‘It’s a Small World’ After All; Iconic Ride Getting Its Own Movie

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Fireworks over "It's a Small World" at Disneyland. After 50 years Disneyland's "It's a Small World" continues to be one of the resort's most popular rides. (Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

“It’s a Small World” remains one of Disneyland’s most popular rides, having ferried 290 million visitors, or an average of 111,000 a week, for half a century.

Small World’s technology is outdated, and some say it perpetuates broad stereotypes, with Arab dolls flying on magic carpets and Mexicans wearing sombreros. And the famous theme song is so annoying that a recent online poll ranked it the world’s worst ear worm, beating “Gangnam Style” and “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

But at a time when aging theme park attractions are routinely scrapped — replaced by expensive high-tech rides tied to big-budget movies — Small World is marking another milestone. It’s getting its own movie.

Industry experts and theme park visitors say the low-tech attraction’s popularity hinges on its simplicity and sunny message of peace. Plus, the indoor musical boat trip is fully air conditioned, the lines usually move fast and it clocks in at 15 minutes.

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