One of the best loved rides among children in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World is It’s A Small World. Located in Fantasyland, the ride propels guests through a world-wide interpretation of harmony.
The origins of the ride start back at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. Walt Disney was asked by several companies (in this case Pepsi) to create experiences for the public to enjoy as they attended the fair.
Original plans called for the dolls to be singing the national anthems of the countries which they were designed to represent, but the outcome was not pleasing to the ear. So, Walt Disney called in his new go-to people for catchy tunes, brothers Richard and Robert Sherman, whom he had be-friended a few years before. Incidentally, the brothers would write many other songs for Disney in the coming years including the Oscar winning song Chim Chim Cher-ee for Mary Poppins.
The Shermans came up with the “It’s A Small World” song, but initially created it as a ballad, which Walt was not impressed by. He wanted something more cheerful, so the team sped it up and changed it around to the song we still hear today. To go with the song, hundreds of dolls were created, representing many nationalities from around the world. A majority of the dolls were animated, in keeping with Disney’s tradition of wowing the audience.
Guests were loaded into boats which floated through the many sections of the ride. In each section, the dolls “sang” the tune in a form meant to represent their country.
That original World’s Fair attraction was dismantled and put up at Disneyland of California. The ride at Disney World, as well as the other world-wide Disney Parks, is similar but not exact duplicates.
If you are looking for a great family ride, be prepared for a wait as it is extremely popular, but head to It’s A Small World.
One word of warning, the song can be quite difficult to get out of your head once the ride is over!
Thanks to paulchiu for providing the video above.