"It's a world of laughter, a world of tears ..." begins the iconic Disney ride, which turned 45 years old in 2011. This app celebrates the ride, captures the magic and provides youngsters with the best souvenir of (or alternative to) a Disney trip that money can buy. These lyrics will be stuck in your head after playing with this app, much like they are after a trip through the famous attraction. But you will also get the same Disney magic in this beautifully made app.
The app is not only solidly made (something true of all Disney apps), but also has a unique interface that makes the app stand out. You can choose to watch in 'sing along' mode with a small ball that bounces over the words as they are sung or simply press 'start' and sit back to enjoy the 'ride'. And it really feels a little bit like the real ride ... taking readers through each of 15 separate scenes. These scenes can also be accessed from a very cool page guide, shaped like a globe.
The pace of the app is quite slow (like the ride), allowing a child to drink in the animated version of the dolls & scenery from the Disney attraction. Impatient listeners can swipe at the page to move the 'ride' along a bit faster. Play time can be as little as 10 minutes with this app, however young children can explore it for much longer, particularly if they have recently been to one of the many Disney parks.
Nice interactive elements are found throughout, including lots of sound effects and words, like laughter, that appear when touching illustrations. Most of the dolls and other aspects of each scene are also lightly animated. Illustrations are adorable, capturing the look and feel of the very detailed attraction. Children who have never even heard of Disney or it's a small world will be as enthralled as those who live and breathe the Disney experience.
Overall, this is an app that represents the very best of the trend toward trans-media, adding to a real-world experience without eclipsing it or just selling it in a repackaged form. This app creates an entirely new experience that builds on the ideas behind the amusement park ride, providing a resource that can be used to build anticipation for a trip to Disney, as a learning tool for cultural appreciation, to extend the magic after a real world trip or just for the inherently high-quality edutainment value. My highest recommendation!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Disney Digital Books
Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
8 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 2 - 9
Based on the Disneyland ride, it's a small world. From Wikipedia: "it's a small world is a popular musical boat ride located in the Fantasyland area at each of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide: Disneyland Park in California, the Magic Kingdom (in Florida), Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. The ride features over 300 brightly costumed audio-animatronic dolls in the style of children of the world, frolicking in a spirit of international unity, and singing the attraction's title song, which has a theme of global peace."
In this title, you are taken on a journey very similar to the ride at Disneyland, using the imagery of a hot air balloon to transport the reader to different parts of the world and imaginary places as well. Includes 15 different settings to explore.