Located in Disneyland Park’s Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” Holiday is a seasonal overlay of the classic “it’s a small world” attraction, featuring festive decorations and a blend of traditional holiday tunes and the iconic “it’s a small world” song. This enchanting boat ride takes guests on a whimsical journey around the globe, showcasing various cultures celebrating the holiday season.
Height Requirements and Accessibility: There are no height requirements for “it’s a small world” Holiday, making it suitable for guests of all ages. The attraction is also accessible for guests using wheelchairs or ECVs.
Genie+ and Lightning Lane: “it’s a small world” Holiday is included in the Genie+ service, allowing guests to reserve a Lightning Lane access time and shorten their wait. However, it is not one of the paid individual Lightning Lane attractions.
Single Rider and Rider Switch: The attraction does not offer a Single Rider line. For families with young children who do not meet the height requirements or are unable to ride, Rider Switch is not applicable for this attraction, as there are no height restrictions.
Disability Access Service (DAS): Guests with disabilities can use the Disability Access Service (DAS) for “it’s a small world” Holiday, which allows them to schedule a return time to access the attraction without waiting in the regular queue.
History, Design, and Architecture
The original “It’s a Small World” ride was conceived for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, designed by the legendary Imagineer Mary Blair. Her distinct style is imprinted all over the attraction, from the playful geometrics to the bold color palettes. With its success at the World’s Fair, the attraction found its permanent home in Disneyland in 1966. The holiday version, first introduced in the mid-’90s, was a testament to Disneyland’s commitment to keep classic rides fresh while staying true to their roots.
The holiday overlay has been enhanced several times since then, with new decorations and changes to keep the experience fresh and exciting. The façade of the attraction is adorned with thousands of colored lights, creating a dazzling display that is a must-see during the holiday season. The clock parade, which usually draws crowds every 15 minutes, is also decked out in festive gear, making it a must-see.
The ride experience begins with the elaborately decorated queue, which sets the festive mood for the journey ahead. Once aboard the boat, guests are treated to a delightful mix of holiday tunes, such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls,” along with the classic “it’s a small world” song. The attraction features various scenes representing different cultures and their holiday celebrations, with intricate details and decorations that capture the spirit of the season.
Queue: As with the original ride, the queue is mostly outdoors. However, during the holiday season, guests are treated to festooned archways and an omnipresent festive aroma, making the wait more bearable and, dare I say, enjoyable.
Music: The classic “It’s a Small World” tune, composed by the Sherman Brothers, is interspersed with holiday favorites like “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.” The fusion of these melodies provides a harmonious soundscape that’s both nostalgic and celebratory.
The Ride: As your boat glides along the gentle waterway, the world unfolds in a festive panorama. The animatronic children, representing different cultures, are adorned in holiday attire, celebrating their unique traditions. While the classic version is a tribute to global unity, the holiday rendition is a heartwarming reminder of the shared joy and hope that the festive season brings worldwide.
Once you’ve passed through the festively adorned queue and settled into one of the cheerful boats, the real magic begins. As you depart from the loading area, the gentle strums and chimes of the iconic “It’s a Small World” theme paired with beloved holiday classics set the tone for your journey ahead.
1. The Northern Winter Wonderland: The first room immerses riders in a winter wonderland. Snowflakes twinkle overhead, and animatronic children are dressed in cozy winter outfits. These characters are ice-skating, building snowmen, and partaking in snowball fights, representing the northern countries in their winter best. Scenes representing Europe are prominently featured here, with landmarks like the Eiffel Tower subtly integrated into the décor.
2. The British Isles: As the boat moves forward, the British Isles come into view. Classic characters engage in holiday traditions, from Christmas carolers singing in harmony to scenes of families gathering around the fireplace. Here, the integration of “Deck the Halls” is particularly strong, echoing the deep-rooted holiday traditions of the region.
3. Asia: Sailing further, you’ll be introduced to the vibrant cultures of Asia. Lanterns float gracefully above while children in traditional outfits celebrate Lunar New Year and Diwali, blending the various festive traditions of the continent. The music subtly shifts, blending classic tunes with traditional Asian instruments.
4. Africa: A warm, radiant ambiance represents the vast continent of Africa. Scenes showcase children riding atop intricately decorated elephants, drums beating in rhythmic harmony, and communities celebrating together. It’s a testament to the unity of the season, regardless of the unique traditions each region holds.
5. South America: The celebratory vibe continues as you float into South America. Scenes of festivity from countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Peru fill the space, with children dancing the samba and playing festive tunes. The lively beats and colorful decors create a carnival-esque atmosphere.
6. The South Seas and Pacific Islands: This section is a serene shift from the previous ones. Tropical islands with children dressed in traditional islander attire present a unique take on holiday celebrations. You’ll find scenes of children paddle boarding, some fishing, and others sharing gifts, encapsulating the spirit of ‘Aloha’.
7. The Grand Finale: The ride culminates in a grand, all-encompassing room where children from all nations come together in a harmonious celebration. Dressed in white, these animatronics hold candles, symbolizing peace and unity. The iconic “It’s a Small World” theme song reverberates in its full glory, reminding riders of the ride’s core message: unity, peace, and understanding.
Wait Times and Best Times to Ride
Average wait times for “it’s a small world” Holiday can range from 35 to 39 minutes. To avoid long queues, it’s best to visit the attraction during off-peak hours, such as early in the morning or late in the evening.
Location and Tips
“it’s a small world” Holiday is located in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park. To fully appreciate the stunning light display, it’s recommended to visit the attraction after nightfall. Additionally, consider visiting during off-peak hours to minimize wait times and make the most of your Disneyland experience.
“It’s a Small World Holiday” at Disneyland seamlessly marries nostalgia with festive cheer. It’s a visual and auditory treat that embodies the magic of Disneyland and the holiday season. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned guest, this attraction promises a ride full of wonder and warmth, making it a must-visit during the holidays.
It’s a Small World Holiday Ride Review
The Final Word
"it's a small world" Holiday is a must-see attraction during the holiday season at Disneyland. The festive decorations, delightful music, and enchanting scenes make it a magical experience for guests of all ages.