The classic Magic Kingdom ride “it’s a small world” is a one of a kind ride that brings all of the elements together to make a truly incredible ride that is enjoyed by millions of people every year.
The history behind “it’s a small world” takes us all the way back to the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair, as the attraction originally started life as “Pepsi Presents Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a small world’ – a Salute to UNICEF and the World’s Children.” The attraction that was at the Fair was moved to Disneyland after the fair closed, and is there to this day. The attraction at Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom is a replica of that one.
In “it’s a small world”, you ride on a boat ride around the world as you learn that, while we all have differences that make us unique, in the end you learn that we are all human, and that we can be unified as one as long as we remember that. It is the things we have in common that can bring us together, not the things that separate us. At the end of the ride, in the last scene, you see that all of the children are dressed in white in costumes of their culture, singing as one.
Originally, the music to the ride was going to be the national anthems of each of the countries depicted, sung by the children and played all at once — but the result was a cacophony of noise! Walt approached Robert and Richard Sherman and told them he would like one song that could be translated easily into additional languages and played in a round — and out of that request “It’s a Small World (after all)” was born.
Did you know…that the song “it’s a small world (after all)” was written in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
In researching this post, I found this YouTube article discussing the song, and what it is really all about. Take a listen, and perhaps have a change of heart about the song and what it means to you, if you don’t like the song.
The beauty of “it’s a small world” is in the message, and the message is, plain and simple, that we are all in the world together, that it is so much better to be united in fellowship then divided in anger.
“It’s a small world” may not be your favorite Disney attraction for many reasons, but as for me and my family, it’s a classic, and one that we must ride at least a few times per trip to Disney. I can’t wait to see how things are different for “it’s a small world” when we get to Disneyland in a few months as opposed to Walt Disney World!
What do you think about “it’s a small world”? Do you like it, do you hate it, or is it somewhere in between? Why not let me know in the comments? Thanks!
On Monday we’ll continue our look at what makes the Disney attractions great by taking a look at the Jungle Cruise! However, before then look for an all new Friendship Friday post tomorrow!