On April 10, 2014, Disney Parks across the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of a classic park attraction, “it’s a small world."
This is one of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World for so many reasons.
Sure, some may argue that the theme song (composed by the Sherman Brothers) is repetitive, but its message of global peace, love and brother- and sisterhood is something we can all relate to. (It was written at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, after all.)
But for me it’s about so much more than that.
In September 2011 my extended family took a trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate my 40th birthday.
On our last day, my mom, AaronD and I headed to the Magic Kingdom. We wanted to take advantage of “Extra Magic Hours” since the park was open until 1 am and my mom promised she would close the park with us. What a treat!
This meant a lot to me because I hadn't been on Disney rides with her since I was in elementary school...but this time it was with the love of my life, making it even more special.
At 12:55, the park was virtually empty. Our last ride was "it's a small world." Now, we'd taken that boat ride earlier in the week with the entire group, but this time something was different...there was a whole different mood in the air. I can't explain it.
We were loaded onto a boat all to ourselves.
We had the attraction virtually all to ourselves (since other boats were empty).
We each had a row in the boat all to ourselves.
As we floated through that night I thought about many things:
- Walt’s hand was in its creation. The history.
- Mary Blair’s whimsical design aesthetic.
- My mom and how blessed I was that I could share this time with her once again. Mother and son. Family.
- AaronD and our journey to parenthood. What would our future family look like?
I looked around during our 15-minute voyage at the smiling animated characters around each corner and suddenly got sentimental and a little emotional. (I mean, who among us can handle the last day of vacation? This was different.)
On this attraction anniversary, the memory of that evening flooded back.
That night I wished that something special would happen for AaronD and me. Now reflecting back on the magic from that watery boat ride something special has happened to us...we are now parents.
Was it Disney magic? Who can tell?
I can't wait to take “the happiest cruise that ever sailed 'round the world” with my own children (when they are finally adopted). To share the beauty of that attraction with them.
But this ride is not just for children.
It’s for families of all types: Like ours. Perhaps that’s why I like it most.
There’s room in this great big world for all of us.
It's a world of laughter, a world of tears.
It's a world of hopes and a world of fears.
There's so much that we share,
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all.
Sing along if you wish, but just a warning, once you get this tune in your head, it's hard to get it out.
Cover photo credit: Dennis Brown