Disney's Small World celebrates 50 years

Posted Monday, April 7, 2014 9:06 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Half a century ago, Walt Disney staged a worldwide sing-along, and that calls for a celebration. Disney's classic "It's a Small World" boat tour, with its colorfully costumed cast of audio-animatronic dolls, turns 50 this year — along with that catchy tune in multiple languages.

Read more from Florida Today via USA Today.

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Monday, April 7, 2014 10:41 AM

In February we rode "it's a small world" (< note correct spelling, please, USA Today) for the first time again in many years. Ear worm aside, I found it to be rather cute and enjoyable and noticed clever aspects of the ride I had either forgotten or didn't know about. While not as grand as the DL version, the queue was nicely done and looked very fresh. Maybe it had a re-do for the upcoming anniversary.
We waited a while, maybe twenty minutes, but moved right along the whole time. It's got great capacity, but as usual, the boats backed up in that last room while people of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities disembarked ahead of us. It really is a ride for everyone.

I also learned some fun facts, which came from our waiter at Contemporary's California Grill of all places. We were talking to him about the recent remodel of the restaurant, and he explained the design, (wall art, carpets, upholstery, fixtures, etc.) was based on the work of artist Mary Blair, one of the artists who designed the look and the characters for "it's a small world". She was also, then, responsible for the mosaic murals we see in the Grand Canyon Concourse of the hotel. I took a new look at those on the way out, and sure enough. Those murals positively evoke her whimsical style- I believe it's possible to stare at them for hours and not see everything.

Ms. Blair is no longer with us, she died in 1978. But check her out if you have an interest in mid-century modern art, or are a Disney history enthusiast. Looking at her work it's easy to see her influence in the Disney parks and why Walt loved to use her talents.

So when Thursday rolls around I'll be thinking of and thanking Mary Blair for her contribution to this iconic ride.

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Monday, April 7, 2014 11:00 AM

I still think the ride would be better if they gave you a bucket of softballs.

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Monday, April 7, 2014 2:05 PM

I've been on the ride a half a dozen times, and every time I fell asleep halfway through. I kind of feel like that song has been going through my head for 50 years straight, and I'm not even 50 years old. lol

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:26 AM

That's one of our must rides at Magic Kingdom Park, along with Pirates, Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. Followed by Dole Whips.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:45 AM

You know, as much as I whine about wanting to insert a white hot poker in my eye and through my brain after riding or even THINKING about that ride, I've gotta say that the ride is certainly iconic. You can't think DisneyWorld and not think of Small World. I'm always happy to see iconic attractions sticking around to thrill (or agitate) new generations of park goers. Hope there's many more years to come for this attraction.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014 12:48 PM

Bring back the rainforest!!!! :)

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:13 PM

Bring this guy back.

Last edited by PerrysburgGuy, Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:14 PM
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