At both Disneyland and Disney World, the timeless attaction It's a Small World will be updated. The boats are going to be changed to be more comfortable. That's good. The attactions will be re-painted as the vivid colors of the ride have faded somewhat. That's good. General repairs will be done as machinery that moves various parts of the ride has worn down or stopped working. That's good. Various parts of the attractions will now be themed to fit with recent Disney movies.
For those of us who have visited Disney parks many times, It's a Small World has always been the charming, somewhat hokey, but classic ride that carried a simple, yet beautiful message of world-wide harmony. It featured all the children of the world in their national costumes and decorum singing together. This ride has been adored for decades by generations, young and old.
Why Change it?
Is putting an animitronic Alladdin in the Arabian section, or Mulan in China, going to attact more riders? No, but Disney thinks it might sell more dolls (action figures for the boys) and DVD's. I could go on about what I think about the lack of integrity this whole idea represents, but I, instead, will provide a link to what professional animators say about this compromise of vision.
The World of Animation Speaks