Around the world, Disney Parks are celebrating the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world,” which debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. You can join the celebration at SmallWorld50.com by creating your own “it’s a small world” doll and lending your voice to our global sing-along! Today, let’s dive into some little-known details about this iconic attraction.
“it’s a small world” was designed to look like handmade, paper-mache children’s creations. Intended to look like a child’s art project, the attraction is a look at the world through a child’s eyes.
Husband-and-wife team Marc and Alice Davis – (that’s Marc pictured above with Walt Disney and “it’s a small world” designer Mary Blair) were also instrumental in the creation of “it’s a small world” – Marc created many of the character vignettes, while Alice helped create many of the dolls’ costumes. They are the only married couple to have been honored with windows on Main Street, U.S.A.
The original concept featured the dolls singing the national anthems of their various countries. The result was, in Disney Legend Richard Sherman’s words, “a cacophony.” He and his brother, Robert, composed a simple song that could be translated into many languages and sung consistently throughout the attraction.
Since “it’s a small world” can be found at five Disney parks on three continents (Disneyland park in California, Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland) the iconic theme song is always playing somewhere around the world.
Over the course of a 16-hour operating day at Disneyland park, the “it’s a small world” theme song is played 1,200 times.