Whenever Disney changes a popular ride, they say, the company receives criticism from die-hard fans who are resistant to anything that will alter the Disneyland of their childhood memories. So-called “Dis-nerds” also got upset when Disney recently refurbished the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, but were mollified once they saw the updated ride.
Designers insist the changes to “Small World” are even more subtle and conform to Walt Disney's original philosophy and style while keeping the attraction from becoming “like a museum,” said Kim Irvine, director of concept design for Walt Disney Imagineering.
When I was in high school, my date and I got stuck on the Small World ride for hours, several boat lengths from the exit. Despite announcements over the PA system to “Please remain inside the boat, the ride will resume momentarily,” the people in front of us eventually couldn't take it anymore. They jumped out into the water and swam to freedom. My date wanted to do the same, but I refused. So instead, we sat there for an eternity, listening to the thousand creepy dolls sing the song. That song. That song which will never leave your mind. Oh, the horror.