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New Character Experience, ‘it’s a small world’ Update at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 30th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Before we dive into the weekend, there are a few quick updates to share out of Magic Kingdom Park to end the week. First is a new character experience — a “play and greet” with characters Rapunzel and Flynn Rider at the park’s Fairytale Garden. Beginning Friday, October 15, you’ll be able to interact with both of the stars from the upcoming Disney film “Tangled.”

The Rapunzel and Flynn Rider experience will replace the current show, “Storytime with Belle” at Fairytale Garden. The final “Storytime with Belle” show will be September 12.

And some of you may have already heard about some downtime scheduled for “it’s a small world.” The attraction will be closed for refurbishment this Sunday, August 1 through Friday, October 22.

We’ll post more details on both of these updates in the future. And now, let’s start the weekend.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Tammy from PA on July 30th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I am truly going to miss Storytime with Belle… Had wonderful experiences when watching (and being in) the show… I wonder if they will have a show for the new Disney characters there… Hmmm. :)


Alaina on July 30th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I can’t believe they’re getting rid of Storytime with Belle :( disappointment.


Jane on July 30th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Will Rapunzel and Flynn be at Disneyland as well?


Brodie on July 30th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

They won’t be using all that downtime to add the movie character to it’s a small world, will they?


Rozi on July 30th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

It will be sad to see Storytime with Bell Leave :(
Is the Small World getting the cool Disney dolls like at Disneyland? Mabye starting outdoors.
Magic Kingdom will be so cool!


Emily on July 30th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

OMG! You know how you scttared the Disney Characters into the IASW in Diseyland??? PLEASE TELL ME YOU GUYS ARE ADDING DISNEY CHARACTERS IN THE ONE AT DISNEYWORLD!!!!!!!!!! 😀 That would explain the long refurishment and I’ve been waiting 4 Disney characters to be in the ride since the one in HK Disneyland opened and even before that.

And the “Tangled” experience looks fun. :)


COLLEEN on July 30th, 2010 at 7:31 pm

It’s a small world is one of my favorite rides. I am glad that it will not be closed over Christmas when I am coming down.


David from NJ on July 30th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Ughh! I’m taking my soon to be 3 year old daughter for the first time in Aug and she was looking forward to It’s a Small World.

Me and my wife are going for our anniversary in Oct and we will miss it again, lol.


Laura on July 30th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Very sorry to hear that. My daughter was looking forward to Story Time with Belle- when we arrive on Sept. 16th. Rapunzel will not have the same appeal….


stacy on July 30th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

My daughter is very upset that its a small world is down we only get to come every 5 or so years and this was her favorite attraction and she showed it to her brother to see and now we hear that the time we are there it wont be possible to see it very disappointing



Melissa on July 30th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Oh, my daughter will be SO sad that Storytime with Belle will be gone before our trip in October – this has been one of her favorites. Hopefully the characters from Tangled will be new favorites, but it’s so hard for the little ones to be excited about the characters before the movie is out.


Kris from IL on July 30th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Just out of curiosity, what are they doing to “It’s a Small World”? I thought the whole ride was just re-done in the last couple years? I was just there in February, and it seemed great to me!


Claudia on July 30th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

NOOOOOO Why would they take out storytime with Belle??? no fear!! that is one of my favorites things to watch at the Magic Kingdom I am sooo mad!! they can just make the sets for Rapunzel instead of the stepsisters or just find somewhere else like they did with Ariel and Tiana.


Gina on July 30th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

What a disappointment. First they change the name of the Carousel and now this. Why not just leave well enough alone? Storytime with Belle will surely be missed. I don’t think Rapunzel is going to have the same appeal as Belle. So sad.


Ryan on July 30th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I am very upset that it’s a small world will be closed when I am there. It is on of my favorite attractions. What are they doing to it?


Alysse from MI on July 30th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Hey everyone–Storytime with Belle is not disappearing forever. Keep updated with the new Fantasyland expansion. Belle is getting her very own castle, and will tell her stories within the library of the castle. It’s going to be a great addition to fantasyland, and she won’t be so far removed from us.


Diane on July 30th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

I am so sad that We will miss It’s a small world when we are there it September. My kids sing the song all the time. :(


Shaun on July 30th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

So where can you meet Belle in the Magic Kingdom?


