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It's a Big World After All
October 29, 2007 4:26 PM   Subscribe

It's a Big World After All. The Disneyland Small World ride is going to be closed for 10 months in 2008 due to refurbishing. The main reason for the refurbishing: the ride isn't built to accommodate today's average passengers' body weights.
posted by Bugbread (64 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Irony.
posted by MythMaker at 4:36 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, from the same site.

May I please have two Zetta Macs, extra cheese, and and a Yotta-sized fries? Yes, I brought my wheelbarrow.
posted by loquacious at 4:37 PM on October 29, 2007


Big boned.
posted by tkchrist at 4:37 PM on October 29, 2007


I imagine the result in this thread will be much like what happens when one is subjected to "It's a Small World" for hours at a time.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:38 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just to play Devil's Advocate, but if average height were to increase, average weight probably would as well, but really we're just a nation of Hurf Durfers.
posted by drezdn at 4:39 PM on October 29, 2007


Increasingly, overweighted boats get to certain points in the ride and bottom out, becoming stuck in the flume.

scraaaaaaaapeclunk.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:41 PM on October 29, 2007


The ride monitors attempt to leave empty seats on many boats to compensate for the hefty, but this routinely antagonizes the hundreds of paying customers waiting in line. When a boat does bottom out, a long line of other boats backs up behind it, their passengers slowly going mad from listening to the ride’s theme song.

The ride monitors must then track down the stuck boat and attempt tactfully to help a rider or two to exit at one of the emergency platforms, which the riders in question do not always deal with graciously.


That sounds like a fun job.
posted by SBMike at 4:41 PM on October 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Average height has incrased by less than an inch among adult Americans in the last 40 years, derzdn.
posted by Justinian at 4:42 PM on October 29, 2007


slowly going mad from listening to the ride’s theme song

The administration insists that this is not torture. It is just Extreme Music Appreciation.
posted by localroger at 4:43 PM on October 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's more than 40 years old. I'm sure that's not all they're going to do to it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:43 PM on October 29, 2007


I wonder how the average weight of likely Disney visitors compares to non-likely Disney visitors.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:44 PM on October 29, 2007


I wonder how the average weight of likely Disney visitors compares to non-likely Disney visitors.

Or to Metafilter users.
posted by fake at 4:47 PM on October 29, 2007


Is Your State Overweight? -- How obesity rates have climbed over the past 20 years.
posted by ericb at 4:47 PM on October 29, 2007


Oh boy, a post about fat people!

I figure to get the full impact we'll need a few LOLFATSOs, a guy who'll quote Alanis, someone who will angrily point out that a traffic jam when you're already late isn't irony, one or two "I'm fat! It's a thyroid condition! Not all fat people are lazy slobs!" complaints, a handful of people explaining that it's their duty to shame fat people in order to help them get skinny, a random derail into how fat a girl could be and still elicit the "I'd hit it" response, a "Yeah, with a stick maybe" guy, a few girls talking about their poor body-image issues, people reassuring them that they're not fat, we're talking about other people, and someone saying that Hitler also hated fat people, and is that really a list we want to be on.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:47 PM on October 29, 2007 [21 favorites]


it's a world of burgers
a world of beers
it's a world of french fries
with ketchup smears
there's so much that we eat
but you see it ain't sweet
it's a fat world after all
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:49 PM on October 29, 2007 [18 favorites]


Fun Job

Working on the hotdog stand just outside It's a Small World at Disneyland Paris, for a year, because you thought you might get the chance to improve your French. When it was quiet, all you could hear, seeping out from the ride was the tune, quietly, just enough so you could hear it. Day after day after day....

Not me, a friend. I think she's beginning to recover.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:50 PM on October 29, 2007


"a random derail into how fat a girl could be and still elicit the 'I'd hit it' response"

I'll take this one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:50 PM on October 29, 2007


thehmsbeagle writes "I figure to get the full impact we'll need a few LOLFATSOs, a guy who'll quote Alanis, someone who will angrily point out that a traffic jam when you're already late isn't irony, one or two 'I'm fat! It's a thyroid condition! Not all fat people are lazy slobs!' complaints, a handful of people explaining that it's their duty to shame fat people in order to help them get skinny, a random derail into how fat a girl could be and still elicit the 'I'd hit it' response, a 'Yeah, with a stick maybe' guy, a few girls talking about their poor body-image issues, people reassuring them that they're not fat, we're talking about other people, and someone saying that Hitler also hated fat people, and is that really a list we want to be on."

