It really IS a Small World After All


Once upon a time Disney’s “ It’s a Small World ” musical boat ride was state of the art; a whimsical tribute to global unity that incorporated high tech animatronics in an attraction that stole the show at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  Today there are plenty of rides that give bigger thrills and chills.  But It’s a Small World will always hold a place in the heart of American culture.

A Short History of It’s a Small World Ride

The original attraction was not cheap. However, it was quite an achievement technologically, especially given the timeframe the creators had to work with.

Interestingly, the attraction was conceptualized and created in just 11 months.  It is quite simple actually, and consists of over 300 colorful animatronic singing dolls that are dressed in cultural styles from around the world and sing a song that unites them in a dream of global oneness.

Guests were (and still are) ferried through the “world” via small boats.  The dolls are dressed in native costumes from Scandinavia, Canada the Arctic, Asia, Korea, China, Japan, Africa, Latin America, the South Seas and North America and are shown in “typical” scenes and doing “typical” activities.  Of course they all gather together for a global carnival of a grand finale that leaves everyone who sees it with a smile on their face.

The first attraction, which was a part of the UNICEFF pavilion at the world’s fair (and incidentally sponsored by Pepsi) consisted of more than the ride that is now featured at all of Disney’s theme parks.  The additional attractions at the World’s Fair were used by Disney to test a variety of ideas that would later become rides and attractions at their namesake theme parks.

The designers of It’s a Small World specifically designed each doll with the same facial shape to emphasize the connection between all of the characters; a connection that is enhanced by their singing the ride’s theme song “It’s a Small World” which was written by The Sherman Brothers.

Today’s Small World

Today the It’s a Small World exhibit may not be the most exciting attraction Disney has to offer, but it is still one of the all-time favorites, and even though times have changed drastically since the original ride opened its doors, it really hasn’t changed that much over the years.

In fact, apart from some facelifts, a garden of topiary animals outside and adaptations to the technology that keeps the ride running and automated, the ride would be recognized immediately by anyone who got a first glimpse of it back when the entire concept was entirely unique.

A Must See Disney Experience

Of all the things that you will take with you from a Disneyland experience, strangely enough, the simplicity and the concept behind It’s a Small World will keep coming back to you months, even years after you’ve seen it.  Seeing as that it is part of Fantasyland, even the most basic day tickets and or the Park Hoppers passes will enable you to see this particular attraction, and it is definitely something that you won’t want to miss.



its small world ride at Disneyland

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