Image: Small World sign
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Disneyland plans to close down the 41-year-old flume ride in January to give it a much-needed facelift — and deal with the delicate problem of bottoming-out boats.
updated 11/9/2007 7:42:44 PM ET 2007-11-10T00:42:44

Disneyland will shutter the popular "It's a Small World" attraction for a supersized retrofit next year, but insists the upgrade has nothing to do with the expanding girth of park patrons.

Disneyland plans to close down the 41-year-old flume ride in January to give it a much-needed facelift — and deal with the delicate problem of bottoming-out boats.

Heavier-than-anticipated loads have been causing the boats to come to a standstill in two different spots near the Canadian Mounties and the Scandinavian geese, said Al Lutz, a longtime Disney watcher whose Web site MiceAge.com first reported the refurbishment plans.

Lutz said he's been on the ride when several guests were asked to get off to lighten the load.

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"They've even built a platform next to that (Mounties) curve because they've had so many problems," he said.

But Disneyland, which plans to add an inch of depth to the water and construct lighter boats, said overweight tourists aren't to blame.

The boats get stuck because "layers and layers" of fiberglass have built up where maintenance teams have patched and re-patched problem areas, Disneyland Resort spokesman Bob Tucker said.

"The only thing that's true is that we are going down in January and it's for 10 months and it's to replace the flumes," he said.

In recent years, Disneyland has redesigned many of its costumes and started stocking them in larger sizes to accommodate ever-expanding waistlines.

Adult men and women are about 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960, and 65 percent are considered overweight, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Walt Disney World at 40

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  1. 40 and fabulous

    Fireworks explode above Cinderella Castle as dancers and Disney characters perform while taping a segment of "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" at the Magic Kingdom on Dec. 3, 2010, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 40th anniversary of the opening of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort will be celebrated in 2011. (Mark Ashman / Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Star power

    Musical artist Yanni, right, plays the piano as the "Yanni Voices" perform an arrangement of "O Holy Night" at the Magic Kingdom on Dec. 3, 2009, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Yanni was taping a segment for the "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" holiday TV special. (Mark Ashman / Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'I'm going to Disney World!'

    Tom Brady, quarterback of the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots, signs autographs at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on Feb. 2, 2004, one day after leading the Patriots to a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers. (Gene Duncan / Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The first 25 years

    First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a crowd as Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner applauds Oct. 1, 1996, during the rededication of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on the 25th anniversary its opening. (Tony Ranze / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Royal fun

    Prince William, right, grimaces after he and friends of the royal family finish their ride on Splash Mountain Aug. 26, 1993, at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Harry Soames, left front, was the prince's companion on the three-day vacation. Other passengers are unidentified. (Bob Pearson / AFP-Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Celebrating two decades

    The 20th anniversary rededication ceremony of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in 1991 brought legions of Disney cast members onto Main Street, U.S.A. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A world-class welcome

    Roy O. Disney, brother of Walt Disney, is joined by the beloved Disney character that started it all, Mickey Mouse, in welcoming the first guests to the grand opening of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Oct. 1, 1971. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Cinderella's future home

    In 1971, a blue-spired castle -- destined to become one of the world's most-photographed buildings -- rose in central Florida as the iconic centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom, which opened on Oct. 1, 1971. In the 40 years since guests first strolled down Main Street, U.S.A., Walt Disney World Resort has blazed brave new entertainment trails based on its founder's fertile imagination and vision that the resort would forever continue to evolve. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
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