It’s a Small but Changing World After All

Two weeks ago I went to Orlando to take part in an SPIE conference. (My presentation on space docking sensors went very well, thanks for asking.) Since I was down there, I took a half-day and visited Disney World, specifically the Magic Kingdom. While I’ve been to Epcot recently, the last time I went to the Magic Kingdom had to have been when my high school band played at Disney World.

I enjoyed seeing what was the same and what had changed. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was gone, replaced with a Winnie the Pooh ride. Kenneth Grahame’s creation was no match for the marketing effort Disney has put behind Pooh. Tomorrowland was now more of an Alternate Presentland With Extra Pastels.

The biggest surprise for me was the changes Disney had made to It’s a Small World. Evidently the Imagineers have been reworking the ride for Disneyland for this fall, and some of the changes have been folded into the Magic Kingdom version. One big change: they’ve updated the song.

I had a borrowed video camera with me, and I shot some footage along the ride. Unfortunately the camera had a tiny mic and a not-so-great compression algorithm, but you can still get the gist of the ride’s changes.

Truly, It’s a Small World is the happiest ride in the happiest place on Earth, bar Disney’s other four happiest places on Earth.