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I THOUGHT the world was getting smaller...
the world
Diane Scalia
Diane Scalia
March 19, 2009

It's a Small World

Yesterday, on Lisa's and my excursion to Beverly Hills and then Studio City - for business, I promise...she enlightened me about the new, reworked "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland.

Apparently many or most of the world dolls have been taken out, and Disney characters have been made their replacements. I am still having a really hard time getting my arms around this one. (We have a soft spot for "Dolls" - we sisters are The Dolls in our family.)

I sat with it for a few, and when Lisa said they've put in Lilo and Stitch, Aladdin, etc., I thought, oh, OK, well, maybe that's the way diversity is being infused now...maybe? Maybe they've included Pocahontas, Mulan... Um, OK. I think.

It's possible, but the widespread criticism seems to be that Disney wants another venue to "product place" their own products - again - which are, with all due respect...not so diverse. Under the auspice of Walt Disney having said, "Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world", the Disney spokespeople have spoken. This philosophy is said to be their inspiration for inserting Ariel, Nemo, and Toy Story characters into the ride that once sailed the seven seas of world color and culture.

I had to ask, do they still play the song? What does a small world have to do with Buzz Lightyear's signature "To infinity and beyond"?

Forgive me if I'm missing something here!

The ride was originally at the 1964 World's Fair as a benefit to the United Nations' Children's Fund, and came to Disneyland 2 years later. I remember it well. We rode it 3 times with our mom, and our dad and brothers opted out of all three opportunities if I remember correctly.

They say they don't want anything at Disneyland to become a 'museum' - hence the justification of the new Pirates ride. (I think the movie really does make the ride make more sense, but that's another topic.) Fine.

I wonder if now Small World is like a mish-mesh of, I'm not sure what. I really can't picture it - will we like it? Granted, that song did bend last nerves (especially at the end of a 12+hour day at the Magic Kingdom maybe) but, it did remind of the possibility of a peaceful planet. Am I the only one that thinks that's kind of timely right now? I loved that it celebrated world peoples, especially children, which is what I will miss the most.

And, you have to wonder what they did with all those dolls, right? Lisa and I always wanted to own one of those dolls. Our parents went to Disneyland years ago (without us, not sure how that happened) to buy Lisa a little doll from Italy, and one from Holland for me. They were from Santa, and the top items on our lists. I can still picture them, and I'm sure our mom still has them somewhere. Lisa and I also discussed how an item like that would never be found for purchase at Disneyland now. Sad.

I did try to console us by telling her that when they closed the America Sings attraction back when, it was only a matter of time before they recycled those singing hens and chickens and eagles and foxes and they all showed up in the Splash Mountain ride.

I am sure there is enough imagination left in the world for Disney imagineers to stick the has-been Small World dolls in a future attraction. Hmmm. Can't wait to see that.

Sorry for the mild sourness here, everyone. Please, please, write if you've been on the ride, and/or your comments about this.

I am waiting to hear from you!

Your tour maestra and small world doll,

Diane Scalia

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