And now for the history/ pop culture side of my WordPress. Last week it was on Victorian Mourning Jewelry. This week it is on “It’s a Small World Ride!”
This ride was originally called “Children of the World” and it was for the 1964’s World’s Fair. The fair was divided into sections and this was meant for the UNICEF.
Pepsi-Cola was asked to sponsor the UNICEF section of the fair however the board of directors could not decide on what to do and put in that section. Interestingly enough Joan Crawford stepped in! She was the widow of former Pepsi president Alfred Steele and she still had somewhat of say on the board.
So Joan Crawford approached one of the long time friends who happen to be Walt Disney and asked him if he could make an attraction for this section. However this collaboration was met with criticism. The other members on the board did not want to have Walt Disney work on this. Joan Crawford came to defense of Disney saying that since they took too long on deciding what to sponsor that the deadline was approaching sooner than later. She also pointed out that Disney was also working on various other attractions in the fair and was able to have him and his team finish this pavilion in 11 months time.
AND THEY DID!
Walt Disney was able to open this pavilion on time and even did an opening ceremony for it. He invited more than five hundred children from around the world to participate in the event. (The video above is some footage of the opening ceremony day)
This ride set precedent for many things in Disney parks as well as other parks worldwide:
Walt Disney noticed how efficient doing boat rides in the attraction that many other rides such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” follow that way and that method is still in use today.
UNICEF had a small gift shop connected to the exit of the “Children of the World” ride that many of the Disney parks and other parks have the same layout for all of the rides.
During it’s run at the World’s Fair this attraction sold over 8 million tickets.
After the World’s Fair ended in 1966 the Children of the World ride moved into the Disneyland Park.
“Children of the World” was always a working title for this ride it wasn’t until the Sherman Brothers was by Disney for a song that could be sung in different languages and that could represent all of the countries in the world.
The Sherman brothers came up with the song It’s Small World (after all) from the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). From that destruction and chaos they wanted to promote unity and peace throughout the world.
Mary Blair (who is one of my favorite Disney artists) was responsible for making the color palettes and aesthetic of the ride. She truly set herself apart from other Disney artist during that period.
Until Next time!!