Featured Attractions

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"it's a small world" at 50 Part 3: The Disney Dream Team

Having accepted the task of building an entirely new attraction on such short notice, Walt Disney decided to enlist a dream team of imagineers to begin the project. Mary Blair, a renowned artist who had worked on various projects for studio in the past, was brought in to use her eye for color and design to give the attraction the vibrant colors it needed to tell its charming story without being garish. She quickly began sketching out ideas and designs that would guide the visual look of the attraction.


Alice Davis, another Disney Legend, would take Ms. Blair's designs and use them to begin planning out how the singing dolls would look like and how they'd be dressed. Walt Disney had decided that this attraction would feature singing dolls representing the children of the world. Alice had to study native dress to come up with costumes that matched Mary's designs, yet accurately represented each country.


Since the project has to be on a fast track, Mr. Disney enlisted the assistance of Harriet Burns and Rolly Crump. Ms. Burns was well versed in the operations aspect of these attractions. The dresses worn by the dolls would have to be sturdy enough to withstand constant movement and designed such that they would be easy to remove and replace if needed. More importantly, however, Harriet's expertise was needed to get the show built and ready.


Rolly Crump was brought in to assist with getting things fast tracked and deal with the rather bland exterior that had already been set in stone prior to Walt Disney being brought in. Mr. Crump designed a whimsical sculpture called The Tower of the Four Winds which would entice fair goers into the attraction. 


As with all attractions, Walt Disney had it assembled at Walt Disney Imagineering before it would be boxed up and shipped back east. They activated the robotic dolls, turned on the show lighting and started playing the music, which at this time was merely going to be the national anthems of the various countries. Everything was great except for the music. It sounded horrible and they were certain that guests would probably try to climb out of their boats to get away from it. With deadlines looming and an attraction that was DOA in its then current incarnation, what was Walt going to do? He turned to the legendary Sherman Brothers to do what they always did- write something that would fix the problems in one fell swoop.