Last Friday Disneyland’s It’s a Small World was supposed to open for its annual holiday season presentation for It’s a Small World Holiday, where costumes and music have been changed to give it a more festive vibe. Unfortunately, for the first time in over 20 years, that didn’t happen. There was a problem when the ride was refilled with water after the holiday overlay was completed. And while the indication was the attraction would open soon, it’s beginning to sound like that won’t be the case.
When Disneyland first revealed that It’s a Small World would not reopen on time, officials said only that they would be working to get the attraction open as soon as possible, which made it sound like there would only be a slight delay. However, writer David Koenig, who has authored several books on the Disney Parks, says that he’s hearing the damage is actually quite significant. So the closure will last longer than people are likely expecting.
Cast members I’ve heard from say the damage is far worse than Disney is letting on. Apparently, the Small World flume began leaking when it was being filled in the early hours of last Wednesday Nov. 10. The problem was not discovered until several hours later.November 18, 2021
It seems that as the flume was being refilled early on November 10, it began to leak, but that leak was not noticed for several hours, leading to significant flooding underneath the attraction, including damage to what Koenig calls “a significant portion of machinery.” Some of that machinery is as old as It’s a Small World itself. The attraction was first designed for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, and following the fair’s end, the whole thing was moved across the country to Disneyland. If machinery that old is damaged, it would likely need to be replaced, rather than simply repaired, which is clearly a much longer process.
In the meantime, security officers have been posted to prevent any snooping around.November 18, 2021
If that’s the case, then it could mean that It’s a Small World could be closed for quite some time while significant work is done. There was no indication when the closure was announced that the attraction wouldn’t still open for this holiday season, but now that certainly seems unlikely.
One maintenance worker apparently told Koenig that the “worst case scenario” was that It’s a Small World could end up closed for a full year to get it fully operational again. The bright side is that the worst case seems unlikely, and Koenig thinks the attraction will be back for guests early next year.
Update to last post: the worst case scenario is highly unlikely. Disney is doing everything it can to have Small World reopen in early 2022.November 18, 2021
The down side of that, is that it means no It’s a Small World Holiday for 2021, which is all the more frustrating for fans because, since Disneyland was closed for the holidays in 2020, that means there has been no It’s a Small World Holiday for two years. It’s not all bad, the exterior lighting display is fully functional and still beautiful, but it looks like that may have to be enough this year.