PHOTOS: Walt Disney World Cleans Exteriors of Dirty “it’s a small world” Boats After Public Scrutiny

Walt Disney World has listened to the public scrutiny over the dirty state of the “it’s a small world” boats and given them a nice scrub.

"it's a small world" boats cleaned

The sides of the boats have very clearly been wiped, scrubbed, and washed, with most of the grime missing from the plastic sides.

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The insides could still use some love for sure, with black grime from guests visible still on the front.

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Very clear scrub marks and what appears to be white residue from cleaning products are visible.

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The above photo shows the state of the boats from our original report on December 26, 2022. The pattern extends well above the water line of the boat, beyond where contaminants from the water could sink in. These are just plain filthy and disgusting, looking similar to abandoned cars in a post-apocalyptic wasteland rather than a happy boat ride through the countries of the world.

While “it’s a small world” at the Magic Kingdom doesn’t go outside like its Disneyland counterpart, it still accumulates grime from the day-to-day cycling. Combined with other issues, like dirty PeopleMover seats and mold in Toy Story Land, guests have called the overall cleanliness at the parks into question.

As Walt Disney World seems to have ended its transition period out of the COVID-19 pandemic and returned to normal operations, we will be resuming our Maintenance Reports in January 2023, which we put on hiatus while the resort focused on the pandemic.

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“it’s a small world” had a major exterior refurbishment in 2020 and a three-day interior refurbishment in July 2021. After the refurbishment, the interior façade around the load area was gradually repainted with bright colors replacing most of the white and gold. The clock tower was the first to be repainted and reveal a new look. The “5” and “0” were given a different shade of gold in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom.

Some of the gold and white was brought back later into the repainting. It was seemingly completed in September 2021.

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Pinocchio Village Haus, a restaurant that has windows overlooking the load area of “it’s a small world” (pictured above), has been serving treats themed to the attraction as part of the 50th anniversary. The latest is a Polynesian-inspired Malasada dessert featuring the “Aloha” sign from the ride’s finale.

A further refurbishment is not currently on the calendar at Walt Disney World, but the ride is set to receive an inclusivity update this year. Dolls in wheelchairs will be added to the attraction, following the lead set by Disneyland this past year.

Are you glad to see the boats cleaned? Let us know in the comments below!

Did you know the iconic “it’s a small world” theme song has been inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry? Love it or hate it, the earworm, composed by the Sherman Brothers, is a recognizable classic in American history.

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14 thoughts on “PHOTOS: Walt Disney World Cleans Exteriors of Dirty “it’s a small world” Boats After Public Scrutiny”

  1. Stay on top of them WDWNT.
    They know the right thing is to keep things clean and maintained, but for some reason, often need a push to do it. I’m glad the maintenance reports are coming back.

    • Yes, I am very glad to see them get cleaned a bit. I can remember going to Walt Disney World, back in the 80s, when everything appeared new everyday. Everything was cleaned during the night and often times, the cast members were still working as we waited for the park to open. That was one thing that always impressed me was the upkeep. I personally think Walt would be appalled at the shape of things at the moment. We go twice a year, and things are just looking tired and worn out in general.
      If the condition of things keep deteriorating, it won’t be any more special than a carnival.

  2. I am happy to see that they got cleaned and quick too. The old Disney that I came to love would have never let that happen tho. I am hoping we can get to a point where they remember who they used to be. But with the way the world is now.. who knows. Company’s are differently just worried about the money and not the experience.

  3. Good job reporting this atrocity. Perhaps they will clean the interiors next. When they get done they can work on cleaning the people mover. I don’t blame cast members. I blame management with their hiring freezes. Walt would not be pleased. He liked the park to be super clean.

  4. It’s ridiculous they had to be shamed in to cleaning them! I remember the days of everything in the parks being pristine…not even a blade of grass not perfectly cut…not a topiary not meticulously trimmed! To deal with them now they just got rid of the topiaries…now it’s a perk of a festival to see the topiaries. It’s sad to see as the generations go by the new generations will never know how beautiful the parks were and still could be! But ya know…money!

  5. We just returned from WDW and it was obvious that It’s a Small World had received some much needed love. I could tell that they had painted the entire que area and it looked GREAT!

  6. There were a lot of scum and dirty water marks throughout the ride where props and other items stick out of the water when we were there in early December. Did that get addressed too?

  7. I remember my trip to Disneyland back in 2008. Everything was absolutely perfect, trimmed, painted, clean, etc… like an entire mob of house elves were scooting ahead of me, polishing and cleaning. It was wonderful, and I’m going to visit Disney World this spring.

  8. Love to see them clean. I also so in a recent POV that a few dolls were removed. One notable doll in the finale (a can can doll). This attraction really needed (and still does) TLC!


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