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Sep 20

Disney “Traveling Around The World”-Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland – Part 5 – “it’s a small world”

 

 Welcome back “World” travelers! That journey with Peter Pan and friends around London has me in the mood for some more world travel. Let’s head across Fantasyland and immerse ourselves in the magic of “it’s a small world.”

This is one of the most iconic rides at Walt Disney World. The original attraction was built for the 1964 New York Worlds Fair. It was then moved to Disneyland after the World Fair closed in 1966.

This attraction is loved and hated by everyone. You will hear people say that “this is just a kids ride and I will not get on it again”. But truth be told they ride it over and over everytime they visit. Why? Because it’s got that Disney magic! Some of my favorite attractions were from the Worlds Fair (it’s a small world, Carousel of Progress, and Great Moments from Mr Lincoln – which is now Hall of Presidents) and probably because Walt was involved in each of them. WED Enterprises (now Disney Imagineering) teamed up with the famous Sherman Brothers to create this masterpiece.

The attraction itself is a boat ride that features over 300 brightly costumed audio-animatronic dolls in the style of children of the world, frolicking in a spirit of international unity, and singing the attraction’s title song, which has a theme of world peace. The song is sung in 5 different languages throughout the ride. The song itself is just a small catchy tune written by the Sherman Brothers that probably has been played worldwide more than any other song. The song can be heard worldwide on musical devices ranging from keyboard demos to ice cream trucks. It will get in your head and you will find yourself sing or whistling it all day long.

Walt Disney with Robert and Richard Sherman

In full spirit of international unity, “it’s a small world” song was recorded in various studios around the world. The song was sung by a church choir in London, TV performers in Mexico City, a school chorus in Rome, Italy, and by children from Tokyo, Japan and Burbank, California.

 

The Sherman Brothers worked for Walt Disney until his death in 1966. During that time they wrote songs for “Mary Poppins.” Other credits include The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), The Parent Trap (1961), The Parent Trap (1998), Charlotte’s Web (1973), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971).

Walt Disney and Mary Blair

Mary Blair was responsible for the attraction’s whimsical design and color styling. Blair had been an art director on several Disney animated features (including Cinderella, Alice In Wonderland, and Peter Pan). Like many Disney attractions, scenes and characters were designed by Marc Davis, while his wife, Alice Davis, designed the costumes for the dolls. Rolly Crump designed the toys and other supplemental figures on display. The animated dolls were designed and sculpted by Blaine Gibson. Walt was personally involved with Gibson’s development of the dolls’ facial design (each animated doll face is completely identical in shape, hence the name “it’s a small world”).

There have been some minor modifications, but for the most part it has remained that brightly colored attraction that people love and love to hate. The Disney World ride underwent a major refurbishment from May 2004 to March 2005, due to the Happiest Celebration on Earth, reopening with a state-of-the-art sound system, new lighting effects, and a loading area similar to the ride’s façade at Disneyland.

 

Fun Facts for it’s a Small World
  • 289 dolls made up “It’s a Small World” attraction when it started in 1971, which represented 5 continents and singing in 5 languages (English, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish).
  • 22 different languages are used to say the word “Goodbye” which is written on the wall as you exit from “It’s a small world”
  • 1971 is when “It’s a Small World” debuted but it was refurbished in 2004 / 2005
  • 289 Audio-Animatronic children are in the attraction “It’s a small world”.
  • 553 Audio-Animatronics figures are actually in the attraction, which include not only the kids, but the animals as well
  • 1964-5 New York World’s Fair is when Walt Disney created the attraction “It’s a Small World’s” attraction.
  • 6 distinct rooms are in “It’s a Small World”, they include: The first room is the loading/unloading area. It is followed by the European room, the Far East room, the African room, the islands of the Pacific room, and the final, “white room” celebrating children of all cultures.
  • 1,085-foot canal for 10 1/2 minutes, in “It’s a Small World” attraction.
  • 2,296 garments are wore by the dolls in “It’s a Small World”
  • 4 types of Americans are represented in “It’s a Small World” and they are Cowboy, Hawaiian, Inuit, Native American
  • 30 boats can run simultaneously at “it’s a Small World”
  • can accomodate 20 guests per boat, though that would be unusually crowded
  • 11 minutes is the length of the ride of “It’s a Small World”
  • 500,000 gallons of water are used in this attraction
  • 147 toys are in the attraction “It’s a Small World”
  • 36 animated props are used in “It’s a Small World”

 

 

 

 

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