The happiest place in Tokyo Disneyland

Which attraction is the most popular attraction in Tokyo Disneyland?

There are various options, but “It’s a small world” is one strong candidate. This attraction was renewed in 2018, and now you can find many Disney characters in the ride, singing along with children dressed in costumes from all over the world. In this post, I would like to share many fascinating facts about “It’s a small world”.

What is the attraction “It’s a Small World”?

Picture of It's a Small World

To the happiest cruise that ever sailed!

Here’s overview of “It’s a Small World”.

  • Ride type attraction
  • OK on rainy days
  • No height restriction

Guests ride on a boat and sail around the world. During the voyage, we can meet children dressed in traditional costumes of each countries, and singing the happy song, “It’s a small world”.

Boat of It's a Small World

When I went to Tokyo Disneyland with my daughter for the first time, she was 1 year old. She was in a baby carrier, but her eyes were wide open, fascinated with the exciting atmosphere. When she was 2, she kept on saying she wants to ride again, until we rode 4 times in a roll and finally persuaded her to go to another attraction. There’s nothing scary in this attraction, and it surely can be enjoyed both by children and adults.

Location of “It’s a Small World”

Map of "It's a Small World"

“It’s a Small World” is in Fantasyland, next to “Poo’s Hunny Hunt”. You can find it easily because its exterior is unique. And there is stroller parking near the entrance.

Waiting time

Typical waiting time of “It’s a small world” is around 30~40 minutes even on crowded days. The waiting time is relatively short compared to other popular attractions like “Pooh’s Honey Hunt”(around 120 minutes) or even “Peter Pan’s Flight”(around 45 minutes). The fact that the waiting time of “It’s a Small World” is less than these attractions does not mean it is less popular, but it is due to the large capacity of the ride. The waiting time is minimized with boats that seat 15 adults, departing one after another from 4 boat ramps.

The renewal of “It’s a Small World” in 2018

“It’s a Small World” existed in Tokyo Disneyland since the park was opened and no Disney Characters showed up in the attraction then. However, a large renovation completed in 2018 at the 35th anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland, and now you can meet many Disney characters in the ride.

The Disney characters you can meet

"Peter Pan" of It's a Small World
Peter Pan and Wendy in “It’s a Small World”

About 40 Disney characters from 18 movies were added to “It’s a Small World” at the renewal. Here’s the whole list. Can you find your favorite characters?

  • Anna, Elsa, Olaf from “FROZEN”
  • Cinderella, Prince Charming from “CINDERELLA”
  • Alice, The White Rabbit from “ALICE IN WONDERLAND”
  • Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Tinker Bell from “PETER PAN”
  • Merida, Child Bear from “BRAVE”
  • Marie from “THE ARISTOCATS”
  • Rapunzel, Pascal from “TANGLED”
  • Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket from “PINOCCHIO”
  • Hercules, Pegasus from “HERCULES”
  • Mulan, Cri-Kee, Mushu from “MULAN”
  • Mowgli, Baloo from “THE JUNGLE BOOK”
  • Jasmine, Aladdin from “ALADDIN”
  • Simba, Pumbaa, Timon from “THE LION KING”
  • Donald Duck, José Carioca, Panchito Pistoles from “THE THREE CABALLEROS”
  • Lilo, Stitch from “LILO & STITCH”
  • Moana, Pua, Heihei from “MOANA”
  • Nemo, Dory, Marlin from “FINDING NEMO”
  • Ariel, Flounder from “THE LITTLE MERMAID”

I think it’s difficult to find all characters just by riding once, because they appear on both sides of the boat. I would like to share tips to find your favorite characters, later in this article!

Rare characters only in Tokyo Disneyland!

Moana, Pua and Heihei in “It’s a Small Wrold”

Disney Characters can also be seen in “It’s Small World” ride in Hong Kong and Anaheim Disneyland. However, the characters listed below can only be seen in Tokyo Disneyland.

  • Anna, Elsa, Olaf from “FROZEN”
  • Merida, Child Bear from “BRAVE”
  • Rapunzel, Pascal from “TANGLED”
  • Hercules, Pegasus from “HERCULES”
  • Moana, Pua, Heihei from “MOANA”

Which side of the boat should you sit?

Do you think it’s the same? Well “No”, if there are characters you definitely want to meet. You can refer to the list below to learn which side your favorite characters will appear.

  • < Right-hand side>Anna, Elsa, Olaf from “FROZEN”
  • < Right-hand side>Cinderella, Prince Charming from “CINDERELLA”
  • <Left-hand side>Alice, The White Rabbit from “ALICE IN WONDERLAND”
  • <Left-hand side>Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Tinker Bell from “PETER PAN”
  • <Left-hand side>Merida, Child Bear from “BRAVE”
  • < Right-hand side>Marie from “THE ARISTOCATS”
  • < Right-hand side>Rapunzel, Pascal from “TANGLED”
  • <Left-hand side>Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket from “PINOCCHIO”
  • < Right-hand side>Hercules, Pegasus from “HERCULES”
  • < Right-hand side>Mulan, Cri-Kee, Mushu from “MULAN”
  • <Left-hand side>Mowgli, Baloo from “THE JUNGLE BOOK”
  • <Left-hand side>Jasmine, Aladdin from “ALADDIN”
  • < Right-hand side>Simba, Pumbaa, Timon from “THE LION KING”
  • < Right-hand side>Donald Duck, José Carioca, Panchito Pistoles from “THE THREE CABALLEROS”
  • <Left-hand side>Lilo, Stitch from “LILO & STITCH”
  • < Right-hand side>Moana, Pua, Heihei from “MOANA”
  • < Right-hand side>Nemo, Dory, Marlin from “FINDING NEMO”
  • <Left-hand side>Ariel, Flounder from “THE LITTLE MERMAID”

The list is in the order of appearance, meaning that you may be able to find all Disney Characters by one ride if you have this list in your mind.

