Classic Disney ride opens in Hong Kong
When Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005, critics were quick to point out that it was missing one essential Disney park component – the boat ride It’s a Small World.
The attraction’s absence was all the more pertinent as its central theme – harmony between ages and nations – would surely resonate well with Chinese guests. Little over a year later, however, Disney executives announced plans to introduce the ride into Hong Kong and the world got a little bit smaller when it opened this spring as part of Tomorrowland.
“It’s a Small World is a perfect example of Disney’s signature entertainment that immerses guests in a wonderful story of peace, hope and friendship,” noted Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, at the opening ceremony on April 27. “We are confident that it will touch the hearts and minds of guests of all ages for generations to come.”
It’s a Small World was originally created by Walt Disney and his Imagineers for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, to benefit the children’s charity UNICEF. Versions of the ride have since opened at all Disneyland parks worldwide, including California, Florida, Tokyo and Paris.
Promoting the themes of peace, love, friendship and understanding, It’s a Small World takes passengers on a leisurely boat journey across six continents, inviting them to rediscover the world through the eyes of a child. Animatronic singing children, Disney dolls and world-famous landmarks combine to offer a unforgettable family experience.
The Hong Kong version of the ride features the largest-ever Asia section and newly designed scenes depicting China and Hong Kong. The ride’s façade is also a feature in its own right, featuring pastiches of renowned world landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Leaning Tower of Pisa and the “Onion” domes of Moscow’s Red Square.
Unbeknown to many, the classic It’s a Small World theme tune that plays on a loop throughout the attraction has held a significant place in Hong Kong history for over 30 years, even though there has been no accompanying ride until now. This is because the original Cantonese version was written by legendary lyricist James Wong, and guests at Hong Kong Disneyland can now hear it sung in nine different languages including, for the very first time, Putonghua, Tagalog and Korean. One way or another guests won’t be able to get it out of their head.