With just four words, a song, a vision and an opinion can be conjured in your mind: It’s a Small World.
For the record:
10:24 a.m. May 4, 2023An earlier version of this article misidentified artist Mary Blair as Marty Blair.
Perhaps your brain wanders to the adorable dolls, all done in the style of artist Mary Blair. Or maybe you think of the toy-like facade with its giant clock locked in a forever smile. Or perhaps it’s the song. The work, from Disney maestros Richard and Robert Sherman, is a joyous, playful affair with an easily repeatable chorus. It’s also weirder than you probably remember. It’s a world of tears, hopes and fears, the song tells us, reminding us we’re alike in both our hopes and what stresses us.
“No other ride at Disneyland,” I wrote in our ranking of every major Disneyland attraction, “so directly represents the flair and artistic style of the people who created it, making It’s a Small World not just a gem of an attraction but an endangered species in an era of all movie-and-TV-inspired rides.”
At times, It’s a Small World feels like an art museum dedicated to Blair, as the entire ride is done in her colorful, whimsical influence. In turn, no other attraction at the theme park so directly bears the stamp of the artist who inspired it. That makes it truly a Disneyland original.
But we also have heard the gripes: The song is too repetitive, it’s too old fashioned, it’s too long and there’s no thrills, among them. We also understand that all the popular rides at Disneyland are tied up in a mix of personal nostalgia, historical importance and simply an indescribable fun factor. That means everyone has a story behind their favorite ride, and we want to hear yours. What is your favorite Disneyland attraction and why?
Tell us too if you disagree with my choice. I only ask that you be polite. After all, we’re talking about the Happiest Place on Earth.