'Small World' character additions anger some
Confirmation from Disneyland officials concerning planned additions to the park's classic It's a Small World boat ride has led to public outcry and anger amongst some long-time Disney fans. Officials said that the park would be adding Alice from Alice in Wonderland, among other characters, to the ride, which remains largely unchanged from it's original form, filled with artwork and designs from Disney legend Mary Blair. The rehab will “respect and honor the original creative intent” of Blair’s iconic work while adding “new richness, excitement and relevance,” according to one Imagineering official.
Dissent for the plans has grown so loud that Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering and Imagineer Ambassador, wrote a public response to the controversy, in which he explains that plans for the rehab are not as extreme as some rumors have suggested.
Now the rumors are swirling that we are “ruining Walt’s creation.” I’ve heard that we are planning to remove the rainforest, add Mickey and Minnie Mouse, create an “Up with America” tribute, to effectively “marginalize” the Mary Blair style and Walt’s classic (all not true).
In fact, just the opposite is true. We want the message of brotherhood and good will among all children around the world to resonate with more people than ever before, especially today’s young people. Our objective is to have everyone who experiences “It’s a Small World” understand (in the words the Shermans’ wrote 44 years ago) that “there is just one moon, and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to everyone.”
Hong Kong Disneyland recently opened its version of the iconic ride, with Disney characters appearing throughout the ride. For a look at how the characters are integrated and for a look at the ride itself, check out this set of photos from The HKDL Source.