This week, WHAT TO DO WEDNESDAY is going to one of the Magic Kingdom’s original, classic attractions: It’s a Small World.
This popular attraction and its accompanying tune are no strangers to most people. However, you may not know the original attraction dates back to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The first version was created by Walt Disney as a kinetic sculpture installment for the UNICEF pavilion of the World’s Fair. An interesting aside, this was also when Disney piloted The Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, now known as The Hall of Presidents.
The original installment at the World’s Fair had no trouble gaining regard, leading to Disneyland’s full ride version which opened in 1966. When the Magic Kingdom opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, It’s a Small World found a second home in Fantasyland.
As you enter the queue for the attraction, there is a glittering white scene featuring a large clock tower. The smiling face of the clock sways back and forth. Every fifteen minutes, the clock tower jumps to life and opens up, revealing the time. Not everyone knows this, and I confess that it was years before I saw it for myself. It’s fun to watch while you’re in the queue.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, here’s the rundown of the ride: At the end of the queue you board a boat and set sail at a very leisurely pace. The boat makes its way through one large, colorful room at a time. Audio-animatronic dolls of children dance, twirl, skate, and play instruments. They are elaborately garbed in costumes representing various nations of the world. The sets are vibrant and alive with movement. The music makes stylistic changes to showcase the culture on display as the boat progresses and the lyrics are sung in different languages. In the last segment of the ride, all nations are presented together decked out in a monochromatic color palette. Lastly, as your boat heads to offload, you see “goodbye” written in a variety of languages.
I love this attraction. My husband doesn’t feel similarly, and I know others who feel as he does. But no offense to them – I just don’t think they get it. This ride is absolutely gorgeous and ornately detailed. The scenery and costumes are elaborate and rich, with bright color everywhere. Everything is in motion, turning and twisting and I find that so visually pleasing. I’m sure part of my love for this attraction comes from my feminine admiration of the dolls. When I was a little girl I used to play a game with myself pretending I could select one doll to take home. I would search for the perfect doll all through the ride, and day dream about the choice throughout the day. But I was never quite able to make a decision from among my favorites, and still can not. I know for my husband, it’s the music that gets on his nerves. The repetition drives him bonkers. I enjoy it. I think it’s charming and joyful, so the repetition doesn’t bother me.
A great perk of this attraction is that even on crowded days the wait time usually isn’t too long. The line always looks worse than it is because of how the queue zig-zags, but it usually moves steadily.
All in all, It’s a Small World is always a must see for me, frequently more than once. (Though my husband vows he’ll no longer go on it. Guess I’ll be a single rider, or looking for a new ride partner!) It’s a classic attraction with an always pertinent message. Kids love it – and so do adults who know how to have fun.
Thanks for checking in. See you next week!