Disney is celebrating the 50th anniversary of 'it's a small world' with a global sing along at Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Disneyland Paris in France and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
The in-park events will take place on Thursday April 10 2014, but for those who can't be there in person, Disney has invited fans everywhere to join the global sing-along virtually.
SmallWorld50.com launches today as a “global hub” of music and harmony where guests may record videos of themselves singing the classic song and create virtual “it’s a small world” dolls to benefit UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). UNICEF provides health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more to children around the world.
"'it's a small world’ has inspired hundreds of millions of people through its timeless theme," said Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Every moment of every day there are Disney guests enjoying ‘it’s a small world’ somewhere around the globe. The 50th anniversary of this attraction represents a celebration of the shared optimism, hope, and humanity of people throughout the world."
The Walt Disney Company will donate $150,000 to benefit UNICEF in honor of the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world,” plus $1 for every sing-along video recorded on SmallWorld50.com and another $1 for every virtual doll created on the website, up to $100,000. Disney began its relationship with UNICEF in 1964 with the debut of “it’s a small world” at the New York World’s Fair. More recently, Disney and UNICEF have worked together to create a brighter tomorrow for thousands of children through programming that helps foster imagination and creativity.
One of the most beloved attractions in the history of Disney Parks, “it’s a small world” is featured at all five Disney Resorts around the world. The original attraction premiered at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, created by Walt Disney himself and WED Enterprises, which eventually became Walt Disney Imagineering (the creative masters behind Disney theme parks and attractions).
The attraction features a gentle boat ride through a Lilliputian land populated by colorfully dressed Audio-Animatronics dolls representing children from many regions of the world singing a simple song about universal harmony. A team of WED artistic geniuses, including Disney Legends designer Mary Blair and costumer Alice Davis, created its now iconic style.
In 1963, Walt Disney was asked to create an exhibit for the 1964 World’s Fair to salute UNICEF and children around the world. With Walt’s blessing, Marc Davis, one of the original Disney animators, designed the boat ride attraction through the regions and countries of the world. The first version of “it’s a small world” entertained and thrilled more than 10 million visitors in New York from 1964-65. In 1966, after some major enhancements, including an enlargement of approximately 33 percent, the attraction found a permanent home at Disneyland in California.
In the attraction, hundreds of dolls “sing” the familiar song, “It’s a Small World,” in five languages (English, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish). Academy Award® winning composers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who won two Oscars® for their work on Disney’s feature film “Mary Poppins,” were asked by Walt Disney to create a simple, yet catchy piece that could be sung in many different languages while guests traveled by boat through the attraction. The resulting song, “It’s a Small World (After All),” became one of the most well known and happiest of all Disney tunes.