Disneyland Resort More Disneyland Resort Stories

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of ‘it’s a small world’

George Savvas

by , Director, Public Relations, Disneyland Resort

We have some really great, rare color photos of Walt Disney as he revealed some of his plans for “it’s a small world” at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of 'it's a small world

The first image was taken while Walt filmed the “Wonderful World of Color” episode, entitled, “Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair.” Here he is sharing the model of the attraction as it appeared in New York. I really like looking at all the activity going on behind Walt in this image. I certainly recognize some familiar ‘small world’ faces in the background.

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of 'it's a small world

This next photo was taken outside a soundstage at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, presumably during production of another television segment for “it’s a small world.”

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of 'it's a small world

This last photo is a personal favorite of mine. It shows Walt with Disney Legends Marc Davis and Mary Blair. Walt is admiring a figure from the attraction that seems to bear a remarkable resemblance to Mary! Have you noticed this one inside the attraction at Disneyland park? My colleague, Erin Glover has included her exact whereabouts in a great post from earlier this week.

Remember to visit SmallWorld50.com to join in the fun of our celebration!


  • Hi George,
    My husband and I were talking about the 50th anniversary of small world and he told me he was at the worlds fair in 1964 and saw the attraction. Today I was reading your blog and noticed a picture of a young boy with Goofy who is extremely happy. When I looked closer I couldn’t believe my eyes but that boy is my husband back in 1964. I showed the picture to his Mother and to him along with other family members and they all agreed it was him. I wondered if there is any way that I could obtain a copy of that photo. It was very exciting to see that. Thank you for your great articles. It is always enjoyable to read.


  • I noticed a very similar figure to the bottom figure at the magic Kingdom attraction last week, swinging on a ribbon underneath the Eifel Tower. Is that Mary Blair’s signature on the Florida version of the ride?

  • IT took me a long time to appreciate the colors and textures of the original IASW. But I love it now!

  • So great to see some rare photos of Walt Disney and the thing he loved to do thanks for sharing this moments.

  • Great photos! Wish I could have seen the World’s Fair ride myself!

  • So great to see these rare photos of Walt and the work behind the scenes that went in to creating It’s A Small World!

Comments are closed.