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.
As you may have just heard on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, you’re invited to join a first-of-its-kind, online global sing-along at SmallWorld50.com to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world,” – the classic Disney Parks attraction that opened as a tribute to UNICEF’s work for children around the world at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
We’ll be celebrating the anniversary on April 10 but we’ve already kicked off the worldwide celebration. People from more than 25 countries, including bagpipers in Scotland, Bollywood movie actors in India, a firefighter in New York City, and members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, came together to create a first worldwide “it’s a small world” video.
You can participate in this historic celebration by recording and sharing an online video of yourself singing “it’s a small world” on our new global online hub SmallWorld50.com. At the site, you can also create virtual “it’s a small world” dolls to share with your friends. The Walt Disney Company will donate $150,000 to benefit UNICEF in honor of the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world,” plus $1 for every sing-along video recorded on SmallWorld50.com and another $1 for every virtual doll created on the website, up to $100,000.
On April 10, hundreds of voices from Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Disneyland Paris in France and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will come together to sing the unforgettable theme song of the “happiest cruise that ever sailed the seven seas.”
Go share your online video at SmallWorld50.com and keep checking the Disney Parks Blog as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world.”
Our friends at Tokyo Disneyland just announced that a new version of Jungle Cruise – Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions – will debut at the park this fall.
The attraction has been popular with Tokyo Disneyland guests since the park opened in 1983. The new version will feature enhanced special effects and lighting, new original music, and a new “nighttime” version that will offer guests a thrilling new look at the jungle.
Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions will officially open at the park September 8, 2014.
Our friends at Tokyo Disney Resort just announced plans for this year’s springtime celebration, which will run at both Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea Park from April 2-June 23, 2014.
At Tokyo Disneyland, guests will be able to enjoy “Disney’s Easter” celebration, which will include visits to a secret Easter garden, a new “Hippity-Hoppity Springtime” parade that features Disney characters and Easter bunnies. Guests can also participate in an egg hunt, in which they use a map to track down Easter eggs hidden all around the park.
Over at Tokyo DisneySea, guests can enjoy “Mickey & Duffy’s Spring Voyage.” In this celebration, Mickey, Duffy, Minnie Mouse and ShellieMay embark on a cruise from Cape Cod to see how spring is celebrated around Tokyo DisneySea. Dressed in seasonal costumes, they visit Mediterranean Harbor, travel to American Waterfront for a lively Easter party, and then arrive at the Arabian Coast for a magical celebration of the season. At each of port, guests can enjoy the springtime festivities with the characters.
This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image comes to us from Tokyo Disneyland. This serene shot, taken by Photographer Tom Bricker, shows a peaceful Cinderella Castle after all the holiday guests have gone home for the night.
Which international attraction would you like to see featured here? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.
For more from the “Disney Parks After Dark” series, click the links below:
This week, we continued our holiday celebration on the Disney Parks Blog with a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at how we decorate at the Disneyland Resort.
Our Resort Enhancement team at the Disneyland Resort is responsible for the seasonal transformation and as we shared, they’ve been busy creating decorations since February.
And this season, we gathered a group of our favorite Christmas trees from around Disney Parks and created a special holiday slideshow. There are trees from all of the parks, including Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland.
Check out the trees and let us know how many you recognize. Do you have any favorites?
Here are some of the other stories we worked on during the week.
Adventures by Disney Invites You to “Step in Time” to the ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Set – Walk through and experience some of the locations where “Saving Mr. Bank”’ was filmed!
Counting Down to New Year’s Eve Fun at DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World Resort – Experience “a night of virtual awesomeness,” this New Year’s Eve at DisneyQuest.
“Saving Mr. Banks” Practically Perfect Preview Wraps Up Year of Disney Parks Blog Meet-Ups – Photos and video of this sneak peek preview of ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ at Walt Disney World Resort.
