50th Anniversary of “It’s A Small World” at Disney Parks

Filed under: Walt Disney World |

Oh lordy! The day has arrived. One, I must confess to being thoroughly bemused about.One where I want to go back to bed and cover my ears to protect my sanity.

Today is the day when Disney parks around the globe are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their “It’s A Small World” attraction.

The global celebration kicked off early this morning with a live sing-along at ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” in Times Square, New York City.  In addition to Times Square, GMA also featured choirs singing live at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort as well as a choir at the Unisphere in New York at the original location of the 1964 World’s Fair, where “it’s a small world” debuted.

Throughout the day, guests at Disney Parks will be participating in the celebration at all five resorts around the world as follows:

  • At the Walt Disney World Resort, hundreds of Magic Kingdom Park guests are joining in the song during a special “pre-parade” before the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.” Throughout the day, in-park performers – the Dapper Dans, Coke Corner Pianist, Notorious Banjo Brothers, Royal Majesty Maker Musicians and Main Street Philharmonic – are scheduled to include “it’s a small world” in their appearances.
  • At the Disneyland Resort, songwriter Richard Sherman is scheduled to appear in a sing-along cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A., conducting hundreds of Disneyland guests in their “it’s a small world” sing-along.
  • At Hong Kong Disneyland, cast members and students from Hong Kong Children’s Choir are singing “it’s a small world” in Cantonese.
  • At Tokyo Disneyland, cast members and guests are gathering to sing in Japanese at Tokyo Disneyland.
  • At Disneyland Paris, a “blue carpet” event featuring international cast members is planned for on Main Street, U.S.A., with students from the European International School, singing a multi-language version of the iconic anthem in front of “it’s a small world.”

As for me, I’m keeping well away from this one. Yes, I’m a Disney fan but let me categorically state here and now, I am not a Small World fan. I absolutely hate the attraction and the daft little ditty that accompanies it. Hate it!

Where does this hatred come from? Well, naturally, there’s a story behind it. A painful story.

My hate-hate relationship with Small World started back in the mid 90’s when I visited Walt Disney World with my family. My kids were young ones back then, aged 1 and 3, and we decided to take a trip to Orlando, Florida while they were young. It was a trip that we were to make repeatedly, sometimes two or three times a year, before we took the plunge and moved here in 1998. Anyway, one of the rides we went on was Small World.

After lining up for the traditional 45 mins (that’s what it seemed every ride line was back then), we took the ride around Small World. Then, every trip back to Magic Kingdom saw us repeat the episode until I’d reached breaking point. I stopped going on it altogether. The rest of the family didn’t however and they took great delight in annoying me with the humming or singing of that stupid little tune.

So, fast forward some seven years and many trips to Magic Kingdom later, I’d avoided Small World like a plague. Then one day, in the ultimate moment of weakness… (or was it madness?) I was talked into going on the ride again. From the moment we got on, I knew I’d made a huge huge mistake. One that would have severe consequences. One that would affect me for the rest of my days.

The ride broke down.

Yes, read that again. The bloody ride broke down.

45 mins to an hour we sat there as they tried to fix the damn thing… and all the time that dumb tune was playing away.

So folks, the rest is history. Those that have met me, now you know why I act so strange. Why my brain is messed up.

It’s not my fault. Honestly. Blame “It’s A Small World.”

And thinking about it, it’s probably responsible for the madness we see in the world today. Millions of people around the world have heard that stupid little tune and you can bet most politicians in the world have too. Robert & Richard Sherman … you have much to apologize to the world for. A song that came from the attraction’s working title “Children of the World” and born from the Cuban Missile Crisis, supposedly to promote peace and brotherhood, has probably caused more family wars than any other known tune. 50 years is a long time… time to put it down and do something new!


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