"Cinderella" of It's a Small World

My daughter’s favorite character is Cinderella. And she rides on the right-hand side to watch Cinderella first. Then she moves to the left-hand side to watch Ariel.

Having the amazing view of “It’s a Small World” all to yourself

Because there are few guests at night, boats could be empty at that time. If you can ride a boat only with yourselves, you can get a nice clear view. When my daughter and I rode only by ourselves, she was very glad to see Disney Characters on both sides. She was very busy seeing all of them. If you are going to the Parks at night, it’s worth taking a chance!

The beautiful architecture of “It’s a Small World”

The exterior of “It’s a Small World” is a masterpiece of modern art, and there is an abundant talent behind the scenes responsible for this artistic architecture.

Who designed “It’s a Small World”?

“It’s a Small World” was produced by the legendary Disney artist, Mary Blair. She is a genius who created the combinations of these vibrant colors and shapes! Using many colors tend to be a mess, but her arts are sophisticated and fashionable. I wish I had a sense like her. There was an exhibition of her works in the MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART TOKYO in 2009. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about her at that time, and didn’t go there. But I can see her works in this book!

The mini-show at the exterior of “It’s a Small World”

It's a Small World Clock

There is a mechanical clock on its exterior, named “It’s a Small World Clock”. There’s a small show every 15 minutes and you can see the children dolls from the world, coming out of the clock and marching. Because it moves every 15minutes, you will probably realize the show when you are walking in Fantasyland. Also, the clock stands out in Fantasyland, so I sometimes use this place as a meeting location to join with my company.

Christmas version of It’s a Small World

Very Mery Holiday of It's a Small World

There was a Christmas version of “It’s a Small World”, but unfortunately, it ended in 2014. I not sure why, but I wish the Christmas version will revive in the future.

The Background Music of “It’s a Small World”

I’m sure many people know the song that is played in the attraction. The name of the song is also “It’s a small world”. The melody and lyrics of this song is very simple and easy to remember. My daughter loves singing this song.

Who made the song “It’s a Small World”?

Picture of It's a Small World

“It’s a Small World” was written and composed by The Sherman Brothers. The Sherman Brothers are a Disney legend and their songs are used in many Disney movies like, “Mary Poppins”, “The Jungle Book”, and the “Winnie the Pooh”. A documentary film about the Sherman Brothers can be found in Disney+ and you can learn about all of their pieces of music and the history of Disney films.

The Japanese lyrics

In the attraction, the song “It’s a Small World” is sung in several languages including Japanese. Here I will introduce the Japanese lyrics and it’s meanings.

Sekai juu doko da te (Wherever in the world you are)

Waraii ali namida ali (There are tears and laughters)

Min na sorezore tasukeau (People can help each other)

Chiisana sekai (In this small world)

Sekai wa semai(It’s a small world)

Sekai wa onaji(We live in the same place)

Sekai wa marui(We can cooperate with each other)

Tada hitotsu(In this only world)

Original song by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Translated by Kazuko Wakaya

Quite interesting when comparing with the original English lyrics, isn’t it? “Sekai” means “the world” in Japanese and it appears a few time’s in the song. Maybe you will notice the word when you are riding on this attraction.

Worlds big hit Disney songs arranged in “It’s a Small World”

"Frozen" of It's a Small World

You can also hear other songs in “It’s a Small World”. For example, when you get near Elsa, you can hear “Let It Go”. When you come near other Disney Characters, you can hear songs related to their movies. You have to concentrate on your eyes and ears so you won’t miss anything!

“Kawaii” goods of “It’s a Small World”

“Kawaii” is Japanese and means so cute. After the renovation, some goods are newly released, and I want to share some of them.

  1. Chocolate $8
  2. Face towel $14
  3. Paper Craft $15
  4. Boat Figure $18
  5. Smartphone Case $31
  6. Doll House $17

“Kawaii!!”, aren’t they? The illustration of goods were drawn by a Disney Artist who took over Mary Blair. I have a face towel and it’s fluffy nice to use. If you visit Tokyo Disney Resort, please check it.


I shared the fascinating facts of “It’s a Small World” in this post. My daughter also likes this attraction, so we ride it many times whenever we go to the parks, and we never get tired of it. There is magic to attract adults and children. Now the parks are closed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. If the parks reopen, I would like to ride “It’s a Small World” first. If I find something new about “It’s a Small World”, I will report it in another post.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave a comment!

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We appreciate your Comments!

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    • YurikoYuriko says:

      Bun Hairstyles, thank you so much for leaving a comment! I’m so happy to know that you are enjoying my articles. My updates are less frequent since I can’t go to the parks as I used to because of the coronavirus pandemic, but I’m still willing to share useful information, and I hope you will enjoy my future updates. I wish you good luck too!