Well, hopefully, that comment clears our quota for all of those.
posted by Bugbread at 4:51 PM on October 29, 2007


Meanwhile, I'm just gonna go ride Indiana Jones over and over. Mostly because of saying that.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:53 PM on October 29, 2007


I'm sorry, but we also need a male user to reassure women that he loves their bodies even if they are stuck in the middle of the Small World ride at Disneyland.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:54 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm fat, but my objection to Disney rides isn't their allowances for weight -- in fact, I can quite comfortably ride all of their rides at over 300 lbs. with no special allowances made other than (as is mentioned in this article) not having 12 people on an It's a Small World ride -- it's their allowances for height. Sweet Jesus, some of those rides practically put my knees next to my chest while simultaneously slamming my shins into hard, unforgiving plastic. I'm glad they're compensating for greater weights, but I have to say, I'd be much happier if they'd make rides that could accommodate the height of both a 9 year old and a 6' tall adult. 6' is NOT THAT TALL, there's no reason that getting into a theme park ride should require bizarre contortions of my knees.
posted by InnocentBystander at 4:57 PM on October 29, 2007


HMS Beagle, you left out "fat yaoi fangirls". Can't forget them.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:57 PM on October 29, 2007


I'm sure that's not all they're going to do to it.

Oh totally. They are going to use this as an opportunity to move Walt's cryo-chamber, better hide the entrance to the Hellmouth, and re-master the song so that the subliminal sounds of demons frolicking are less detectable, while still retaining it's infernal power.

You know, for the kids.
posted by quin at 4:58 PM on October 29, 2007


Glandular.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:02 PM on October 29, 2007


It's a world of thin
And a world of fat
And a world of many a LOL Cat
There's so much that we hurf
That's it's time we all durf
It's MetaFilter, after all
posted by fandango_matt at 5:02 PM on October 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


stuck in the flume

Story of my life, man.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:03 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The easiest and cheapest solution to this problem is to not go to Disneyland in the first place.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:08 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


fandango_matt writes "I'm sorry, but we also need a male user to reassure women that he loves their bodies even if they are stuck in the middle of the Small World ride at Disneyland."

Already taken care of:

thehmsbeagle writes "a random derail into how fat a girl could be and still elicit the "I'd hit it" response"

mr_crash_davis responds ''I'll take this one."
posted by Bugbread at 5:09 PM on October 29, 2007


I figure to get the full impact we'll need a few LOLFATSOs, a guy who'll quote Alanis, someone who will angrily point out that a traffic jam when you're already late isn't irony, one or two "I'm fat! It's a thyroid condition! Not all fat people are lazy slobs!" complaints, a handful of people explaining that it's their duty to shame fat people in order to help them get skinny, a random derail into how fat a girl could be and still elicit the "I'd hit it" response, a "Yeah, with a stick maybe" guy, a few girls talking about their poor body-image issues, people reassuring them that they're not fat, we're talking about other people, and someone saying that Hitler also hated fat people, and is that really a list we want to be on.

I was looking forward to all that, but now it is not fun anymore. Bloody SPOILERS!
posted by lenny70 at 5:27 PM on October 29, 2007


Disney is among my many obsessions (I'm not Cory Doctorow, but I'm the one he's writing all those Disney posts for. Keep it up, Cory!) so I can put this claims in a bit
of perspective:

The details of this article were lifted from this article on Miceage, a fan-run Disney news and opinion website. Miceage is usually reliable for Disneyland/Walt Disney World news, but it's also been known to throw out inflammatory articles (such as Disney is Going to Sell Itself to Someone Awful and There's Nothing You Can Do About It!) to increase the readership as well as the you'll-never-be-able-to-substantiate-this-claim-but-ain't-it-amusing? fact or two.

The original article points out that the building itself is 41 years old and the boats and infrastructure were designed and built 44 years ago. It was due for a major refurbishment, and that this need was accelerated by the ever-expanding waistline of your average American is a notion just amusing enough that it's better than whatever the truth of the matter is, and will be reported as fact in its place.

