It's a song that drives most of us crazy.

Nevertheless, It's a Small World remains one of the most popular children's rides in Disney World.

And a Fairfax man is going to endure it, repeatedly, for 13 hours.  

"Currently, the park is scheduled to be open form 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. so we'll be riding all 13 hours,' said John Rigney.

Rigney is embarking on the Small World Challenge in an effort to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Delaware Chapter, of which he's on the board of trustees and an active volunteer.

"I do a lot of fundraising...where you run marathons and half-marathons," said the big Disney fan, who first went to the theme park at age 23. "Something on that first trip...just kind of hooked me."

He got the idea for the challenge when his family got stuck on the ride for an hour on a past trip to Disney World.   

"I was trying to keep my 3-year-old calm because he wanted to get out of the boat. I just took a moment to take in the sights; it's not every day that you get to sit in one spot on the ride, usually you move past it, and you miss things, and the boat still crept along a little bit, so you got to see a little bit of the other rooms...you really got to take in the workmanship that went into the ride...[the song] was playing for awhile and I either tuned it out or they turned it off."

His friends, though, couldn't imagine the horror.

"'That's my worst nightmare, I would never want to be stuck on that ride,'" he described them saying. "So that kind of got the wheels turning. That said, well, that's sort of like the ultimate endurance event for Disney would be--to endure the ride that most people hate for as long as possible...so it's sort of a love/hate with the ride. It's not my favorite ride to do, but when I came up with the idea of doing a challenge, you wanted to pick something polarizing or something that people would not imagine themselves doing or be able to do."

He anticipates the challenge will be more difficult than running a marathon.

"We've done some long marathons--taken up to 8 hours to finish...but this is a different type of event, and this goes for 13 hours, this is an all-day, grueling event. We've looked at the weather forecast for Orlando, and it's been pretty hot this past week so I'm assuming it's going to stay pretty hot.  So between the heat and in and out of the ride, standing on your feet, and sitting down on a hard, plastic seat all day, I'd probably say this is going to be a harder event."

In preparation, Rigney has been listening to the song more often.  

"We've been playing it on a loop from time to time," said Rigney.  

He's organized a team of 18 people from across the country who've raised as much as $25,000 for their efforts.

But it won't be 13 continuous hours of torture. Rigney and his fellow volunteers will have to get back in line every time they want to take a go-around.

"We have a great crew of people; I'm hoping that we can have some good conversations and a lot of laughs as we all endure this together. I'm assuming by the fourth or fifth ride, most of us will have tuned out the music."

They're going to play games along the way too.  

"Try to see if we can count how many of a certain kind of doll is in the ride, things like that, just to kind of pass the time as much as possible," he said. 

It's a Small World was written for UNICEF, as Walt Disney's gift to the children of the world. The song is estimated to play 1,200 times each day at Disney World. Anticipating recent wait times, Rigney is expecting to hear the song three times an hour, for a total of about 40 rides.

The day after his mission Saturday, Rigney will be back in the Magic Kingdom with his son.

"I'm sure on Sunday I will be back...riding Small World at some point."

Assistant News Director

Amy Cherry is the Assistant News Director and an investigative journalist at WDEL. She joined WDEL's award-winning news team in 2010 from WBZ Newsradio 1030 in Boston and has received national accolades for reporting.