Slow Rides, Water Rides, Loud
Board a whimsical boat ride for a song-filled journey around the globe—this cherubic chorus exudes pure joy!
Sing along to the classic anthem of world peace during a musical boat tour hosted by the children of the world. Climb aboard a cozy boat and set sail along the Seven Seaways canal for an approximate 15-minute journey.
Amid a vibrant, multi-colored backdrop exquisitely crafted out of papier-mâché, glitter and fabric, behold a cast of almost 300 traditionally dressed dimple darlings from nearly every corner of the globe sing a simple song in their native language about universal harmony and dance. Travel to all 7 continents and, by journey’s end, see for yourself that it truly is a small world after all.
From the snow-capped Swiss Alps to the golden Serengeti, the children of the world are ready to make your acquaintance. During your tour, experience a rainbow of diverse cultures from such far-off locales as:
Before returning home, the children reunite for a grand finale, reminding us of our common bonds of friendship, laughter and happiness—and by seeing the world through the eyes of a child, we are all basically the same.
Some familiar new faces debuted on February 6, 2009 with the addition of dolls representing select Disney and Disney•Pixar characters. Keep an eye out for:
Written and composed by an Academy Award®-winning team of brothers, the song "it's a small world" is a timeless classic.
As you navigate the Seven Seaways, “it’s a small world” is lovingly sung by the children in their native languages—including French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and English. Composers Richard and Robert Sherman came to the conclusion that a single musical theme was the way to bring the song together, thus reinforcing the attraction’s larger message of cultural unity and harmony.
The Story Behind the Song
Originally, Walt Disney envisioned the world’s children singing the national anthem from each country they represented. But he quickly discovered that everyone singing a different tune resulted in a musical cacophony. Walt asked the Sherman brothers, who were hard at work on Mary Poppins, to create a singular song that could be sung by all of the children. The result was “it’s a small world”—one of the most well-known songs of all time.
Walt Disney selected Mary Blair as an art director and Alice Davis as the costumer to bring “it’s a small world” to life.
With her distinctive use of color, geometric shapes and a simple, child-like art style, Mary Blair was known for her visual aesthetic—felt in every aspect, in every nation, of “it’s a small world.” As you glide through the many scenes, colored paper in bold hues vividly create collages of some of the world’s most beloved countries, giving you the impression of sailing through a classic children’s book.
Under the direction of designer Alice Davis (and her husband Marc Davis), Disney seamstresses gathered and sewed every inch of clothing to create a faithful portrayal of each nation’s traditional attire. That’s over 300 outfits in all! Authentic materials were used for each region, from silks for the saris of India and fine wool for the Scottish bagpiper.
Don’t miss the attraction's kinetic façade, complete with spinning flowers, whirligigs and icons of famous world landmarks. The highlight is the animated 30-foot-tall clock tower. Watch as every 15 minutes the clock tower opens up to display a multinational parade of 24 animated figures. Once the procession ends, 2 toy jesters appear and herald the current time.
"it's a small world" was created for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair in honor of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Personally overseen by Walt Disney, the attraction was a huge hit for 2 seasons at the fair and was eventually shipped back to Disneyland Park, where it reopened on May 28, 1966.
Due to its immense popularity, the attraction has been replicated in every Disney park around the world and is considered a Walt Disney classic.
"it's a small world" typically stays open during fireworks performances but may close to accommodate the show under certain wind conditions. If closed, it usually reopens 20 to 30 minutes after the show has concluded.
Enjoy the sights and songs of this classic attraction with a seasonal spin—returning November 9, 2018!