Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's a product placement world, after all

We told you earlier this month last week that the Disney people had gone ahead with their plan to bespoil Disneyland's It's A Small World attraction, a shrine to world peace and tribute to the innocence of children across the globe, with cynical movie-tie in product placement that puts Ben Silverman and 30 Rock to shame. A visit to It's A Small World over the weekend revealed a ride that's quite different in intent and atmosphere from our first trip through 45 years ago at the New York World's Fair-- and not only because of the new, sturdy wide-ass boats that ferry the audience along the animatronic canal. What was once a tribute to world unity is now invaded by jarring Disney movie characters and promotion. Most egregiously, the view of one of the ride's highlights-- the three hula dancers of Hawaii-- is actually blocked by Lilo & Stitch dolls bobbing on a surfboard. Also disturbing and distracting is the new penultimate display, a tribute not to the world but to America, with Hollywood klieg lights standing between tableaus of farmland and Tom Hanks' Toy Story character on the way to the finale room (known to insiders as "Heaven") where the children in white versions of their native garb, sing in unison, in English. The message is lost.

All in all, a mistake. Below are the ones we caught. Apologies to Donald and Pinocchio if they were already there:

Alice in Wonderland





Three Caballeros

The Little Mermaid

Finding Nemo

Lilo & Stitch

Toy Story


Anonymous said...


I just saw your story about "It's a Small World" and I am devastated. I cannot believe that Disney would change it like that. That has been one of the most inspiring, charming attractions for so many years, they should have just left it the way it was. I'm so upset.

Emily said...

I for one, am not disappointed at all. I have been going to Disneyland every year since 1985 and I'm thrilled that they incorporated the characters for a new generation to relate to. Walt Disney said that Disneyland would never be completed, and this is a perfect example. The characters are mostly very subtle and for those who are disappointed and LOOKING for the characters, they blend right in. I loved the addition of Jack Sparrow and Barbosa to the Pirate crew, I love the Christmas changeover to the Mansion, I love the Nemo submarines, I can't wait for the Cars addition to California Adventure, Disney is definitely on the right track!