Walt Disney wanted to show the world what his organization was doing at DISNEYLAND and what it was capable of accomplishing. Fifty million guests had experienced the magic firsthand in Anaheim, but Mr. Disney saw that he could reach a larger audience by creating new attractions for the 1964 World's Fair. He quickly put together attractions for Ford, the State of Illinois and General Electric. It was a last minute attraction request for Pepsi-Cola that created a beloved attraction that is still enjoyed by millions the world over- it's a small world.
Mr. Disney brought the attraction in under budget and on time, using the artistry of Mary Blair to create a magical, colorful world.
The original facade didn't reflect the magic found inside. Since the attraction had to be built quickly, Walt Disney chose to concentrate on the magical sights inside the building.
When it came time to design the building for DISNEYLAND, however, Walt Disney didn't skimp on anything. The exterior was a stylized version of various world landmarks, reflecting the magic found within.
The cheerful exterior lives on today in Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom as a bright, inviting and magical destination beloved by children everywhere.
The second it's a small world attraction was built in Florida's Magic Kingdom Park in 1971. This version of the attraction was overseen by Roy Disney and was decidedly lower profile. Instead of the elaborate facade, this version was given a plain look that blended in with the circus atmosphere of the park's Fantasyland.
In Tokyo Disneyland, the company returned to the more elaborate facade of the original it's a small world. In Tokyo, the building is an almost exact replica of the Anaheim original.
In Paris, the facade was changed, but it still recalled the Anaheim original more than the plain Florida copy.
The newest it's a small world in Hong Kong returns to the original design from DISNEYLAND. When Walt Disney Imagineering sat down to plan out Hong Kong, they sought to build the best versions of the various attractions from around the world. When the separate groups came together they realized that the best of the best were all from the original DISNEYLAND.
Over fifty years later, the magical spires of it's a small world still attract millions of children of all ages, just like its creator wanted.
"It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
It's a world of hopes and a world of fears
There's so much that we share that it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all."