“it’s a small response”

Furor over changes to Disneyland’s “it’s a small world” attraction have not gone unnoticed at Imagineering headquarters. This morning, we are going to say we received this e-mail from Penny Pincher, a supposed Imagineering insider:

Recent controversy regarding updates to Disneyland’s “it’s a small world” attraction has blown all out of proportion, largely because it ignores several important facts. The first, and most important, is simple accounting.

Disney measures the value of an attraction by its CPG, or “Cost Per Guest.” An attraction’s daily CPG is calculated by averaging the annual operating and maintenance cost of the attraction and dividing by the number of guests who experienced the attraction on a given day. For example, the Main Street fire engine costs, on average, $800/day to operate, so on a day when it transports 480 guests its CPG is $1.67 (which seems high, until you remember that the fire engine is often removed from attraction service to respond to emergencies all over the Disneyland Resort.) Indiana Jones is an expensive attraction but handles many guests, so its CPG is $.27. The Pooh attraction’s CPG is $143.95.

What about “it’s a small world”? Everyone agrees that this attraction is underperforming. Its queue almost never reaches the hub any more. In researching this response, I stood outside the attraction all day yesterday and noted that not a single guest entered “it’s a small world” — so when we calculate its CPG we have to divide by zero and get infinity, making it the most expensive-to-operate attraction in the park. Granted, the attraction was closed yesterday for refurbishment, but my point stands.

I also want to address many of the unsubstantiated rumors being circulated about the refurbishment. It’s not true that the attraction is being updated with characters from the upcoming “it’s a small world” movie. Those changes will be part of a 2011 refurbishment. It is not true that a scene with a hatchet-wielding bride is being added. That idea was cut (for budgetary reasons) more than a week ago. It’s not true that the attraction is getting a recorded soundtrack. The “it’s a small world” song will continue to be sung live by an off-stage chorus of children, just as it has always been.

One thing that nobody has mentioned is that an interactive element is being added to the attraction. When “iasw” reopens later this year, every seat in every boat will have its own studio-quality corded microphone so guests can sing along with the children of the world! Guests will be encouraged to sing in their native language, and the resulting chorus will be broadcast from speakers on the outside of the attraction for the enjoyment of all.

In closing, I want to point out to all of you who are whining about “iasw” being of historical value that Walt Disney himself had nothing good to say about the attraction. At least not recently. So, please, stop the whining and let us get back to work.

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