A boat ride around the globe

Inside the ‘Its a small world’ pavilion at Walt Disney World, FL. Photo: Soma Basu  

After getting rocked and rolled and launched and twisted on some thrilling roller coaster rides that literally take your breath away inside the Walt Disney World in Florida, a gentle boat ride across seven continents and seven seaways worked like a balm on my queasy stomach, wrecked nerves, shaky knees and tottering feet.

The 10-minute journey that started from a very colourful dock with singing dolls representing children of the world is something I will cherish for ever. The exquisitely crafted glittering dolls attired in bright rainbow colours, the vibrant themes in the backdrop and the lilting music playing in the background gave the experience of how far-off locales are and can be entwined in peace and harmony.

From the snow-capped Swiss Alps to the golden Serengeti, the children of the world in their respective national attires helped us to make our acquaint with diverse cultures as we smoothly rode on waters curving around Scandinavia, The British Isles, Western and Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, South America, Australia and South pacific Islands, America and Canada.

It was a delightful musical tour with the timeless classic anthem of world peace, “It’s a small world…” – one of the most well-known songs of all times – sung so melodiously and lovingly by the children of the world in their native languages including French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Japanese and Italian.

If the single music theme wonderfully wove the song together to underline the larger message of cultural unity, the visual aesthetics of the entire journey was equally appealing. Made with papier mache and fabric, the scenes are cast with 300 traditionally dressed dolls from every corner of the globe. The liberal use of bright colours, the distinctive use of geometric shapes even though done in simple child-like art style, created a vivid collage of different countries around the world. The use of authentic materials and fabric and a faithful portrayal of each nation’s USP is what struck the most and added to the joy of undertaking the journey.

My eyes instantly searched for India and I felt the sparkle of pride on seeing “Namaste” on a placard in the panel that held words from different countries used to greet each other. A pretty group of dolls attired in red-bordered white silk-saris, their faces complete with red bindi and tikli, their bejewelled hands playing different musical instruments represented India as a land of rich music and culture.

As we glided past the different tableaux done with such finesse and finery, it felt like turning over the colourful pages of children’s pop-up books. Before you disembark from the boat, the dolls reunite for a sparkling grand finale. The music crescendos and the children of the world dance, swing and sway to laughter reminding the passengers of the soothing sojourn of the common bonds of friendship and happiness that holds us all together. Through the eyes of the children, we realise people no matter which part of the world they live in, are all basically the same. Yet in these times, we continue to strive for international peace and inclusion of diversity, the very theme and message this place was created to promote.

It was a whimsical world tour because we were inside the Magic Kingdom of Disney World where fantasy reigns. But at the end of this cheerful journey with children, you do come out feeling the world is small indeed and it is not difficult to connect. Alas if only it were also all so real!

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 10:54:33 AM |

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