Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fun facts about it's a small world at all the Disney Parks

The 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world” is this year.

The attraction originally debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair and after two years it moved to Disneyland in California and has been a staple at all Disneylands around the world.

Here are some facts about the attraction at all of the Disneyland parks from Disney:

Small World
© Steven Liebman
Walt Disney World version of it's a small world.

• When the attraction move from the World's Fair to Disneyland it was expanded by a third and opened in 1966.  Shipping stickers with 1965 dates can still be found on the back of some of the pieces.

• There is one doll that is a nod to Mary Blair, the Disney Imagineer who designed the dolls. Blair appears as a little blonde with glasses, flying from a balloon over the Eiffel Tower in the Paris scene.

• It takes about five years to grow the animal-shaped topiaries in the ride.

Walt Disney World

• The Magic Kingdom attraction's exterior façade is integrated with facades of other attractions, but the inside queue area features the three-dimensional white-and-gold façade similar to the outside façades at the other attractions worldwide.

• The Pinocchio Village Haus has a window that overlooks the queue area.

• The clown piloting a hot air balloon in the finale scene smiles and carries a balloon in his hand. Before 2004 he frowned and carried a sign saying, “Help.”

Tokyo Disneyland

• This version features largest Japan section of any version.

• Although the façade is modeled on “it’s a small world” at Disneyland in California, the Tokyo Disneyland façade is done in a greater variety of colors rather than the white, blue and gold palette.

• The boarding area features a 360-degree mural in the Mary Blair style, depicting landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, Tower of Pisa) and landscapes of locations around the world.
Disneyland Paris

• The holiday version of “it’s a small world”  includes scenes celebrating Diwali in India, Saint Lucia’s Day (in Italy and Scandinavia) and Ded Moroz, the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas.

• The theme song was re-worked by Emmy Award-winning composer John Debney and performed by the London Chamber Orchestra and 60 studio musicians.

• A team of 18 seamstresses, tailors and milliners worked for two years in the Creative Costuming shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World to create the dolls’ traditional costumes for Paris.

• This is the largest attraction in Fantasyland and uses 150 different colors of paint.

Hong Kong Disneyland

• The compass rose in the forecourt has arrows pointing in the direction of with the distances to Bangkok, Nairobi, Mumbai, Paris, Beijing, Seoul, New York and Manila.

• The score features four Chinese instruments: the Xiao, the Guzheng, the Pipa and the Erhu.

• This version adds four new languages to the song: Cantonese, Putonghua, Korean and Tagalog.

• The Cantonese lyrics were originally written more than 30 years ago by lyricist James Wong for a Disney musical in Hong Kong.

General facts

• At Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland the façade is a  stylized interpretation of world-famous architectural landmarks, such as Big Ben, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of Pisa.

• At Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland, the dolls appear every quarter hour from the clock tower.

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