It’s a Small World | Disney World

Perhaps no ride evokes such strong emotions from patrons as It’s a Small World at the Disney World and Disneyland resorts!  If you ride it one time, the theme song is forever implanted into your head, so for many it’s a nostalgic reminder of their childhood experiences at Disney.  On the other hand, there are many other guests who are more than happy to skip this ride.  Let’s dive into a little history, and then give you some ideas on how to use this ride to enhance your experience at the Magic Kingdom!

its a small world disney world

It’s a Small World – History

The ride was initially designed for the World’s Fair, and was initially going to have the name “Children of the World”.  As it was being designed, the theme song “It’s a Small World” was written by the Sherman Brothers.  This song was so well-received from Walt Disney, that he renamed the attraction to match the song.  Very quickly, this became an extremely popular ride at the Fair.

One innovation that still lasts to today is the high capacity that this ride had.  The boats are really large and hold a high number of people.  The Magic Kingdom version actually holds 24 passengers per boat!  Due to this, the ride was able to keep lines low and attract many guests.  This is a feature that continues to keep lines low, even when lines at other Disney rides are extremely long.  This same concept was also used on the popular Pirates of the Caribbean ride as well.

The ride was so successful at the World’s Fair that it was implemented into the construction of the new Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, opening on October 1st, 1971.  Since that time, generation after generation of guests have been on this ride!

It’s a Small World –The Ride

The concept is pretty simple.  You are on a boat, and you go on a “tour of the world”.  The song playing in the background is repeated in many different languages.  Throughout the entirety of the ride, you see dolls in many different nationalities, representing different countries and styles of dress.  There’s not much more to it than that.  It’s not an overly exciting ride, and certainly not scary at all.  Many kids will find it incredibly boring.

However, it remains a popular ride due to three main reasons:

  • Nostalgia – This ride definitely takes you back to your childhood
  • Short wait times – The ability to get on a ride during busy times keeps this popular
  • Heat – Disney has great air conditioners.  This is a great way to escape the hot Orlando sun!

Small World Tips

There is no reason to overly plan for this ride.  I wouldn’t plan for it, or worry about when to ride it.  The lines will usually be short, although during the absolute peak season, even this ride can get backed up a bit.

It’s generally best to save this ride as a filler.  There are a few occasions that seem to serve this ride best: If you have a fastpass reservation coming up, a dinner reservation, or if you are just trying to find something to do before a parade or special event begins.

Another good time to hit this ride is during the heat of the day.  Even guests who don’t like this ride will welcome  a 12-15 minute ride through an air conditioned room!  Making this a place to cool off and refresh yourself will definitely enhance your appreciation of this classic Disney ride!

Are you a big fan of this attraction?  Let us know how you feel below!

By: Ryan Shade

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