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Disneyland Paris - Fantasyland – Part 5 – “it’s a small world”

Like so many other attractions at Disneyland Paris, I think their version of “it’s a small world” is superior to all the rest.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world


Let’s start with the exterior of the attraction. The first IASW (“it’s a small world”) was in California. (Yes, I know, it was actually at the New York World’s Fair, but I’m skipping that.) This attraction has a sweeping exterior, wonderful topiary, and the Disneyland Railroad actually passes in front of the main building.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world


The exterior of IASW at Walt Disney World is basically unremarkable. Apart from its signage, there’s nothing about it to distinguish it from any other “dark” ride in Fantasyland. I will give the Imagineers a lot of credit. They did an outstanding job of reinventing the loading area a few years back. But it’s still has the least attractive exterior of the five versions of this ride.


Walt Disney World it's a small world

Walt Disney World it's a small world


IASW in Tokyo has a nice exterior. But the entrance and inside loading area leave a lot to be desired.


Tokyo Disneyland its a small world

Tokyo Disneyland its a small world


Hong Kong’s IASW has a decent exterior, but not as grand as California or Paris. The Loading area is nice, but nothing to take your breath away.


Hong Kong Disneyland its a small world

Hong Kong Disneyland its a small world


IASW at Disneyland Paris is closest in concept to California’s. It has a sweeping exterior, topiary, fountains, and the Disneyland Railroad passes by. I also prefer the pastel paint job, but I know many favor the original white and gold color scheme.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world


In reality, it would be difficult to say that the exterior of Paris is any better than California. Personally, I think it is, but for argument sake, I’ll call it a draw. But that’s not the only criteria on which I rank the French version of IASW as my favorite. The interior is definitely better than all the rest.

Your journey starts outside, under a covered loading area – and you stay protected from the elements throughout the entire attraction.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world


As you enter the show-building, you travel through a long tunnel. This is necessary as the Disneyland Railroad runs above this area. Along the way you see stylized travel posters from locations all around the world.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world


Q. So what makes the interior of this IASW better than all the rest?

A. The staging.

The same, simple dolls with minimal movement are all present. Nothing about these cute boys and girls and animals has changed. But the settings in which they reside have. All of the backgrounds are more elaborate. Most of these sets are still two-dimensional, but there are layers upon layers of cut-outs and colors. There are also more bridges and overcrossings to sail beneath.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world


Paris’ IASW was also the first to add scenes of Canada and the U.S.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world


Here is a picture of me wearing a cast member’s hat.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world


There is a cute walk-thru post-show near the exit of IASW. In this area, small TV screens are housed within various world landmarks and offer views of cartoon children communicating with one another. Basically, this is a commercial for France Telecom which sponsors the attraction. But since the theming is consistent with the ride and the videos are entertaining, it doesn’t smack of commercialism.


Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world

Disneyland Paris it's a small world


Across the way from IASW is “Pizzeria Bella Notte.” This is a counter service restaurant inspired by the classic animated movie “Lady and the Tramp.” The menu here offers pizza, pasta, and salads.


Disneyland Paris Pizzeria Bella Notte

Disneyland Paris Pizzeria Bella Notte


Sitting outdoors is pleasant when the weather is nice and a number of tables offer nice views of the parade which passes nearby.


Disneyland Paris Pizzeria Bella Notte

Disneyland Paris Pizzeria Bella Notte


Indoor seating is also quite pleasing and features an Italian theme. Be sure to look for Tony and Joe carved into two of the columns.


Disneyland Paris Pizzeria Bella Notte


When the Mary Blair mural in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, California was removed, some of the broken pieces of tile were saved and have been imbedded in the walls here at “Pizzeria Bella Notte.”

Also in this area is an entrance/exit to/from Fantasyland via The Hub.


Disneyland Paris Fantasyland Entrance


That completes my description of Fantasyland. Next stop, Discoveryland.

The previous post in this blog was Muppet*Vision 3-D Trivia.

The next post in this blog is TREN-D – Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Comments (3)

Jeffrey Dunne:

Woohooo finally some Canadian representation on It's A Small World! Glad to hear it.

David Cran:

I think this is my favourite of all the its a small world, in face in terms of the magic kingdom I think Paris' is far better than any of the others, but the studios leave a lot to be desired...

Are you going to cover the studios after Discoverland?

p.s. Am looking for some uber geek fest based post on Star Tours, the queue is better than the ride!!

Answer: Yes, I am going to talk about the Walt Disney Studios after Discoveryland. Stay tuned.

Nicki Selley:

Again, as Paris was our first ever Disney venture back in 1994, this was our first experience of IASW. All our family loved it and felt the Florida version was a 'blink and you miss it' attraction from the outside!! My husband, even now at the age of 52, insists we always take this ride at least once every Disney vacation though!!
Keep up the good work Jack, you don't know how much these blogs mean to me, especially as it doesn,t look like we will get to any Disney park this year due to the credit crunch. We also have a 7 month old grandson now (Tyler Leon!) and can't wait for the chance to initiate him into the World of Disney!!
Thanks again, Nicki Selley UK

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 19, 2009 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Muppet*Vision 3-D Trivia.

The next post in this blog is TREN-D – Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.