10 Things You Didn’t Know About Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’

How much do you really know about this iconic ride?

At Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride, it’s a world of laughter and a world of tears, according to the famous song we all know by heart. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about “It’s a Small World” on its 50th anniversary.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’ | 50th Anniversary | Disney World Facts and Trivia | World’s Fair

Pepsi-Cola once sponsored this legendary attraction. Disney

It Had a Sponsor Once

It’s a Small World” first opened at New York’s World’s Fair in April 22, 1964. At the time, it was sponsored by Pepsi-Cola. UNICEF was also a partner, along with Disney, for the attraction.

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Walt Disney was hands-on in many aspects of his theme park creation. Disney

The Chief Mouse

Walt Disney himself helped oversee construction of the “It’s a Small World” attraction at the World’s Fair. He also worked with the composers on the ride’s song.

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Perhaps one day new technology will be able to assist with original plans. Disney

Sing-Along Dolls

During the ride, hundreds of dolls perform It’s a Small World (After All) in five languages: English, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish. When the ride was originally conceived, the plan was for the dolls to sing their own national anthems.

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Who wrote the famous song that we can never seem to get out of our heads? Disney

The Songwriters

Richard Sherman (right) and Robert Sherman were the brothers who wrote It’s a Small World (After All). They would win two Academy Awards for their musical work on Mary Poppins. They also wrote non-movie songs, including the Ringo Starr song Sixteen, which was a No. 1 hit for the former Beatle in 1974.

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Disney has long partnered with charitable organizations. Disney

UNICEF Connection

Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, visits “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., for the ride’s 50th anniversary. Disney partnered with UNICEF on the original World’s Fair ride, which Stern attended as a child, and the partnership continues today. At SmallWorld50.com, fans were able to record a sing-along video and build a digital doll based on the attraction’s doll, with Disney donating $1 toward UNICEF for each creation.

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Disneyland California Disney

Welcome to California

After leaving the World’s Fair, “It’s a Small World” was packed up and shipped off to California, where enhancements were added, eventually growing the attraction by 33 percent. it reopened in 1966 in Disneyland.

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The attraction has gone global. Disney

All Over the World

The “It’s a Small World” attraction now appears at each of Disney’s theme parks around the world. Given the locations, operating hours and time zones, it’s estimated that the It’s a Small World (After All) song plays every hour, 365 days a year in a Disney park. See the websites for the Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong parks.

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Culture in numbers. Disney

How Many Dolls

Because the attraction changes slightly from park to park, it’s hard to give an exact answer on the number of dolls featured in “It’s a Small World,” but Disney estimates each version features at least 240 figures representing children from different nations and cultures. And each figure includes at least a dozen props and toys.

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The boat ride. Disney

Long Boat Ride

The “It’s a Small World” boat ride through the “Seven Seaways” takes 10 minutes, 30 seconds. That’s about the same length as Splash Mountain, but nowhere near as long as the Hall of Presidents, which is the Magic Kingdom’s longest ride at 22 minutes, 48 seconds.

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A fun-filled family vacation wouldn’t be the same without this legendary ride. Disney

A Disney Tradition

According to Walt Disney guest research, one in four guests consider “It’s a Small World” a “tradition” and visit the attraction each time they visit the park.