It’s A Small World Around the World

Do you know which park DOESN’T have a “small world” ride?

Every park has an “It’s A Small World” attraction. Every park that is except the newest one.  Shanghai Disneyland is the only Disney theme park without the classic attraction.  And while you might think that the same attraction in different locations is simply that – an exact duplicate made in another country, it’s not quite true.  There are subtle differences between each one that make it fun to experience.  It would have been neat to see how Shanghai would have interpreted their own.

For the true Small World enthusiast, Disneyland is the most intricate of the bunch.  Not only is it the original home of the “It’s A Small World” attraction after the 1964 World’s Fair, it’s also the one that has hosted the most innovations including the inclusion of iconic Disney characters as part of the children of the world.  It has a distinct look, feel, and ambiance that the other parks do not have.  Part of it is the huge clock tower and parade of children of the world that happens every quarter hour that doesn’t happen at it’s Florida counterpart.  Part of it is that guests board outside the attraction instead of inside a building.  But part of it is the distance of the facade from the guest.  It makes it seem bigger, grander, and more majestic than in other parks where you can almost literally walk up to it.  The “It’s A Small World Holiday” is also the most grand with thousands of sparkling lights on the facade and additions to every room in the ride including the big finale.

Panorama photo of the finale for It’s A Small World Holiday at Disneyland

Walt Disney World’s version of the ride is completely enclosed within a building including the facade.  There is no parade of wooden dolls representing the different nations.  The ambience is not as grand.  And there is no holiday rendition in Florida.  In Paris, there is a holiday version, but it is not as extensive as Disneyland’s.  And in both Tokyo and Paris the boarding area is again inside a building instead of outside, and it seems somehow smaller than the one in Anaheim.  Much of the ride at Tokyo Disneyland is the same except that the Japan area inside is much bigger and the finale is sung in Japanese.  In France, the attraction has a different clock face and an added Middle East section complete with the main song sung in Arabic.  And Hong Kong Disneyland is reported to be the most intricate of the different versions with an expanded Asia section and songs in four additional languages not found in other versions of the ride – Cantonese, Putonghua, Korean, and Tagalog. It also has more Disney characters than its California counterpart.  Interestingly, Hong Kong Disneyland opened without the iconic ride.  It was the only park since Disneyland to open without the attraction. Perhaps Shanghai will go the same way and open one up later.  But for now, you’ll have to get your “small world” fix elsewhere.

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