Today was a big day in Disney theme park history. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Disney’s “it’s a small world” along with thousands of guests and cast members at Disney Parks around the globe united today in a historic “It’s a Small World” sing-along. The iconic attraction opened as a tribute to peace and hope, saluting UNICEF, at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Today it is represented around the globe.
“‘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.”
I had the opportunity to talk with a few of the cast members who are responsible for maintaining the Magic Kingdom version of the attraction. We talk about the history of the attraction and what is involved in caring for all the dolls costumes:
Throughout the day, Disney Parks guests participated in events in all five resorts around the world, including in-park sing-alongs, cavalcades and special musical performances. Richard M. Sherman, the Oscar-winning songwriter who composed “It’s a Small World” with his late brother, Robert, led a sing-along at Disneyland Park in California.
At Hong Kong Disneyland, approximately 200 resort cast members and students from Hong Kong Children’s Choir gathered in the park to sing “It’s a Small World” in Cantonese. A traditional Chinese lion dancer joined in the celebration to offer blessing for the anniversary.
Tokyo Disneyland cast members and guests celebrated and sang the song in Japanese at Tokyo Disneyland.
A “blue carpet” event featured the international cast members of Disneyland Paris gathered on Main Street, U.S.A., representing 100 nationalities. Nearly 200 international children and 50 choir performers sang a multi-language version of the iconic anthem in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
A choir of Disneyland Resort cast members sang the song in front of the original attraction at Disneyland Park in Anaheim. Songwriter Richard Sherman chatted with fans via Google Hangout while sitting at a piano in front of the attraction. He also was 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 Walt Disney World near Orlando, international cast members from the countries of Epcot led a choir of children and cast members in song in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. Also, hundreds of Magic Kingdom guests joined 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.
Celebrating Through Music
I really enjoyed the chance to watch the in-park performers give their version of the famous song. To wrap up this mega post, here’s a video with performances from around the Magic Kingdom:
Do you have any Small World memories you would like to share?