After 50 years, It’s still a Small World after all


It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears…its the song that most people around d the world knows by heart…and some can’t stand it. Whether you love it, or hate it you can’t deny the impact that Disney’s classic attraction (and accompanying ear worm) has had. It’s hard to believe that the signature attraction at most Disney parks is 50 years old. It’s also hard to believe that this attraction was never intended for theme parks. Disney celebrated the attraction today with a global sing along, and a few fun facts about the ride.

Fans, cast members and one of the song writers joined each other all around the world for a huge sing along this morning of It’s a small world.
Video-Disneyland cast members singing It’s a small world

The attraction made it’s debut at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The attraction was one of four Disney Attractions that year, and it almost didn’t happen. Walt Disney himself was working on three attractions for different companies for the fair – Ford’s Magic Skyway, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and Carousel of Progress.
Pepsi was working on an attraction with Unicef and couldn’t decide what to do, until actress and board member Joan Crawford told them they were going to ask her personal friend, Disney.
When Walt told the board about the idea, calling it Children of the World, they hated it. It was Walt himself that came up with the idea of a boat ride, one of the first in a theme park. The original idea was to have all the animatronics sing their own national anthem…which was a disaster. The Sherman brothers came up with very simple song “It’s a Small World” which Walt almost instantly loved.
The ride, unlike other attractions, cost about a dollar for adults to ride and 60 cents for children, with all money going to Unicef.
The ride was the most popular attraction at the fair and was immediately fast tracked for Disneyland.
The ride is a staple at several of the parks, including the iconic Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions. All versions of the ride have the children singing on several languages, but the languages used depends on the version.
Here’s what the various Disney Parks are doing to celebrate It’s a Small World:

At the Walt Disney World Resort, hundreds of Magic Kingdom Park guests are joining in the song during a special “pre-parade” before the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.”
Throughout the day, in-park performers – the Dapper Dans, Coke Corner Pianist, Notorious Banjo Brothers, Royal Majesty Maker Musicians and Main Street Philharmonic – are scheduled to include “it’s a small world” in their appearances.

At the Disneyland Resort, songwriter Richard Sherman is scheduled to appear in a sing-along cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A., conducting hundreds of Disneyland guests in their “it’s a small world” sing-along.

At Hong Kong Disneyland, cast members and students from Hong Kong Children’s Choir are singing “it’s a small world” in Cantonese.

At Tokyo Disneyland, cast members and guests are gathering to sing in Japanese at Tokyo Disneyland.

At Disneyland Paris, a “blue carpet” event featuring international cast members is planned for on Main Street, U.S.A., with students from the European International School, singing a multi-language version of the iconic anthem in front of “it’s a small world.”

Stay tuned for more from Disney, and be sure to follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!

For more on It’s a Small World, visit the official Small World 50 website by clicking here!