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. Those 4 and under love this because there’s lots to see and nothing threatening, but by about age 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 early 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. And repeated it is, some 1,600 times over a 16-hour operating day. The robo-pageant was whipped up in 11 months for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York as a partnership with PepsiCo and UNICEF. Pepsi was about to reject the concept, but actress Joan Crawford, who was on the board of directors, halted the meeting, stood up, and declared, “We are going to do this!” That was a masterstroke—Walt somehow convinced American corporations to subsidize construction of attractions in his own theme park. His company still depends on that. And, gutsier yet, now his parks only serves Coke. After the Fair, where it cost $1 for adults to ride, the original was moved to Disneyland. Strategy: If you’re not sure whether meeting 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—every passenger will be humming that song in their sleep, and possibly in their graves—but the wait is shortest after the fireworks show ends.