho son has agreed, although the price of his acquiescence in this plan is that this time, we have to visit "Pirates of the Caribbean" first!

Every time I am in the Magic Kingdom, I make sure I have the time to ride "It's a Small World" which is among my favorite rides at Walt Disney World. This particular ride not only is fun, it has a great meaning behind it. As a world traveler, I can identify well with the message.

Ever since I first went to Walt Disney World almost 25 years ago, I remembered how fun this ride can be. It is a nice reasonably long "boat ride" through a large complex winding maze of scenes from around the world. Each scene showcases different cultures in different regions around the world. With the advent of Epcot's World Showcase, it could be said that this ride is a preview of what you could spend hours seeing in Epcot. Of course this ride is air conditioned and you get to sit in a boat for a ride around the complex which makes it a bit nicer.

The ride is filled with singing. Of course it is the same song, sometimes I believe I have heard it sung in foreign languages also. As you progress from one region to another, you definitely do hear a difference in the voice inflection based on the region your boat is traveling at the time. They did forget to put a Texas region, where it would be "Y'all come back, ya' hear" but we forgive that oversight.

The ride is great for kids since it is slow, has singing, the line seems to be short every time I go, and there is plenty of non-scary action. The scenes are well designed with lots of color. Of course most of the world seems to use a lot of vibrant colors in their "native costumes." Another reason this ride is good for the kids is the very positive message it sends. I always get the feeling after the ride that despite it taking a good day to get 1/2 way around the world by plane, it is truly a small world where all of the people have a single common goal, survival and enjoyment of life.

On the downside, the ride takes you through a dark building which can be hard on the eyes if you come on a bright sunny day. Also, if the kids do not like the dark, they may not enjoy the ride as much. I saw this happen where one child broke out in tears once the boat slid into the darkness. Other than that, I see no other downsides to this ride.

I recommend this ride for anyone going to the Magic Kingdom, for a first or a return visit. Enjoy it!

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