One Man’s Hell

A court recently ordered the Disney Company to pay $8,000 to a patron after he was stranded on a ride at Disneyland.

The man uses a wheelchair, and the ride in question was “It’s a Small World.”  The man, who suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure, was stuck for a half hour after the ride broke down and non-disabled patrons got up and left.  The story linked above notes — and this is, I think, the most crucial fact of all — that the “It’s a Small World” theme song played throughout the time the man was stranded.  Oh, and did I mention that the man also had a full bladder?

If you’ve visited Disneyland and been on the “It’s a Small World” ride, you know that the ride’s theme song is one of the most insipid, saccharine songs ever written and recorded.  It’s a small world after all . . . .  Once you’ve heard it, it burrows deep into the recesses of your brain and is never successfully forgotten no matter how hard you try.  It’s a small world after all . . . .  Even worse, it is sung by high-pitched, piping, aggressively chipper child voices on a continuous loop as the ride progresses.  It’s a small, small world!  After having to listen to the music for the few minutes of the ride, any reasonably sane adult is ready to run screaming from the building.

Part of the $8,000 award was for “pain and suffering.”  I’ll say!  To be left, alone, in the ride, among the mindlessly smiling, doll-faced depictions of children from around the world, desperately needing to answer the call of nature while enduring the cloying onslaught of the banal song playing over and over and over again, sounds like a particularly awful form of personal hell.

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