Tuesday marks the 47th anniversary of the It’s a Small World ride. First unveiled at the 1965 New York World Fair as a collaboration between Disney, UNICEF and Pepsi, a bigger and better version of the attraction moved to Disneyland California the following year and opened on 28 May 1966.
Originally called ‘Children of the World’, the ride was designed by Mary Blair, an artist at the Disney studios who worked on films including Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella, and was meant to look as though it had been created by children. The name changed after Walt Disney asked the Sherman brothers (who also wrote songs for Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh) to come up with a song that could be sung in a round and was easily translatable. They obliged by writing the earworm we know and love today and, in the process, they gave the attraction its new name: It’s A Small World (After All).
Five Facts You Need to Know About It’s a Small World
- The ride’s inauguration ceremony at Disneyland involved children from all over the world attending in traditional dress. Seven were asked to pour water from each of the world’s seven seas into the ride’s waterway.
This was one of the last opening ceremonies Walt Disney attended at Disneyland as he died later the same year.
It’s a Small World is one of the rides included in every Disney park (California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong).
An exercpt of the ride’s song can be heard in The Lion King, sung by Zazu, before Scar cuts him off.
Sadly Robert Sherman died in March last year. He is survived by his younger brother and co-writer Richard and his Disney legacy.
To celebrate the anniversary of It’s a Small World, as well as the latest collection in the LeSportSac ‘It’s a Small World’ bag line, we’ll be taking you on a fashionable journey around the globe this week. And be sure to check back on Tuesday when we’ll have an exciting competition for you too!
Picture via DisneyNewsArchive