Thursday, October 8, 2009

11 Days to Disney: All Work and No Play...


I knew from the very beginning of this blogging journey that I'd eventually come to the one day where I could no longer avoid discussing what is perhaps the most polarizing thing in all of The Disney Kingdom. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people, like me, like they are perpetually teetering in between.

It's definitely one of my favorite things about Disney, which is why it appears on this countdown, but paradoxically, it would almost certainly appear on a countdown of my least favorite things as well...

I'm talking, of course, about It's a Small World.

Saying the name alone stirs such strong feelings deep within me.

On the one hand, it's a true classic. Created for the 1964 Worlds Fair, it was one of Walt's final lasting contributions. It features an artistic design by one of the Disney company's most legendary talents, Mary Blair. It features a song so fucking catchy that EVERYONE knows it, written by the most prolific song writing duo in the company's history, the Sherman brothers.

Dee Anne? Loves it. So much, in fact, that I bought her an "It's a Small World" snow globe for Christmas one year and it still prominently displays in the dining room of their house. I would even venture to say that were she to get a tattoo, it would be in the Mary Blair style.

These are some of the reasons I'm torn.. I mean... I get how big of a mark it's left on the Disney Landscape. I get how big a mark it's left in the hearts of sooooo, soooo many. It's also 13 minutes of air-conditioned bliss on the hottest of Summer days.

All that said... It's pure evil. Simple as that. If you're not at least a little creeped out by the strange, happy dolls, you're not paying attention. If you're not chilled to the bone when your boat lurches to a stop and that song keeps playing and playing and playing and playing, and those dolls keep rocking and rocking and rocking and rocking... I'm worried for you.

I once was stuck on the ride for 15 solid minutes, in the final room (the death chamber, if you will) where all of the "children of the world" put on their ceremonial white garments and suddenly the garbled, melting pot of lyrics blends together into a terrifying cacophony of shrill, religious chanting. It was easily in the top 5 most upsetting experiences of my life. This occurred on my trip in December of 05, when I went by myself. I remember sitting there, thinking that at any moment my life would end, and the last thing I'd see would be one of those awful smiling doll faces grin its sickening grin as one of it's cronies began to eat my innards. I am currently working on a short story inspired by this experience.

I've often theorized that Disney doesn't punish their employees in the traditional manners, by docking their pay or cutting their hours. No no... I believe that in exchange for your bad behavior, you get placed for a full shift in the control tower of "It's a Small World" where you have to waive like the bibbling idiot you're becoming, essentially creating your own reality. I spent 25 minutes on the ride once, and I was certain that I would soon stab myself in the leg just to break up the monotony of the song repeating over and over. I can't imagine it for an entire 8 hour shift.

All I can say is that... It's an icon, and it's too memorable to keep off this list. I'm just not sure I love it (for it's history) or hate it (as you're supposed to hate pure, unadulterated evil.)

And now... The Disney Trivia Question of the Day

Question: Only one nations name is actually spelled out in "it's a small world". What country is it?

If you think you know, please send an e-mail to

Everyone with the correct answer will receive a point. An incorrect answer gets 1/2 a point. The person with the most points will get a Limted Edition Pin purchased during my stay.

Standings are being updated daily at on the "Contests" page.

I'll repost the questions with the answers at the end of the contest.

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