Holiday Goodies and Menu Changes in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort – Read about the special menu offerings available for the holidays at Disneyland Resort.
Windows at Disneyland Park: Fess Parker – Learn about Fess Parker, Disney Legend and the man who played Davy Crockett.
Step In Time: A Tencennial Parade Marches at Magic Kingdom Park – See the sights of the Tencennial Parade, all the way from 1981.
Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips: ‘A Christmas Fantasy’ Parade – See these helpful tips to getting the best out of ‘A Christmas Fantasy’ Parade.
Is visiting with a Disney Princess a must-do for you when visiting one of our parks? If so, check out this new offering that guests are now flocking to at Tokyo Disney Resort.
Tokyo Disney Resort just launched a new offering that will highlight the finale of the “Tokyo Disney Resort 30th: The Happiness Year” celebration. The “Disney Princess: Welcome, Little Princess offering allows girls age 11 and younger to meet Disney Princesses, learn princess stories and skills from the “Princess Lesson Book,” and take part in a Little Princess Procession that allows them to learn and then perform their princess skills in front of guests.
Also as a part of this “princess” celebration, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel will offer “Tangled”-themed guest rooms.
Haunted Mansion is a favorite attraction for many Disney Parks guests. Here at Disneyland park, the 999 happy haunts have been frightening guests since 1969 in New Orleans Square. But did you know the Haunted Mansion is the only Disney Parks attraction to be located within different lands at other Disney Parks around the world? At Walt Disney World Resort, you can find the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square; look for the grim, grinning ghosts in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland. At Disneyland Paris, the Haunted Mansion is known as Phantom Manor, and it is located in Frontierland.
Not only are these manors and mansions located in different lands, but each has a different theme and design. At Disneyland park, many people believe that the Haunted Mansion bears a striking resemblance to a Baltimore mansion. However, the truth is that a variety of designers and architects worked on its design, resulting in a mansion that embodies an architectural style and interior that was popular in the South in the mid-1850s.
Over at Walt Disney World Resort, the design required a little something different since the Haunted Mansion would be located in Liberty Square rather than New Orleans Square. Therefore, instead of looking like a Southern estate, the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park was designed to look like a gothic manor from the Eastern seaboard. At Tokyo Disneyland, a similar gothic style – with dark bricks, stone finishes and ominous turrets – creates the same ominous effect, even though it is located in Fantasyland.
The most recent version of this beloved attraction opened in 1992 in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris. Set in an aged, rundown wooden home from the Old West, this attraction took on a new name: Phantom Manor. Phantom Manor features some of the classic Haunted Mansion scenes with an Old West twist.
Yesterday on the Disney Parks Blog Facebook page, we asked which all of the different versions of this classic Disney Parks attraction is the spookiest. Fans voted Magic Kingdom number 1 with Disneyland park second. Which is your favorite?
This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” photos were snapped of two of the eeriest attractions at Tokyo Disney Resort – Haunted Mansion at Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea.
This great shot by photographer Tom Bricker shows the mansion after all the guests have gone home. Notice the two statues that welcome guests to the mansion’s queue? Love that detail!
And check out Tower of Terror over at Tokyo DisneySea. The Tokyo version has a slightly different storyline than the attraction here at the Walt Disney World Resort. According to the attraction’s background, it’s New York in the year of 1912, and the hotel has earned the nickname “Tower of Terror” after the mysterious disappearance of the hotel’s owner years earlier. The New York City Preservation Society has stepped in to restore the place and is now giving tours. From the look of the photo above, would you dare step inside? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.
Anyone up for a parade tonight? Then check out this view of Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade ‘Dreamlights’, the nighttime parade at Tokyo Disneyland.
This shot shows Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and the Three Little Pigs atop an illuminated steamboat. Other characters who appear in ‘Dreamlights’ include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Genie from “Aladdin” and many more.
Have you ever seen this after-dark spectacular? If so, tell us what you loved about it in the “Comments” section below.