Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing little known facts about some of our favorite Disney attractions.
It’s a Small World is one of the most beloved rides in the Disney parks. It premiered in Disneyland, but is now in all 5 Disney parks. There is a wealth of information available about It’s a Small World. Below are some of things that you may not know and may find interesting about the ride.
Little-known facts about It’s a Small World-
1)The original name Walt Disney used for the ride was “Children of the World”
2)The ride was originally an attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
3)At the ride opening at Disneyland in 1966, Walt Disney invited kids from around the world to dedicate it. They brought water from their native lands to add to the ride.
4)The song was created by the Sherman Brothers (also the creators of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers”).
5)The song is claimed to have been the most played song of all time. Considering it is played on a continuous loop system for approximately 16 hours a day at now 5 different theme parks it may be true. (A caveat is it is the most played song in public. In private Happy Birthday is believed to get that honor)
In just one 16 hour day, the song is played approximately 1,200 times! It is estimated the song was played about 50 million times in the first 50 years of the rides operation.
6)Over 300 million people have been on the ride.
7)The rumor is that the Disneyland version that was in the World’s Fair is adorned with real gold for the external turrets and ornaments. It was stated that the upkeep for paint would be more expensive due to the oxidation that would take place.
8)The re-vamping of the ride in Disneyland wasn’t popular with many guests. Thirty-seven characters were added. The additions are: In England-Alice and the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland; Peter Pan and Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. In France-Cinderella, Jaq and Gus from Cinderella. In Italy-Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio. In China-Mulan and Mushu from Mulan. In the Middle East-Aladdin, Jasmin, and Abu from Aladdin. In Africa-Simba, Pumba, and Timon from the Lion King. In South America-Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles from The Three Caballeros. In the South Seas-Lilo and Stitch from Lilo and Stitch; Ariel and Flounder from The Little Mermaid; Dory and Nemo from Finding Nemo. In the North America area-Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye from A Toy Story.
9)There are approximately 300 dolls in the ride.
10)Mary Blair is the artist (Imagineer) behind the look of the ride.
11)In every room there is a moon and a sun.
12)In the “Africa room” there is a string of leaves that is shaped into a Mickey head.
13)One doll in each ride is said to represent Mary Blair (the imagineer referenced above.)
14)Originally, the folks at Disney never thought the ride would last. The thinking was that it wouldn’t last beyond the World’s Fair.
15)Money was no object for the doll’s costumes, according to Alice Davis (Disney legend and Imagineer and costume designer for the dolls.) Walt Disney told Davis that she could do whatever it took to make the dolls look like the kind that every woman in the world would want.
16)If you look very closely at the Disneyland location, the back of the set pieces still have the shipping stickers from 1965. (This was because it was shipped that year from New York to California from the World’s Fair to Disneyland.)
17)The sad clown at the Walt Disney World got a makeover in 2004. He is the clown piloting the hot air balloon in the finale and is smiling and carrying a balloon in his hand. Before the makeover, he had been frowning and holding a sign that said “help”.
18)At Toyko Disneyland, the Japan section is the largest of any of the parks.
19)Disneyland California, Paris, and Toyko all have holiday versions of the attraction.
20)There was an original song concept that flopped before the Sherman Brothers familiar version. Originally, all of the dolls would sing the national anthems of their countries simultaneously which was deemed a “cacophony” by Richard Sherman. The Sherman Brothers then wrote the song that we hear today.
21)Ever since Disneyland Paris opened in 1992, the song plays every hour of the day somewhere on the planet!
22)The ride was originally called Pepsi-Cola Presents Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World” which was supposed to be a salute to UNICEF and all of the world’s children.
23)Tickets for the ride at the World’s Fair were 95 cents for adults and 60 cents for kids.
24)10 million ride tickets were sold during the World’s Fair and all of the proceeds went to UNICEF.
25)The boat system used was replicated for Pirate’s of the Caribbean and other rides.
26)There was a UNICEF display and gift shop at the end of the ride at the World’s Fair which was popular. This inspired gift shops at the exit of other rides at both Disney and other amusement parks.
27)The song for the ride is without a copyright, which is the only Disney entity since Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to not have one.
28)Marc Davis, a legendary Imagineer, designed the scenes and characters. His wife Alice (mentioned above) designed the costumes for the dolls.
29)Rolly Crump designed the toys and other figures seen on the ride, and Blaine Gibson designed and sculpted the animated dolls.
30)Each animated doll face is identical to celebrate unity among the nations and cultures represented on the ride.
31)Arrow Development designed the boat design and propulsion system for the ride, which is the same company thats fame came from designing roller coasters and log flume rides.
32)It’s a Small World is in all 5 Disney theme parks. Disneyland added it in 1966. The other parks all had the ride on opening day: Disney World in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Disneyland Paris in 1992, and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2008.
This is a lot of information about It’s a Small World. Hopefully, you found it interesting. As a fan of the ride, I loved reading these “lesser-known” facts. Hopefully, you found them interesting as well.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Little Known Facts About Disney Attractions Loop:
- 1st Stop – Sam’s Disney Diary | Hollywood Studios – 5 Hidden Secrets Gone Forever
- 2nd Stop – Adventureland Pam | Tower of Terror
- 3rd Stop – Frontierland Station | Expedition Everest
- 4th Stop – Heidi’s Head | Cinderella Castle
- 5th Stop – Family Travel Escapades | it’s a small world