Inspiration: It’s a Small World, in 1964

Sometimes people ask me what inspires my Mochimochi world, and although so many things do, sometimes I have trouble recalling them when put on the spot. So I thought it would be fun to start blogging my inspirations every once in a while as a good way to celebrate my favorite things and maybe inspire others too!

Slate recently ran an article about Robert Sherman, a composer for Disney who passed away earlier this month and who was partly responsible for “It’s a Small World (After All),” the much loved (but maybe more hated) song that never ends. The article contained a Youtube video of the original It’s a Small World ride, which debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC, then was later moved to Disneyland.

I started watching because I remembered loving the ride at Disneyworld when I was five or so (in the mid-’80s), and because I had a moment to kill. I pretty much fell in love all over again.

I can’t help fantasizing about being the person who got to plan out the landscape of this ride, with the objective of recreating the world as hundreds of children singing and dancing in perfect harmony and in respective national costumes. Oh the awesome nightmares I would probably have! The animatronics astound me, especially the way that entire scenes of characters each make multiple subtle movements in rhythm. It’s all so epic and analog and mid-century World’s Fair. And very Disney, of course.

The ride’s Wikipedia entry says that Mary Blair basically had that job of designing the original It’s a Small World. I should have guessed! You can see some of her artwork at Magic of Mary Blair. She is a huge inspiration.

You can also find clips of the ride in its current form on Youtube—it’s interesting to see how much has been kept from the original, but the newer ride also clearly features fewer moving parts, which I’m sure helps with maintenance costs, but which also makes it lose a little of the magic. Still, It’s a Small World will again be a must-ride for me the next time I find myself at a Disney theme park.


Oh, and if the song is stuck in your head for the rest of the week, my apologies!

6 thoughts on “Inspiration: It’s a Small World, in 1964

  1. I would watch this clip but I’m afraid it plays the song “It’s a Small World” which I’d then be humming for weeks and I’d miss Easter because I’d be in a mental hospital…

  2. As a fredquenter of the Wonderful Disney World park It’s a Small World is usually the place my husband and I threaten the other with as punishment for a silly argument or bet. Like who will win the Stanley cup. But you know if it were made of knitted children and critters I would put in some ear plugs and ride over and over just to check out the works!

  3. As a side thought, have you ever thought of making your own “Small World”? Maybe by collecting your fan’s Tiny’s and creating a piece. It would litterally be a small world!

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