Having ridden the original It’s A Small World ride at Disneyland in California so many years ago, I have a soft spot in my heart for the nostalgia of it. For those of you whom have not been on the ride, theme park goers are taken on a boat through different parts of the world, recreated with animated settings and complete with singing animatronic children. They all sing how it is a small world after all. A heartfelt idea executed to its simplist. And believe me, you won’t get the song out of your head for several days. A kiddie ride for sure, but a classic none the less. So to see an app version pop up on the App Store, I wondered how it would translate. Disney takes you on a digital version of its classic ride, and it is an experience not to be missed.
It’s A Small World plays similar to a digital book, featuring the original Sherman Brothers’ song. Lyrics to the song appear on screen and are read aloud. Each scene animates slowly from left to right to display an entire world on each page, while also providing interactive characters for the reader to touch and play within the scene. The readers travel the globe in a hot air balloon, including visits to Africa and even Russia. You can view each scene at your own pace, including zipping through by swiping your finger. Or if there is a scene that is your favorite, you can tap the hot air balloon icon in the bottom left corner to take you to a menu that displays the Small World where you can rotate and select the scene directly.
The animation is delightfully entertaining and definitely translates the feeling of the original ride for those who have never experienced it. The smooth transition of each scene also adds to that floating feeling from traveling on the boat. If ever there was a want for the feeling of being on a ride, this app has created it. And to make sure everyone, everywhere knows this song from now on, there is a sing-along activity. It’s cute, it’s fun and it teaches you to say “Hello” in sixteen languages. I also had my children try it to get their opinion and they both loved it. My four year old in particular liked the interactivity.
As a digital ride or an interactive book, It’s A Small World is enjoyable for the old and young alike. It’s in the app store now for $3.99, a little more than most, but competitively priced verses other digital children’s books. Disney does what it does best making everyone feel like a kid again.