It’s A Small World Review – Disneyland California – Is This The Scariest Ride In The World?

Disney’s Classic Children’s ride is supposed to represent unity and international harmony as riders float around an ensemble of international scenes occupied with dolls of happy smiling children dressed in the traditional clothing of the regions. However to many, this is the most terrifying experience of their lives, the happy smiling faces all singing that song over and over, it’s like staring into the eyes of madness! Not only is It’s A Small World the most terrifying ride in the Park it’s one of the most terrifying rides in the world.

With no thrill element to speak of and no attempt to elicit real fear or horror, how can this ride be so utterly terrifying? How does it leave so many needing therapy, not daring to enter another theme park again, when all the ride consists of is a pleasant boat ride? Read on in our It’s a Small World Review! See if you have the courage to face the Ultimate Fear Ride!

its a small world review Disneyland California
  • Location – Disneyland Park – Fantasyland
  • Type – Dark Boat Ride
  • Duration – 15 Mins
  • Height Restriction – None
  • Average Queue time – 15 mins – 30 Mins
  • Genie+ – Yes
  • Additional Info – The Horror!
  • Thrill Rating
  • Fun
  • Smoothness and Comfort
  • Uniqueness and Theming
  • Value For Time

Note – Of course, our review and rating of this ride should all be taken tongue in cheek, the ride is a pleasant boat ride through an attraction filled with colorful and fun scenes depicting happy children accompanied by an insanely catchy and repetitive song. No one will be traumatized and kids will not fear returning to theme parks. It’s just very weird and the song is seriously annoying, which freaks us out a little. But really it’s fun to be freaked outright?

What is It’s A Small World

This is Disney’s first Afterlife Simulator, They have not got around to building the second sim, the Heaven Sim, and plans are on hold for a purgatory simulator. However, It’s a Small World gives you a brief 15-minute glimpse of what awaits you in Hell!

The Horror starts almost Straight away as the “song” starts up and does not desist from the repeated ditty of “It’s a Small World After all” over and over again in a high-pitched child choir voice. After 15 minutes of the song you will be quite insane and the thought of the eternity of this that awaits anyone banished to the underworld in the next life is enough to turn even the biggest Sinner completely straight!

This terrifying ride was first conceived for the World’s fair in 1965 and apparently, nearly didn’t happen, Imagine that! A year later Disneyland California’s door was darkened with the specter of the New it’s a Small World ride and it has been scaring adults and children alike to this day, at Anaheim, along with versions in Florida, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, only Shanghai has avoided this terrible fate!


The Queue is sedate enough and just meanders around the form of the ride building. The Building’s facade features some very pretty architecture that belies nothing of the horror inside. The mood in the queue can vary from palpable for those who know what they’re in for, to blissful ignorance of the onslaught that is about to commence.

The Ride loading area is outside and you board the boat and get ready to head off into the underworld.

Ride Experience

The ride is simple enough and the ride boats simply float along the watercourse. There are no thrill elements just a constant float through the ride building. As soon as you enter the building the horror begins the first scene, a boat cruise scene, with the animatronic dolls starting the first round of “It’s A Small World”

The song, apparently the most played song in human history, which has to be some kind of crime against humanity, then repeats over and over and over, in the same high-pitched choral tone for the entire journey. The only change is as you pass scenes from other countries the song is sung in their own language but this does little blunt the cumulative effect of this song burrowing a hole into your brain!


The Vacant Stares and melodic swaying of the dolls and other parts of the set are all deeply hypnotic and have a feeling of indoctrination into some kind of demonic cult. The tune and the swaying lure you ever onward into the dark world.

By the end, we are not sure if what has just happened was actually real or if it was all some dark nightmare. You are back out into the daylight and the loading area a bit dazed and confused as to what the hell happened and how you can ever go back to a normal exitance again.


Overall the ride is a nightmare come true, the children’s blank expressions, happy smiles, and constant movement matched to the incessant and infectious soundtrack really get into your head. We are not sure if the ride was intentionally evil or just a part of Disney history that has not translated very well into modern times.

Despite our harsh-sounding words, we do love the ride. The Horror is strangely alluring and we find ourselves in this place, again and again, subjecting ourselves to the tormented stares of the swaying children! And if all else fails, it’s a nice cool area to have a 15-minute sit-down and power nap! Which is priceless on a day in a Theme Park really.

Have Your Say

Have you Experienced the Horror of It’s a Small World? Did it send you into a deep, dark, and troubling place like us? Or were you far less freaked out than us? Maybe it is just our psyche is not able to cope with this onslaught, or maybe you have been terrorized by the Ride but have been too scared to speak out? Let us know in the comments below and maybe we can get through this together!

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