If this is the truth, well, you'll never get confirmation of it beyond this article and maybe, if you catch them at the right time, an overworked castmember, so feel free to revel in the smug satisfaction that somewhere, someone fatter than you is stuck in a hairpin turn somewhere between Mexico and Ireland, forced to confront their morbid obesity while the children just sing and sing and sing.
posted by unsupervised at 5:29 PM on October 29, 2007 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: Reveling in the smug satisfaction that somewhere, someone fatter than you is stuck in a hairpin turn between Mexico and Ireland, forced to confront their morbid obesity while the children just sing and sing and sing.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:31 PM on October 29, 2007 [8 favorites]


I have to agree with unsupervised. I used to work as a ride operator (Adventureland/Frontierland) in the late 80s, and park gossip is a fountain of half-truths and, well, gossip.

If all you were worried about was fatties on the ride, the expedient thing to do would be to merely replace the boats or run it with a half-inch more water in the flume. But maintenance is a bitch (lots of animatronics) and Small World is no longer the cute, attention-grabbing draw it used to be (remember, the Enchanted Tiki Room used to be the hit of the park, too). Better to just gut it and replace it with something that can sell tickets and soak up 2,000 riders an hour at one of the far ends of the park, helping keep the walkways clear during peak hours.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:43 PM on October 29, 2007


It's a world of fast food, bagels (mit schmear!),
It's a world of corndogs, washed down with beer,
As our shapes tend toward pear —
In XL underwear —
There's no more "small" after all.

CHORUS:
Supersize me at the mall;
Venti latte, or I'll brawl.
"I'm not heavy, I'm just tall!"
(It's a form of urban sprawl.)
posted by rob511 at 5:45 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


> Sweet Jesus, some of those rides practically put my knees next to my chest while
> simultaneously slamming my shins into hard, unforgiving plastic.

Are you sure that's Disney? Sounds like economy class on USAir.
posted by jfuller at 5:45 PM on October 29, 2007


Best Post Title of 2007™
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:49 PM on October 29, 2007


Disney is Going to Sell Itself to Someone Awful and There's Nothing You Can Do About It!

Disney is being bought by Something Awful? My money had always been on 4chan.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:56 PM on October 29, 2007


“It's more than 40 years old. I'm sure that's not all they're going to do to it.”

Jeezus you have a filthy mind.
oh, wait, you were serious
...Jeezus I have a filthy mind.

Yeah, dressing up another “U so fat” article because it’s linked to “small” thing.
Of course, Disney doesn’t gofer the healthy alternatives in snacks. Bit frustrating for me, I actually enjoy healthy food, just to y’know, eat it. I routinely have to smuggle stuff into places that don’t have healthy food. Weird. Like people are put off because you like grapes more than grape-aide or bananas instead of banana flavored candy. I just like bananas, so? I need to have it covered in chocolate or corn syrup and sugar to have a good time? In the future, everywhere will be disneyfied. They’ll take your stuff away man, and make you eat ‘fun’ food. It’ll be like marijuana, not too illegal, but don’t go selling those carrots. Here, have a frozen chocolate covered banana.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:07 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Disney is being bought by Something Awful? My money had always been on 4chan

4Chin, if the article is to be believed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:26 PM on October 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


They're just prepping for "It's A Small World: The Ride: The Movie". Keira Knightley is already dieting in preparation for the role.
posted by ColdChef at 6:31 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Here, have a frozen chocolate covered banana.”

I like bananas, but I really like frozen, chocolate covered bananas. Unfortunately, my freezer doesn't stock them, even after numerous complaints to my landlord.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:44 PM on October 29, 2007


Are you sure that's Disney? Sounds like economy class on USAir.

Or a Broadway theatre! I'm almost 5'7", and some of the older houses have my knees up against the seat in front of me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:57 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


> I have to admit, when I was a kid, I would always wonder why they'd leave seats open. That makes more sense now.
posted by ninjew at 7:15 PM on October 29, 2007


No no no NO NO No No No NO!!!

I don't believe for a second that Disney is closing this ride down just to fatty-proof the boats. C'mon, a ten month refurbishment?! They're planning on gutting the thing, or at least "bringing it up-to-date", which would probably be even worse. Small World, despite its reputation as the most saccharin ride at Disneyland, is one of the trippiest, most horrifying, pant-into-a-paper-baggiest examples of American mindfuckery you're likely to find anywhere. Those poseurs at Burning Man will never create a work of art that even comes close. Aside from being a museum of national stereotypes barely current at the beginning of the 20th century, let alone the 1960's, it's the closest thing to actually taking a tour of the alchohol frayed mind of a graphic design/colorist genius, in this case the great Mary Blair. Honestly, if I had the money, I'd transfer the whole glorious thing to an underground bunker somewhere in the desert and let it be the last testament to our insane, doomed species for all of eternity.

