Groot and the MCU will star in a new It's a Small World ride in Tokyo Disneyland

Get ready for the MCU to invade Tokyo Disneyland as Groot and others will star in a new It's a Small World overlay! Find out more here!
Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) in Marvel Studios' I AM GROOT exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 MARVEL.
Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) in Marvel Studios' I AM GROOT exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 MARVEL. /

The Happiest Voyage That Ever Sailed is getting a Marvel makeover as a version of It’s a Small World will be invaded by the MCU. Find out more here!

Few Disney rides are as iconic as It’s a Small World. Debuting at the 1964 World’s Fair, the boat ride was a huge hit, with Disney moving it to a lavish building in Disneyland. With the animatronic dolls representing the nations of the world to the most infamous earworm song in Disney history, every Disney park has a version of it. 

The ride has been updated a couple of times over the years with a controversial choice to place dolls of Disney animated characters in the Disneyland version. Many derided it despite how original ride designer Mary Blair defended it. There have also been holiday-themed overlays for a few versions. 

Now, Tokyo Disneyland is about to unveil the biggest overlay yet as their version of It’s a Small World gets a makeover to use Marvel characters. This comes just as Universal Studios Hollywood sees the license to use Marvel characters expire, thus freeing up Disney to use Marvel characters more outside of Florida. 

Thus, in late 2024, the Tokyo It’s a Small World becomes “it’s a small world with Groot,” integrating the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy character and other Marvel heroes and villains together. The artwork shows cartoonish versions of the Guardians, the Hulk, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and more, riding one of the iconic boats in their own style. 

"In “it’s a small world with Groot,” Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy film trilogy and his friends from Marvel Studios films are visiting Earth for vacation. Groot encounters his friends in various locations on Earth and experiences their regional cultures and music with them as well as with children from all over the world. Enjoy all the fun moments Groot has spending his vacation with his friends. Guests will continue to see their favorite characters from Disney Animation films throughout the world."

This is a big move for Tokyo Disneyland as it’s the first time they can use Marvel characters due to the somewhat complex rights issues between Disney, Marvel and Universal. It’s unsure if this will be permanent or just a temporary overlay and if it will be used in other Disney parks. For example, while California can use Marvel characters at Disneyland, Florida may not be able to do so due to the rights issues. 

Still, this is a fun new spin on the attraction as guests will love spotting the Marvel characters mixed into the scenes. There's also a chance of a Marvel-themed mix of the classic song. This is a smart way to bring more guests (especially older ones who might otherwise skip a "kid's ride") onto It's a Small World and increase visitors.

The overlay is expected to come in late 2024 or early 2025 and give a Marvel-ous spark to an already iconic Disney attraction.