Whether you love it or hate, the It’s a Small World Ride is an iconic staple to every visit to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. It’s a world of laughter and a world of fun as you travel the world on this delightful boat ride. Here are a few fun facts to think about as you travel the world.
The mastermind behind the iconic It’s a Small World ride is Christina Crawford. Crawford’s upbringing wasn’t all smiles and laughter that the ride portrays. Crawfords upbringing by her adoptive mother Joan Crawford in the 1981 film “Mommie Dearest”. The film also mentions the marriage of Christina Crawford to the President of Pepsi Cola, Al Steele. After his death, Crawford became a prominent executive and shareholder where she strong-armed the company to partner with Walt Disney.
Even though Disney was stretched thin with the construction of 4 pavilions at the World’s Fair, but was intrigued when he heard Pepsi’s pitch for a pavilion at the World’s Fair that would contain the “happiest cruise that ever sailed”. However, the Imagineers were less than thrilled as no other business was building more than one pavilion let alone five. However, the boss gets what the boss wants, so the construction began on the 5th pavilion, “It’s a Small World- Salute to UNICEF” with less than 11 months to the start of the World’s Fair.
The idea of a boat ride attraction was revolutionary in 1963. The Imagineers built a contained track and a water canal that pushed guests downstream at a pace dictated by Disney. Not only is the creation of a contained boat system memorable, but guests also have a fond memory of the colors and theme throughout the ride.
Mary Blair was working at Walt Disney’s team as an art director in 1940 before formally leaving the company after the release of Peter Pan in 1953 to do freelance graphic design and illustration. Blair was enjoying her time as a freelance illustrator of the Little Golden Books, ultimately working on five of the books. However, as the World’s Fair approached Disney knew he needed Blair’s expertise for the It’s a Small World ride in order for it to be successful.
Blair’s sense of color was legendary which allowed her to create the color schemes throughout the ride becoming the go-to Imagineer for the backgrounds and colors of It’s a Small World which accentuated the puppets and their costumes.
The Sherman brothers put the final touches on this iconic ride with the most well-known song, which ultimately could have been a musical nightmare. However, the brothers had originally imagined each national anthem playing as guests passed through each country which proved to be a logistical nightmare. Instead, the Sherman brothers played off the fear of nuclear war by creating a song demonstrating the belief in a better tomorrow by pointing out the similarities of everyone in the world.
With the dream team working together Disney has officially made the most iconic ride of all time that was well before its time. Is It’s a Small World ride one of your must-dos when visiting the parks?
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