Friday, November 18, 2011

"it's a small world" Holiday - Days in the Park Disneyland Flasback

Every so often as we're looking back through our articles over the past year we come across one that we really enjoyed writing originally.  Since we've grown so much over the past year, we can't expect everyone to have read everything that we've written, of course, but some things probably stand the test of time to a degree, and deserve an updating on our part and maybe a second-look on yours.

One such article we were quite proud of last year was our Disneyland Holiday look at "it's a small world" Holiday; the overlay which takes place at the Disneyland Resort each and every year during the holidays.  Since the holidays began at Disneyland this past Monday, and since our kids are already clamoring to go out and ride, it seemed the perfect time to revisit this one and let some new readers see it, and maybe a few old readers as well.

We hope you enjoy it!  It was a lot of fun writing this a year ago, and looking back at it makes us extra excited to board our boats this year and see it all again.  We have no doubt it will be just like riding it the first time all over again.


Attraction Notes:
Opened:  Disneyland, 1966 (Holiday overlay began in 1997)
Attraction Type:  Boat/Flume
Length of Attraction:  ~15:00
Age:  All Ages

"it's a small world" Holiday Overlay

No trip into The Park, with wee ones, would be complete without a trip into the "it's a small world" attraction.

Arguably the best known of all of the Disneyland attractions, whether you like it or not, "it's a small world" actually had its beginnings at the 1964 New York World's Fair.  It proved so popular that Walt had it shipped, piece by piece, and rebuilt in his flagship Park, where it opened to the public in 1966.  With a whimsical tune which we all know penned by The Sherman Brothers, "it's a small world" has been setting sail every since.

The roughly 15 minute boat ride carries its passengers through nearly 100 different regions of the world, all the while treating you to its theme song in several different languages.  It's enough to drive even us bonkers from time to time!  However, we can honestly say that the attraction itself really is a technical marvel.  The myriad decorations and the hundreds of meticulously designed Animatronics with their brightly colored costumes and designs really are an amazing thing to look at, if the song doesn't make you fling yourself from the boat first.  And the different areas and countries of the world that the attraction are meant to represent?  Simply superb.

All that said, the one time of year when it becomes an absolute must for us to brave "it's a small world" is when it is transformed, roughly around the end of November, with its Holiday overlay and magically becomes "it's a small world" Holiday.

While much of the attraction itself remains pretty much intact and standard during this time of year, there are several notable changes within the attraction itself that lend it its easily identifiable Holiday theme.

He's making a list... which one are YOU on?

First, and the easiest to spot, are the many different types of Holiday decorations representing the different regions of the world that suddenly pop up.  Much like the song, each and every "region" of the attraction now has decorations from that area of the world meant to give us a brief glimpse into how the holidays are celebrated there.  While all of it certainly beautiful to look at, hands-down the most beautiful room of the attraction is The Finale Room.  With representatives from all nations of the world present, it truly is a gorgeous room; possibly our favorite room of any attraction in the whole Park throughout the entire year.

The "Finale Room" in all its splendor

Second, although to mess with the theme song might be borderline heresy, there are slight changes to our favorite song.  While much of the original "it's a small world" theme-song remains intact, it is interlaced with other Holiday tunes like "Jingle Bells" (Amy's favorite song), and "Deck The Halls".  In many regards, it presents a welcome change and is just different enough to have us belting the tunes out right alongside all of the Animatronics.

Quite possibly the greatest and most popular change during the Holiday overlay however, doesn't take place in the attraction at all, but rather on the outside facade.  Each and every night during the Holiday season, at the stroke of 5:15 (sharp!), the plain white and gold (not really plain, but in comparison) building becomes transformed with the flip of a switch as thousands of lights spring into action.  Nothing beats multi-colored light bulbs in our book, and "it's a small world" Holiday has them in spades.  We were told recently on our Holiday Tour of The Park, that between the facade itself and the surrounding area (topiaries, trees, etc.), there are in fact 200,000 lights shining bright.  It can't be overstated just what a fantastic thing it is to witness it lighting up.  Don't believe us?  Listen to the rapid inhalation of breath all around you and all the people "oohing" and "aahing" in unison when it happens.  Yeah, it's that good.

So that's what 200,000 twinkling lights and a horde of people in line looks like!

The truth is, it would be insanely easy to write a review that spoke about this attraction in only the greatest of terms.  Believe us, we know people that both love, and hate this ride, but we won't get into that.  It would be easy to toe the line and just say it's great, ride it, and so on.  In a way I suppose that's what we've done.  But we don't want to leave you with the impression that we wrote a good article about it because we had to.  We truly love this attraction this time of year.  Any negatives there may be are easily washed away as you stand in line, watch that building light up, and see it reflected in the wonderment and joy on faces all around you, and especially in children's faces.  It evokes memories of staring out your window as a kid and looking at all of the wonderful the lights on all of the houses surrounding yours in your neighborhood, or driving around down street after street just looking for that perfect house with the perfect lights during each and every Christmas season.

Maybe if we could look at everything in life with such a child's wonderment, like they look at "it's a small world" Holiday, there really could be "Peace On Earth", and it really could be a small world after all.


Highly recommended for anyone with children, and maybe even a few of you adults.

The Days in the Park kiddies ready to get their "small world" Holiday on

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