Magic Kingdom® Park
Preschoolers, Kids, Adults, All Ages
Sing along to the classic anthem of world peace during a delightful musical boat tour hosted by the children of the world. From a colorful dock, climb aboard a cozy boat and set sail along the Seven Seaways Waterway on a 10-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 you return home, the children reunite for a grand finale, reminding us of the common bonds of friendship, laughter and happiness we share—and that if we see the world through the eyes of a child, we’ll realize we are all basically the same.
Written and composed by an Academy Award®-winning team of brothers, the song "it's a small world" is a timeless classic.
As you sail the Seven Seaways, “it’s a small world” is lovingly sung by the children of the world in their native languages—including French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and English. Despite the change in language, the Sherman Brothers 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 approached Richard and Robert Sherman, 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 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.
"it's a small world" was created for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Personally overseen by Walt Disney in support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 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.
In 1971, “it’s a small world” was recreated to become one of the Opening Day attractions at Walt Disney World Resort. Due to its immense popularity, the attraction has been replicated in every Disney Resort around the world and is considered a Walt Disney classic.