How Disneyland’s Cast Members Brought “it’s a small world” Back To Life
Last month, we here at MickeyBlog reported the news that “it’s a small world” had to shut down at Disneyland and would be closed indefinitely. This was a huge disappointment for Disneyland fans as it would mean the delay of the debut of the beloved “it’s a small world” Holiday overlay.
If you’ve been checking in with us this week, you’ll know by now that the attraction reopened in all of it’s holiday splendor on December 6th, but what you may not know is that it took a lot of work and dedication from Disneyland Cast Members to make it happen.
As Disney told us in a recent blog post, just hours before the attraction was supposed to open for the holidays season a catastrophe happened. It was one that made many Disney-insiders speculate that the attraction would remain closed for the rest of the year. However, with a bit of last-minute rallying from cast members we are so pleased to report that this classic Disneyland ride is up and running!
Jason Tomlin, manager of Ride Control Engineering at Disneyland said, “This attraction means Christmas to the resort, so it gave us something to shoot for.” Tomlin’s team of engineers collaborated with dozens of cast members last month as soon as it was discovered that the underground maintenance room of the attraction’s loading station (which insiders referred to as “the pit”) flooded back on November 10th.
This happened after the water was emptied out of the attraction so that teams could put up the Christmas overlay and then went to refill the attraction. Unfortunately, by the time teams noticed what had happened, nearly all the ride control machinery and electrical equipment used for the ride was submerged in 7 feet of water.
“When I first heard about it, I thought, ‘That can’t be right.’ You had to see it to believe it,” said Joelle Medina, senior project manager for Facilities Asset Management, who coordinated the recovery effort.
But, Disney cast members had a goal in mind, which was to bring “it’s a small world” holiday back in time for the Yuletide Season. With that in mind, a recovery team was assembled with representatives across all key lines of the business. The group worked toward the goal of reopening the attraction in a month. At the time it felt unlikely with the extent of the damage, but that is exactly what happened this week.
However, it was definitely along road to get there. Though cast members make these seemingly insurmountable tasks look manageable, they actually had to pump out more than 200.000 gallons of water from the 57 year old attraction. The area needed to be made safe and then also needed to be evaluated.
There’s even images, which you can see above, of a dehumidifier being lowered by crane to help dry out the underground maintenance room.
Once the dehumidifier was in place, it was up to teams to begin inspecting equipment to determine what parts could be cleaned and salvaged and what needed to be replaced. As you can imagine, with the current climate, this whole process was made even more difficult by global supply chain issues.
Since some of the parts for the attraction were ruined, Disney reached out to “it’s a small world” teams at Disney parks around the world to source parts!
But, in what now can definitely be considered a Christmas miracle, the ride is once again, welcoming back guests with its incredible holiday lights! Cast members that were stationed outside of the attraction for weeks letting disappointed visitors know of the closure are now welcoming back the happy crowds!
“When I shared with a group of cast members that we can now tell guests that the attraction [is reopening], they all lit up in excitement,” said Tyler Carter, production manager of Fantasyland Attractions. “Nobody thought this was possible.”
Join us in giving a HUGE MickeyBlog “Thank You” and applause to all of those Disneyland cast members who worked tirelessly to bring “it’s a small world” Holiday back for 2021!
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