What was the plan for the Small World 50th Update?

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
Other than meet with a dozen ambassadors / embassies from African countries in NYC or DC and inquire what would be a good way to represent their peoples? (If there weren't already embassies or consulates in Los Angeles, and couldn't afford to fly to the East Coast, they could have called and asked for a pamphlet.)

It's a Small World isn't awful with cultural representation, it just needs to update a blind spot. It did will representing a few African cultures and tribes, but then gave up after four and filled the rest of the Africa room with animals.

It also needs to replace the leprechaun with actual Irish people. There's the offensive stereotype in the ride: replacing a people with one of myths and not doing that to any other culture.
Do leprechauns actually offend anyone? Just saying, I graduated from a certain university where the much-loved mascot is based on depictions of the Irish you might find in a 19th century phrenology textbook. There was always a letter every year where someone would complain that the largely Irish-American student body should have found the mascot offensive, and this idea was always met with amused indifference.

And doesn't the Scotland scene feature Nessie in Disneyland?
 

rreading

Premium Member
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This I don't understand at all. In the second quote, you correctly identify that it's about cultures.... which are peoples.

But in the first quote, you dismiss the lack of African cultures in favor of looking at animals. The African room has a dearth of cultural representation and is half animals.

It is indeed a small world if you ignore most of the peoples of a whole continent.

My impression is that there are other animals when they are representative of the continent. My recall is there are penguins, kiwis, and other animals where they represent part of the culture. I assume that the Irish (which iirc are present as people not just the leprechaun) appreciate the leprechaun as part of their culture. One thing that's too bad about the United States is that we don't have a history of our own. Snake Charmers in India are representative of part of who they've been rather than saying that Indians can't be anything but snake charmers.

To me, the world would be extremely boring were everyone the same and no one had regional cultures and cultural history.

I will also be sad if Africa (as a continent) no longer has its animals
 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
My impression is that there are other animals when they are representative of the continent. My recall is there are penguins, kiwis, and other animals where they represent part of the culture. I assume that the Irish (which iirc are present as people not just the leprechaun) appreciate the leprechaun as part of their culture. One thing that's too bad about the United States is that we don't have a history of our own. Snake Charmers in India are representative of part of who they've been rather than saying that Indians can't be anything but snake charmers.

To me, the world would be extremely boring were everyone the same and no one had regional cultures and cultural history.

I will also be sad if Africa (as a continent) no longer has its animals

I'm not saying there can't be any animals here and there. It's just that African cultures were unrepresented and they used animals to hide that blind spot.

Also, removing African animals from Africa has nothing to do with those animals possibly going extinct in Africa.

What part of "children of the world" are you not grasping as theme of the attraction? It's not a tour of the world so you can see all the native flora and fauna... there are other attractions around WDW for that.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Other than meet with a dozen ambassadors / embassies from African countries in NYC or DC and inquire what would be a good way to represent their peoples? (If there weren't already embassies or consulates in Los Angeles, and couldn't afford to fly to the East Coast, they could have called and asked for a pamphlet.)

It's a Small World isn't awful with cultural representation, it just needs to update a blind spot. It did will representing a few African cultures and tribes, but then gave up after four and filled the rest of the Africa room with animals.

It also needs to replace the leprechaun with actual Irish people. There's the offensive stereotype in the ride: replacing a people with one of their myths and not doing that to any other culture.
There’s also Canada being represented solely by a Mountie caricature. But I’m not losing sleep over it.
 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
There’s also Canada being represented solely by a Mountie caricature. But I’m not losing sleep over it.

I thought Mounties were real!!

Now, I'm questioning everything I ever knew!!

;)

Yeah, that should go. Children of the world shouldn't be depicted in a culture's military-ish uniforms. Kinda goes against the whole hope for world peace vibe.

And now I'm thinking about whether children of the world should be in 'adult' attire. I'm thinking about the can-can dancers and belly dancers... kinda creepy they're children.
 

rreading

Premium Member
I'm not saying there can't be any animals here and there. It's just that African cultures were unrepresented and they used animals to hide that blind spot.

Also, removing African animals from Africa has nothing to do with those animals possibly going extinct in Africa.

What part of "children of the world" are you not grasping as theme of the attraction? It's not a tour of the world so you can see all the native flora and fauna... there are other attractions around WDW for that.

Personally I enjoy seeing the animals at that point in the ride. I enjoy the ride, but there are many who would say that dolls and dolls and dolls with the same song throughout is a bit redundant. My impression is that many of us enjoy seeing the animals as a fun aspect of the ride.

Also, for the visitors, we can (usually) tell the difference between the different cultures represented since they have their own identities. Maybe SW includes sub-saharan Africa in its tour but breaking out the different tribes would be difficult to tell the differences. Maybe they have different dress and dances but just as India and China are generalized representations, Africa would be generalized the same.

Are you more offended that there aren't enough sub-saharan tribes represented or that the animals are there?
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
For the Africa thing, it’s probably more noticeable (in Florida particularly) because of how little time you spend in that room. It’s really a spectacular room (best in the ride) but most of the dolls are in the background, and the rest is filled with animals.

The explanation for the surplus in animals is simple to me. Aside from the Hippo, none are really animatronics. They are simple moving (or static) figures, so it’s easy to have more of them. But they really should add more animatronic dolls in there.

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These laughing kids are amazing, but it seems like they were taken out in the move from The World’s Fair to Disneyland. Would be awesome to see them back, and in other versions of the attraction.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I thought Mounties were real!!

Now, I'm questioning everything I ever knew!!

;)

Yeah, that should go. Children of the world shouldn't be depicted in a culture's military-ish uniforms. Kinda goes against the whole hope for world peace vibe.

And now I'm thinking about whether children of the world should be in 'adult' attire. I'm thinking about the can-can dancers and belly dancers... kinda creepy they're children.
They are real, but I’ve never seen one in person. I’ve always wanted a small scene or something to represent us a bit better, but much like the US, it isn’t really necessary for the North American Small World’s. Maybe in the Finale.

As for the adult attire, for the most part, I think it’s fine. The goal of the ride is to try to represent as many cultures possible in the simplest terms possible. They’re trying to balance the display of our similarities and differences. It does a good job, and nothing is too revealing.

But they can never add too many cultures and too many kids/people. So as far as changes go in that department, I welcome them with open arms, and I hope they add them when the time is right.
 

Brer Panther

Well-Known Member
Why do I have the feeling that it'd be easier for Disney to just get rid of It's a Small World altogether than it would be to update it so that it's considered politically correct?

And doesn't the Scotland scene feature Nessie in Disneyland?
Well, there's a sea serpent at the beginning of the ride, but I don't know if that's intended to be the Loch Ness Monster.
 

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