Interesting angle, just show the ride in its original technicolor glory. I'm one of those odd adults who actually enjoys the cloying sweetness of the ride. I wouldn't mind seeing it simply restored either, although I get the impression they'd essentially have to replace the ride (or most of the elements within it) in order to restore it like that.
"What the man who approved SuperStar Limo and the file clerk both forgot though is..."
Ouch. Nice one!
"that when you build brands by selling the customer on a strong emotional relationship with them, as well as exploiting their nostalgia, you can't suddenly dismiss their subsequent concerns as it suits you. You have to respect the audience you built."
Great editorial, you really hit the nail on the head as to why so many of us oppose the changes, even those of us who aren't die-hard fans of the ride by any means.
I have been avoiding posting my opinion on this issue on all message boards I visit. The deabate has been heated and I didn't feel my opinion would do any good. I am opposed to the Disney characters being added the ride. I do not feel they will add anything to the theme of "the children of the world" and will only distract from it as people look for characters and not think about the purpose of the ride. It is supposed to be about how small the world really is and how we may be different, but are alike too. I think the Mary Blairing of the characters should be confined to the outside of the attraction or maybe at the welcome and goodbye parts of the ride. I know Disney wants to sell the Mary Blair-esque characters as plush and what-not and that is fine, but leave them out of the main parts of the ride.
I would think Disney would appreciate that fans are so up in arms over this. It really shows how passionate the fans are. Disney has some of the best fans in the world and their opinions should be respescted and not brushed off as just some fanboy craziness. I will still visit Disneyland if the proposed changes are made to Small world and I will still ride the ride, but it will be a different experience.
Hmm... DVD screenshots aren't the strongest argument. Instead of returning IASW to some "former glory," I'd just rather not see it transformed into something it was never intended to be.
I'm surprised no one has stated the obvious. Imagineering is trying to add concepts from two other IASMs to ours. Hong Kong's IASM is receiving Disney characters in deference to the Chinese. I am happy with this in Hong Kong .. not here!
The other concept can be found at Disneyland Paris, Those of you fortunate enough to visit that park have seen their version of the classic attraction. It features all new art direction. In fact the only room that has Mary Blair art direction is the "heaven room" at the end of the ride.
This attraction was built with an "up with America" section (God, sounds like a Republican Party plot!) Its actually very well done. You start on the East Coast and travel across the country to the West Coast. You pass through the Hollywood Bowl clamshell into the finale. Its actually very well done. I did feel a twinge of patriotism seeing this.
Having said all that I am against removing the rainforest section from our ride. Their is simply not enough space to do this right at our park. The America section in Paris is HUGE. It will never fit in our IASW. Plus I love the "gay puma".
Sometimes when Imagineering changes classic Disney attractions they become enhanced (Pirates is a good example) This sounds like a huge mistake.
I understand your viewpoint, and what you were trying to achieve, but after reading the article, I was not convinced. Showing photos of Small World in it's hay-day does not provide substantial evidence or a quality argument not to change the attraction.
I love the color of the original ride. I think that Al is on the right track when he says restore it to the original color and gags. I really don't mind if modern lighting and LEDs were added to enhance the movement of some scenes. I would not even mind if the more mechanical motion of some of the dolls were replaced with more complex AA's which were more life-like. Even a new sound systems that allowed you to hear the different languages better. That would make the ride sparkle to me.
Jiminy Cricket Fan
While we are at it, why not restore Rolly Crump's kinetic sculpture "Tower of the Four Winds" that was outside of the original Small World Pavillion at the World's Fair. I personally think that was the best thing about the attraction's original design.
Al, I think most people who visit miceage, including me, look forward desperately to your updates to get the latest DL news. I think that people think of you as a big, if not ultimate Disney fan. So it may be shocking to hear that, to you "the dolls can be unnerving, Mary Blair's and Rolly Crump's folk/abstract designs are not to my taste and that earworm of a tune by the Sherman Brothers I have no doubt is used by the CIA to torture terrorists" and "who at one point many years ago felt that arming all riders with bazookas on this ride would be a mighty fine idea". Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not lambasting you, I'm just bringing up the point that even though we're all Disney lovers, it's ok to have a difference of opinion on what we like and don't like. So it's all good.
Second point: you didn't name the "man who approved SuperStar Limo and the file clerk", I don't want to be improper by questioning, but are their initials MS and DS? I thought DS was fairly respected by fans.
Third point: I think the stills that show such vibrant colors were shot with all the lights up, in the actual ride it's actually pretty dark. I don't have any inside scoop, but the reason may be to minimize the fading of colors under bright lights, much like museum lighting. I agree that the ride probably deteriorated over the years, but I think one of the reasons it's not as vibrant as your photos is because of the low lighting. Anyway, I (I'm sure amongst many) appreciate your reports and comments.
Last edited by Disneykin Kid; 04-22-2008 at 08:53 AM.
Reason: added thought
Well done Al... Its a small world is a love hate attraction its funny but if you ask friends or family people have stories about how the either absoultely hate the song and its stuck in their head all the time but other say the absolutely adore the simplicity of the attraction to each is own but i think everyone agrees a disneyfied version is not the answer Al brings up a good point why not Disneyfy it for the christmas version it will be alot less objectional and make a hell of lot of more sense
I guess I still just don't understand why this is all such a big deal... Don't get me wrong, I'm all about nostalgia and protecting that which is unique to the world of Disney - heck, I even enjoy riding IASW on occassion. But Al hit a very important nail right on the head in regards to how people actually react to IASW even in it's current state. Let's be honest here, folks - IASW has a bigger reputation for being annoying rather than whimsical. I don't know a single parent who doesn't dread HAVING to go on this ride simply because they have young children - nor do I know a single teenager who isn't aware of how "un-cool" it is to ride IASW. I'm not even going to mention that most of the people who are creating the current hooplah over IASW are the same people who are more than willing to walk right past it to visit even Mickey's Toontown! (on second thought, I guess I am going to mention them). We're talking about a few - A FEW - Disney characters here, folks! Disney characters which, I might add, are being designed to not only resemble, but to pay homage to Mary Blair's unmistakable vision! I might also add that Pirates of the Carribean only got better. Haunted Mansion got better. Tom Sawyer's Island (familiar story) got better.
I can't say the "children of the world" argument is foolproof when you've got mermaid dolls in the attraction.
I tend to think of Small World in one of 2 ways.
The idea of presenting the perfect world through art- showing our shared humanity (via the dolls having pretty much the same face), different cultures (via costumes and settings), and then bringing 'em all into a finale where you
see things like dancing girls from different countries side by side.
It's an optimistic view of the world, but it's confident enough to admit it's somewhat quixotic, with the Don Quixote marionette.
But then there's globalism. In this theory, the dolls' sameness isn't about the common humanity as much as shared consumer desires across cultural divides. Having Disney characters put in would highlight how Disney adapts characters and stories from all over the world for global consumption- that Alice in no less English in her Disney incarnation and to many people, she is the first version of the character they enounter.
And of course, the need for this refurb tells a pointed story about the pitfalls of global behemoths of industry as well. Because what is highly profitable today might mean almost a year of ride closures and new boats decades later.