It's a Small World

it's a small world at Disneyland

Betsy Malloy Photography

it's a small world features animatronic children dressed in costumes and singing songs from around the world. It's a gentle, slow ride, but with lots of color and movement. The experience is a bit like being inside a gigantic, wind-up music box.

And before you think the caps button on my keyboard broke, Disney always writes the name of this ride in lower case. Small world, small letters, I guess.

What You Need to Know About it's a small world

We polled 394 of our readers to find out what they think about small world. 84% of them said It's a must-do or ride it if you have time.

  • Location: Although it's a little walk away from the other rides, small world is technically in Fantasyland.
  • Rating: ★★★
  • Restrictions: No height restrictions. Children under age seven years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older.
  • Ride Time: 14 minutes
  • Recommended for: Small children like small world best, but it's suitable for anyone. If you hate the song, stay out. 
  • Fun Factor: Low to medium
  • Wait Factor:  Medium
  • Fear Factor: Low, but some little ones get freaked out by all the singing dolls
  • Herky-Jerky Factor: Low, but occasionally, your boat will get bumped from behind while it's in the line to unload
  • Nausea Factor: Low
  • Seating:  The ride vehicles are boats with four rows of bench seats. You step over the edge into them from the boarding area.
  • Accessibility: One of the boats can accommodate wheelchairs. If you're using an ECV, you'll have to transfer to a boat. You can pick up a handheld captioning device at Guest Relations. More about visiting Disneyland in a wheelchair or ECV
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How to Have More Fun on it's a small world

Tulips Blooming at it's a small world
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland
  • The biggest risk you face on small world is getting that song stuck in your head. It can drive adults to the verge of hysteria, but toddlers love it.
  • it's a small world also has a special holiday version featuring classic carols. Go then if you want to see it without getting the earworm for the song
  • While waiting in line, see if you can pick out these famous buildings: the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Taj Mahal.
  • Under certain wind conditions, “it’s a small world” sometimes closes before and during the fireworks
  • small world is great for kidsFind more rides for your children.
  • It's also a cool place to go on a hot day.

Next Disneyland Ride:  King Arthur Carrousel

More About Disneyland Rides

You can see all the Disneyland rides at a glance on the Disneyland Ride Sheet. If you want to browse through them starting with the best-rated, start with the Haunted Mansion and follow the navigation.

While you're thinking about rides, you should also download Our Recommended Disneyland Apps (they're all free!) and Get Some Proven Tips to Minimize Your Disneyland Wait Time.

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Fun Facts About it's a small world

it's a small world Ride
Courtesy of Disneyland

Every quarter hour, the clock outside puts on a show that would put any cuckoo clock to shame. The animated 30-foot-tall clock tower opens to display a multinational parade of 24 animated figures. 

The song It's a Small World was written by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, who also wrote the music for "Mary Poppins" and "The Jungle Book."

That simple song could be the single most performed piece of music on the planet. It has played tens of times on the attractions alone. If you add in ringtones and all the people who can't stop humming that catchy little refrain, it would be hard to beat.

This ride was created for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair and moved to Disneyland after the fair was over. It features almost 300 traditionally dressed dimpled animatronic dolls. And a few familiar Disney characters you can watch for.

We've heard that the gold highlights are real gold leaf, used to be sure it keeps its lustre.

Mary Blair created the attraction's whimsical design and color styling. She was also an art director for Disney animated features that included Cinderella, Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan. 

Costume designer Alice Davis (and her husband Marc created the most faithful portrayal of each nation’s traditional attire they could. Authentic fabrics are used for each region, from silks for the saris of India and fine wool for the Scottish bagpiper.

Is It Different than Small World in Florida?

The exterior of California’s version of it’s a small world is much cuter than in Florida. Inside, it’s more or less the same.

Next Disneyland Ride: King Arthur Carrousel

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