Valarie recently shared a few videos showing how some of the magical holiday transformations happen here at Disneyland park. Getting into the spirit myself, I had the opportunity to take our Disney Parks Blog camera inside ”it’s a small world” to see how the iconic attraction becomes “it’s a small world” Holiday. It was amazing to get a glimpse at the Technical Services cast members painting, building, rigging and lighting the sets. They were working on the finale scene when we taped this video, finishing the 18-day merry makeover. Being in the attraction during this process gave me a new perspective and appreciation for the detail and work that goes into making “it’s a small world” Holiday so special. Next time my tree lights go out at home I will happily replace them, even if I have to do it one at a time!
“it’s a small world” Holiday Fun Facts:
- “it’s a small world” Holiday – The holiday version of this Disneyland classic debuted in 1997. The original attraction was inspired by Mary Blair’s storyline: a group of housebound kids on a rainy day create an international art project using all their dolls, toys and decorations.
- All That Glitters – Each holiday season, an estimated 50,000 Christmas lights are installed on the façade. The breathtaking and intricate lighting design calls for six brilliant colors that interplay with clear twinkling lights. The nighttime splendor comes aglow with more than 300,000 watts of light.
- Yuletide Treats & Merry Surprises – As you float along the canals of Europe, the scent of freshly cut pine lingers near a 20-foot Christmas tree in a scene that pays homage to “The Nutcracker.” The sweet smell of candy canes will tantalize as you pass by Italy’s hanging candies. (Both are enhanced aromas, added to the attraction.) Merry bubbles float down as you voyage through the South Seas, where a plate of fish has been left out “for Santa” (by Ariel and the mermaids).
- A Sparkling Seasonal Wish – Wishing you “Happy Holidays” in the attraction’s final scene is a 14-foot sparkling snowman, dressed in his wintery best with a gold top hat, golden scarf, and hundreds of twinkling lights. A frosty snowflake mobile twirls over his head, flickering with an icy translucent glow. The snowman’s “Happy Holidays” sign is a jolly sight, too. It’s sculpted out of ice that changes color.
- Storage Space – 100 percent of the holiday overlay props and scenic elements used are actually stored inside the attraction all year ‘round!
- Up On The Housetop – Santa’s reindeer can fly to the top, but the elves that make holiday magic at “it’s a small world” Holiday use four high-reaching lifts, including one that stretches to 80 feet into the air. Riggers repel off the back wall using special safety rope access.
- Secret Elf Society – It takes 12 Technical Services cast members 5 nights a week for 7 weeks (35 days!) to install the glittering yuletide façade. Inside the attraction it takes more than 20 Technical Services cast members 18 days in a row to decorate the holiday attraction’s dazzling interior!
- “Fa La La La La” – The attraction’s soundtrack is a merry mix of “Jingle Bells” and “Deck The Halls” in counterpoint with the classic “it’s a small world” tune. Children’s voices sing along in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Scandinavian languages. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the South Seas Mermaids singing their own holiday carol: “Jingle Shells.” Holiday greetings in many other languages – French Canadian, Dutch, Chinese, Asante (of Ghana) and Hawaiian to name a few – can be discovered on banners and signs throughout the entire attraction.