My first (and to date, only) trip to Disney World was in 1986 or ’87, so I was either 5 or 6 years old. I don’t remember much about that trip – with a few exceptions:
- We camped in my family’s truck camper, and at some point were near a beach, when we dug a whole deep enough to bury my 15-year-old brother up to his waist in the sand. I remember thinking he would be permanently stuck there unless we rescued him.
- I remember a particularly terrifying encounter with Captain Hook and my brother – which I’ve written about before.
- Most of all, I remember round after round after round (oh, Mom, how patient you were!) of riding the “It’s a Small World” ride. I must’ve gone on that thing 20 times for it to stick with me so strongly.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ride, I’ll explain (after doing some research because I didn’t remember any of this part). The ride is located in Fantasyland and is a boat ride for 10 or so people – mostly small kids and their parents – through a series of spaces representing different parts of the world. The whole point of the ride is to convey a great, very Disney-esque message of we’re all in this together – and we’re different, but not so different…
The map inside the ride’s brochure – it’s probably been updated since the 1980s, but you get the idea.
Here’s the boat. The ride goes through darkened spaces and all of the little animatronic people sing the song “It’s A Small World After All,” throughout the entire ride. (Mom, I am SO sorry you had to endure this repeatedly!)
A few of the more than 300 animatronic singers – I remember these little Dutch kids and their wooden shoes – I’d never heard of such a thing. I think their little tulip seats tilted back and forth, too.
And of course, YouTube doesn’t disappoint – you can experience the whole “Small World” experience right where you are:
After watching that video, I realized how much I do actually remember! Like the cuckoo clocks and goats a little past 3 minutes in. Wow. Flashback, indeed.
My brother and his family met our folks and his in-laws at Disney World this past spring. I believe there was another run-in with Captain Hook (what is it with that guy?!) and I think our niece went on this ride. Probably umpteen times, just like me. *A* and I look forward (with cotton balls in our ears) to doing the same thing in a few years with our kids. 🙂
Images credit: Small World Balloon – http://www.oopsydaisy.com/store/kids-room-decor-ideas/disney/it-s-a-small-world-balloon-explorers.html; Ride map – http://www.flickr.com/photos/scrubbles/5367743601/ ; Boat ride – http://www.ticketmomma.com/its-a-small-world.htm Dutch figures – http://members.shaw.ca/uk9/Disneyland.htm