Slow and sweet as treacle, the King of Fantasyland rides is a 15-minute boat trip serenaded by the Sherman Brothers’ infectious theme song (bet you already know it). On the route, nearly 300 dancing-doll children, each pegged to his or her nation by genial stereotypes (Dutch kids wear clogs, French kids can-can), chant the same song, and everyone’s in a party mood. In the tense years following the Cuban Missile Crisis, this ride’s message of human unity was a balm, and in these rooms, millions of toddlers have received their first exposure to world cultures (including yours truly—and then I grew to be a travel writer). Those 4 and under love this because there’s lots to see and nothing threatening, but by about 11, kids reverse their opinions and think its upchuck factor is higher than Mission Space’s. The ride’s distinctive look came from Mary Blair, a rare female Imagineer. Walt originally wanted the kids to sing their own national anthems, but the resulting cacophony was too disturbing; instead, a ditty was written in such a way that it could be repeated with changing instrumentation, and so that its verse and chorus would never clash. It was whipped up in 11 months for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York as a partnership with Pepsi and UNICEF. Pepsi was about to reject the concept, but Joan Crawford, who was on the board of directors, halted the meeting, stood up, and declared, “We are going to do this!” After the World’s Fair, where it cost $1 for adults to ride, the original was moved to Disneyland. Strategy: If you’re not sure whether the sight of characters will wig out your kids, take them on this as a test run. Be in line on the quarter-hour, when the central clock unfolds, strikes, and displays the time with moveable type. No seat is better than another; you’re still going to be humming that song in your sleep, and possibly inside your grave.
Magic Kingdom› Attraction
“it’s a small world”
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