I’m sure the above is not something you need to question if you’ve sat through Disneyland’s Small World ride in either its new or old forms. We all know it’s a small world; we all know that all the people in the world are represented; we all know that everybody’s cute, singing oh so happy. What you/we might not know are some of these interesting particulars.
Like that in each of the rooms there exist Disney characters: Lilo and Stitch in the island/Hawaiian area, Aladdin in the Arabian world and so on and so forth. Is the world Disney or is Disney the world? And just what is the relationship between the Orientalist fantasy of Aladdin and whatever we may claim Disney(land) is?
And again, what of the happy warnings in the beginning that rotate between English to French to Spanish to English to Japanese to Spanish to English to German to Spanish and on ad infinum. Obviously that says something about the French, Japanese and German visitors, dying to hear the message about keeping their arms and legs inside the tram as well as those visitors that don’t get a personalized message. But it also says so much about the relationship between English and Spanish in a park, and corner of the country, that is indebted to Spanish speaking workers.
So what type of world are we in again? This time let’s not just call it small, or fun, or even troubled, but perhaps complicated.