Tara on July 30th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I wish they would just leave It’s a Small World the way it is. It is one of my favorite rides and never gets old. I feel the magic and history will be taken away by adding disney characters. I guess I’ll find out next year when I go!


julie on July 30th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

OMG, I seriously have tears in my eyes. I am taking my soon to be 4 yr old to WDW for her bday in late Sept. SHE LOVES Belle, we were so looking forword to seeing Story time with Belle, Rapunzel who seriously knows Rupunzel,and its a small world not open when we are there..soooo disapointed, I guess thats what i get for booking during “value season”..ugh


Kimberly on July 30th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Wow. First I heard about It’s a Small World being down. Then Ariels grotto. Now Belle. What is left to do with my two year old in September? Grrrr….


Tere from AL on July 30th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I am truly sadened and will miss Belle very much but I will love to see Rapunzel and Flynn.


Christina on July 30th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Aww,how sad, I never got to experience Storytime with Belle. :(


Barbara on July 30th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

We’re leaving in a week. My daughter is devastated that we won’t get to see It’s a Small World!


Christine from DE on July 30th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Oh, no…coming to WDW on August 9th and I’m not going to see Small World???!!!! That’s one of my favorites and my husband has never seen it :( Oh well. Seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade will make up for it!


Philip on July 30th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I was just going to say exactly what Alysse just said. The upcoming “Enchanted Tales with Belle” attraction in the Fantasyland expansion is going to be a significantly updated version of the existing Storytime with Belle, so it would be repetitive to have to all-too-similar experiences in the same area.

Gina, the “Why not just leave well enough alone?” mentality is what REALLY goes against Walt’s vision of wanting the parks to grow, change, evolve, etc. as time passes, like permanent works in progress (“Something that’ll never be finished”, as he once said).

Also, Tara, if the Disney characters were to be added to Small World, it would not take ANY of the magic and history of the ride. If you’ve seen pictures or videos of the Disney character additions at the Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland versions, you’ll see that they were done very tastefully and that they blend in very nicely. So far, however, WDW and WDI have already stated that the Disney character additions will not be happening.

Speaking of Small World, I’m still hoping for the holiday overlay to be installed, since all the other Disney parks already change their Small World attractions over the Xmas season. Therefore, WDW must follow suit.

Please, WDW. Give us Small World Holiday, give us back the Country Bear Xmas Show, give us back the Lights of Winter, etc. this year and we’ll all have a very merry holiday this year for sure. And we’ll be back on the right path to putting WDW’s holiday season offerings back on par with those of the other Disney parks around the world.


Philip on July 30th, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Oh, and Shaun, you’ll still be able to meet Belle inside the Toontown Hall of Fame in the soon-to-be-defunct Mickey’s Toontown Fair.


Julina from FL on July 30th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Shaun, You can meet Belle over in Toontown right now in the Hall of Fame Tent. Usually Cinderella and Princess Aurora are there with her also. Pixie Hollow is also in the same area if you were wanting to see the Fairies.

I really hope that they add the Disney Characters in IASW because that was my favourite part in Disneyland (even have the DL shirt with the Disney characters and the IASW characters on it).


Harrison on July 30th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

I’m not sure that this should be replaced. :(


Andrea from NY on July 30th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

I have been visiting Disney Parks since my children were small….from 1995 to present and it is quite funny because when we are visiting and are walking along the strip where ITS A SMALL WORLD IS there is not a word between any of us…my children just walk to the entrance..they KNOW there is no question….WE ARE RIDING…so I am excited (as I am sure they are LOL ) to know that there are new “adventures” to come!!!!!


Alexander on July 30th, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Its a Small World reopens the day we leave! Is there any chance it will open a day or two early for a soft reopening or a preview?


Hale on July 30th, 2010 at 11:56 pm

I hear that the Small World refurbishment is mainly going to be switching the exit and the queue? That sounds like a good idea.

I’d be fine without the added Disney characters. It’s such a great ride, anyway!


Valerie from NJ on July 31st, 2010 at 12:05 am

For those looking to meet Belle, she appears in the France pavillion at Epcot’s World Showcase, sometimes with the Beast :)

In ten trips, we’d yet to see Belle’s Storytime :( but I’m assuming that she will be in the new Fantasyland expansion. Hope that they find a temporary place to meet her in the MK before then.

Hoping that we’ll see some characters in it’s a small world a la Disneyland?? :)


Richard from MA on July 31st, 2010 at 6:09 am

Went to Disney 2 years ago and It’s a small World was closed for renovations, now going in Oct and it’s gonna be closed again. That’s really a bummer for my kids.


Steven from NY on July 31st, 2010 at 7:45 am

Walt vowed the Parks will never be completed “as long as there is imagination left in the world,” so DON’T curb your enthusiasm, Imagineers! Go for it!


