Ride Rating: “it’s a small world for the Highly Sensitive Child
“it’s a small world” is one of those iconic Disney rides. You can find it in the Fantasyland section of Magic Kingdom, right across from Peter Pan’s Flight.
There is no height minimum, so anyone from babies to expectant moms to the elderly can go on this ride! Let me rate this ride for you from a “Moms Make it Magical” perspective, so we can minimize those potential meltdowns for your highly sensitive kids.
Sudden Noises – ⅕
Your highly sensitive child may dislike sudden noises. “It’s a small world” is definitely more of a ride with constant noise with the repetition of the catchy song throughout the entire 10 minutes and 30 second duration, as opposed to sudden noises. This is why I give this a low rating.
Noise Level – ⅗
“It’s a small world” wouldn’t be what it is without the infamous song! From what I’ve seen, it is a “love it” or “hate it” situation from both adults and kids. If you’re curious, I personally love it and don’t mind the song being stuck in my head all day long.
But this is exactly why I would rate the noise level at a 3. It is not a quiet ride by any means, and the song playing loudly on a loop might be too much for some little ears (or even some adult ones too, if you’re part of the “hate it” camp)!
Darkness – ⅖
This ride is not too dark at all! Most of the scenes are lit brightly enough to see all the animatronics dancing and singing. One section that features Australia, New Zealand, and the Polynesian islands had a bit of a darker color palette than the other sections, but overall, highly sensitive kids with a fear of the dark shouldn’t have a huge issue on this ride.
Bright & Flashing Lights – ⅕
While it is VERY colorful and there are lots of moving parts, bright and flashing lights are not something to worry about on “it’s a small world”. There are no sudden transitions between darker areas and brightly lit sections.
Speed – ⅕
This is a slow-moving boat ride, which moves at a pretty consistent pace throughout. Just watch for the very end when they bring you back to the exit gates–it is a little jolting transitioning out of the water, after a mostly smooth ride. But really, no major speed concerns here!
Drops – 0/5
The ride moves through the different scenes without any drops or unexpected movements. It is very tame in terms of any “thrill” factor.
“Scary” Visuals – ⅖
What is scary to one child isn’t always scary to another, so this is extremely subjective! My kids did pretty well, but the Australia, New Zealand, Polynesian section did have a variety of large tiki masks displayed, which could freak out some kids.
K used to cry at our local children’s museum because of a “sun with a face” that creeped her out and we never ended up renewing our membership there since she hated it so much!
But anyway, the visual scenes overall are very pleasant as they try to promote a happy world where people of all cultures get along.
Crowded/Close Proximity to Others – 0/5
Crowds are often overwhelming for highly sensitive kids. On “it’s a small world”, there are several rows of seating on these boats, and they will seat your party together in these rows. So, there is a low likelihood of being squashed in like sardines and having to be in close proximity to virtual strangers.
Strong/Unpleasant Smells – 0/5
Disney is known to use the sense of smell to make their attractions even MORE immersive without you fully realizing it. In this case, I don’t recall any strong or unpleasant smells, so this shouldn’t be an issue even if your kid’s sense of smell is just as strong as your dog’s! 😉
Wetness Factor – 0/5
Some highly sensitive children are extremely uncomfortable getting wet or sitting around in wet clothes. While “its a small world” is a boat ride, you will NOT be getting wet at all! J was a little fearful of getting splashed after having ridden Frozen Ever After at Epcot, but he was fine after many many times of reassurance.
TOTAL SCORE – 10/50
How do we understand the rating? A lower score means less sensory overload, while a higher score means a greater likelihood of being overwhelmed and overstimulated. Based on that understanding, “its a small world” is a ride I would generally recommend for highly sensitive children (and adults), as long as constant noise and visual stimulation isn’t a huge trigger!
What has YOUR experience been on “it’s a small world”? Do you love it or hate it? Click the image below to join my private Facebook Group to share your opinion and get more tips on planning your Disney trip with your highly sensitive kids!