That is how much I love that damned ride.
posted by maryh at 8:09 PM on October 29, 2007 [17 favorites]


It was originally created for one of the World's Fairs, wasn't it? And then moved to Disneyland afterwards?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:16 PM on October 29, 2007


maryh, you rule!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:22 PM on October 29, 2007


kuujjuarapik, Man, glad I'm not the only one. I have no great love for Disneyland, but I'm now planning a trip to Anaheim just so I can document that masterpiece before the end comes. No mere camera could ever capture the hallucinatory quality of the flat art/animated freaky-ass doll visuals or the droning forced cheerfulness of the Small World mantra, but I fear all SoCalians will suffer a little souldeath if La Blair's vision is allowed to disappear into a shiny fresh 2008 version of global togetherness (and baal help us, what form such a creature would take.)
posted by maryh at 8:47 PM on October 29, 2007


I love that ride too. Except when you realize you can hear the eyes clicking open and closed. That's kind of creepy, and I wouldn't mind if they eliminated that.
posted by padraigin at 9:05 PM on October 29, 2007


Now you've made me want to go through it again, as an adult, on shrooms.
posted by ninjew at 9:16 PM on October 29, 2007


I just wish they handed out .22 pistols at the start of the ride and turned it into a shooting gallery.

Pling-plong-diiing-dong after all...
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

Come to think of it, they did do pretty much that. I'm convinced that everyone's hatred for Small World was the impetus for the Buzz Lightyear ride, which is actually pretty fun.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:29 PM on October 29, 2007


Increasingly, overweighted boats get to certain points in the ride and bottom out, becoming stuck in the flume.

Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets stuck in a water slide? I do.

And the crowd is booing him when the segment is airlifted out of the park – with him still inside it. The look on Homer's face is probably in my personal Top 10 Fave The Simpsons Moments list.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:33 PM on October 29, 2007


Actually, Smedleyman, they offer lots of fruit, yogurt smoothies, veggie sticks, yogurt, and other healthier snacks at the parks now. They're all over the place. They also offer low-calorie lemonade, unsweetened iced tea, sugar-free desserts, ice cream, reduced fat and lighter sweets, and other alternatives to all the sugar and fat.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:47 PM on October 29, 2007


Couldn't they just put up a narrow door at the entrance? "You must be this thin." And then have a wide door leading to a corridor lined with funhouse mirrors to make people think they'e even fatter, and at the end of the corridor have a waiting room (and snack bar!) near the exit, where the rejects would buy and gobble expensive comfort food while they waited for their thinner, better friends and relatives to finish the ride.
posted by pracowity at 10:16 PM on October 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


The ride monitors attempt to leave empty seats on many boats to compensate for the hefty, but this routinely antagonizes the hundreds of paying customers waiting in line. When a boat does bottom out, a long line of other boats backs up behind it, their passengers slowly going mad from listening to the ride’s theme song.

That makes it sound really, really appealing.

I'm chuffed that I've made it through an entire life without ever venturing anywhere near a Disney Facility, or anywhere near the city of Orlando itself. Hell, I don't even want to go to Florida, full stop. If I want to be surrounded by pasty British people on holiday (all moaning about the heat) I can just go to Spain.

I refuse to give DisneyCorp thousands of pounds just so I can stand in queues for days on end.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:36 AM on October 30, 2007


I went to DisneyWorld in Florida ten years ago and managed to avoid going on the Small World ride because that was just too horrible (I still have the song in my head). I was stupendously hung over and sick from drinking beer the night before and that was when I discovered that watermelon is a fantastic cure for hangovers (they were selling it there, actual fresh watermelon cut up into squares! Also, on my one and only trip to the states, I discovered how revolting it was to vomit into a toilet where the water was so close to my mouth! Jaysus, people!) and then I bought an enormous turkey leg which I ate for most of the rest of the day. Watermelon and vast quantities of meat, yum.

Actually, I was pretty underwhelmed by DisneyWorld, but I'm sure I would have loved it if I'd been younger than 30. I still have my Donald Duck boxers though (and amazingly they still fit, although I'm somewhat portlier now *staying on topic fat reference here*).
posted by h00py at 4:24 AM on October 30, 2007


I fear all SoCalians will suffer a little souldeath if La Blair's vision is allowed to disappear into a shiny fresh 2008 version of global togetherness (and baal help us, what form such a creature would take.)