Judith from NJ on July 31st, 2010 at 7:51 am

We are coming November 1st glad to hear that Its a Small World will be up and running by then, my grandchildren would be so disappointed if it was not.


Lizzy on July 31st, 2010 at 8:03 am

What? I can’t believe story time with Belle is closing down she is my favourite Princess and I wanted to take my future children to see it as it looked so wonderful when I was there. Is there any chance of it opening again? :(


Sally from MB on July 31st, 2010 at 8:45 am

Will Lady Tremaine and the ugly step sisters visit Rapunzel? I always love seeing
them and the reaction of the children when they first see Lady Tremaine!


Veronica on July 31st, 2010 at 8:46 am

Ditto what Alysse said. Storytime with Belle is not leaving forever. It’s simply moving into the Beast’s castle when the Fantasyland expansion is finished. You can meet Belle in the Toontown Hall of Fame Tent. When that closes (because of the expansion) then you can meet Belle in the Town Square Exposition Hall.


Kathryn from PA on July 31st, 2010 at 8:46 am

Don’t worry! Like Alyssa said, the new Fantasyland will have plenty of Beauty and the Beast. Julie, you can take your daughter over to the Studios and see the performance of Beauty and the Beast live – it’s great. And as far as Rapunzel goes, you could start reading the story to your 4 yr. old before you get there so that you know the story. Check out the new Disney books online site (can’t remember the www. right now) and they might have a Rapunzel story. And instead of going on Small World, go on Peter Pan a few more times. It’s all good! Have a great trip…


Ashley from NC on July 31st, 2010 at 9:26 am

I’m SOOO disappointed that Storytimr with Belle will be gone when my family and I visit in late September:( She is year olds favorite princess. I know that she will be able to meet her elsewhere in the parks, but I was really excited for her to see this. I wish they could’ve waited a few extra weeks and left Belle a little longer.


Michael on July 31st, 2010 at 10:15 am

I just told my 5 year old son that we’d miss Small World this year on our trip. He gave me a hug and told me not to be sad, since we’ve seen it before and we’ll see it another time when we go back to the parks. What a kid, haha. He said we could ride Buzz an extra 5 times to make up for it, since that’s his favorite ride at MK. Belle will get a nice castle, so this is good news for Belle fans. No reason to get upset. There’s never a “good” time for a refurb, someone is always wanting to see a ride on their special trip to the parks. Let’s be glad there’s no haunted mansion or space mountain refurb going on. =)


Tony on July 31st, 2010 at 2:22 pm

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not add Disney Characters to the Small World in Florida. I have not liked what that their addition has done to the Small World in Disneyland.


Christie on July 31st, 2010 at 4:25 pm

So glad to get this info early! We’ll get to see Belle’s storytime one last time in August. But what a bummer that we’ll miss Small World. Thanks for the update!


Morgan from FL on July 31st, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Wow! That’s exciting for “It’s a Small World”, but sad for Belle. :( But that’s okay because I am VERY excited for all the new additions to Fantasyland and I can’t wait! Is adding Disney character type dolls the only thing they are doing to refurbish “It’s a Small World”?


Dona from NC on August 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

Will Rapunzel be signing autographs..????


Michelle on August 1st, 2010 at 11:31 am

I am excited about the new Beauty and the Beast experience that will be coming with the Fantasyland expansion. However the timing seems bad. I realize that “Tangled” is being released to movie theaters in November however, isn’t Beauty and the Beast on DVD being released from the Disney vault in the Fall? That will create a whole new audience for those characters as some younger kids may not have seen the movie yet, seems like it would be a good time to add more of those characters not less. I was under the impression that “Tangled” was geared more towards the boys since it is from Flynn’s point of view so it would seem a more action oriented attraction around those characters would be appropriate. Just my thoughts, looking forward to learning more about all the new stuff coming. Change while frustrating is good, it keeps life exciting.


Jennifer on August 1st, 2010 at 5:25 pm

HEARTBROKEN! Ever since we booked our trip for December my 3.5 year old daughter has been telling everyone she was going so Belle could read her a story. Don’t know how to break it to her that she won’t be.


Nathaniel on August 1st, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I am sad because I go there in 3 years but I have one in disneyland


Jessica from NH on August 2nd, 2010 at 9:00 am

Jennifer, she may not be able to read your daughter, you could book a meal at Akershus in Norway, EPCOT and at least meet Belle in her big yellow dress and get a few great pics with her!! Just a suggestion!