I'm right there with you, maryh. As the fellow said:
"Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds."
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:29 AM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


“they offer lots of fruit, yogurt smoothies, veggie sticks, yogurt, and other healthier snacks at the parks now”

That’s cool. Haven’t been there in a while. Still, the marketing (generally speaking) leans towards this whole “fun” food concept. Like EB liking chocolate covered frozen bananas. Certainly they taste good, no disputing that.
But there’s an association there (generally speaking) with having fun that is unhealthy. Kinda like what Socrates said about whether you live to eat or eat to live. Some folks HAVE to have the cotton candy and candy corn and so forth as part of the having fun thing. And that concept is sold to them as well.
When I was a kid someone was telling me they went somewhere for the holidays and asked me where I went. I said I was with my family. They went on, as kids will do, to explain how much fun they had as though it was a commodity and qualitatively different and somewhat rueful of merely spending time with one’s family. But it’s the same kind of thing many people do as adults, just more sophisticated. I went here, saw this, etc. etc. - as though experiance is gained through a purchasable symbol rather than just living it. Same deal with food.
I don’t think, given the symbolism of devouring something, that it’s a coincidance many people are fat and media is so pervasive.
Media - in the alliterative Medea who killed and devoured her children - apt.
(Funny, I saw a movie poster for Medea’s Family Reunion and broke out laughing. I pointed to it and asked if that was seriously a movie. Concession stand girl said it was. Made me laugh more. She said she probably didn’t get why I was laughing because I wasn’t in her generation. Made me laugh more, like I’m 2,000 years old. I think people started thinking I was a racist or something. But really even if you don’t know the myth - Euripides? It’s even worse than that tho - I went into a Blockbuster and asked for “The Road Warrior.” Guy had no idea what I was talking about. “New release?” Uh, no. “Who’s in it?” Uh, Mel Gibson...
That’s not a ‘kids today’ lament (although they should stay the hell off my lawn) it’s the trend of cultural revisionism. The references are eradicated and glossed over to mean something else entirely, because if can’t be packaged and sold it’s worthless. And the faster the old stuff is moved out, the faster you can hawk the new stuff. Same deal with food, the base commodity although perfectly nutritious is worthless without some useless apparatus glommed onto it to legitimate eating up resources - why sell a banana for 25 cents when you can sell a frozen chocolate covered banana for $1.75? Why teach anyone about Medea and depths of passion and the human psyche when there’s the vapid Mickey Mouse who is so effortless in understanding? Hell, even the friggin Road Warrior and assless chaps are too complex. That might explain the omission tho’ I mean, say what you will about the assless chaps, you have to be in some shape at least to look good in them. But I digress.)
posted by Smedleyman at 7:53 AM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Yah, I know it's spelled differently)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:37 AM on October 30, 2007


I had the most mind-fucking Small World ride ever the last time I was in Disneyland: About a minute into the ride, the sound system went out, so we spent the next 20 minutes or however long it is floating amid the animatronic vignettes accompanied by nothing but the eerie clacking of the dolls' jaws, gaping and shutting semi-rhythmically, and the clicks of their bodies jerking to and fro. If you think it's creepy with the music, it's downright sinister without it.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:04 PM on October 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


“Also, on my one and only trip to the states, I discovered how revolting it was to vomit into a toilet where the water was so close to my mouth! Jaysus, people!”

Well, I suppose you're comfortably back home where the toilet designers are necessarily cognizant of how important it is to make the vomiting experience after a night of binge drinking as pleasant as possible.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:41 PM on October 30, 2007


Has anyone thought to capture this monstrosity on film? Are there movies of it available some place like YouTube? I'd check myself, but my 300 pound butt is too lazy to surf over there.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:29 PM on October 30, 2007


The last time I was on the Small World ride, it was Grad Night. A lovely young lady and I were smashed on peppermint snapps and spent the ride snogging each other. The only thing I remember about the ride was that it was too short.

I wonder if she'll be at next year's class reunion. mmm, warm happy thoughts
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 9:18 AM on November 1, 2007


*hops off Indy and sprints all the way to fantasy land to bring lazy ass ZM a Mickey Pretzel and a video*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:51 AM on November 1, 2007


So they're improving the accommodations for weight. What about width?

Might this be one of those Grup things, with 30-somethings who refuse to grow up filling boats designed for five-year-olds?
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:11 PM on November 1, 2007


My dear Ethereal Bligh,

It is never pleasant.
posted by h00py at 4:37 AM on November 8, 2007


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