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How Old Is “It’s a Small World” at Disney?

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“It’s a Small World” is a beloved and iconic attraction that has graced the Disney theme parks for over half a century. Its vibrant colors, mesmerizing scenes, and catchy tune have captivated millions of visitors, making it one of the most recognized and celebrated rides in Disney’s history. But exactly how old is “It’s a Small World” at Disney? This comprehensive article will delve into the history and evolution of this timeless attraction.


“It’s a Small World” at Disney is 57 years old as of September 30, 2023. The attraction was first introduced at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and later relocated to Disneyland, where it officially opened on May 28, 1966.

The Birth of “It’s a Small World”

“It’s a Small World” was first introduced at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Originally created by Walt Disney in support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the ride was designed to promote peace and unity among different cultures and nations. The attraction was a massive hit at the World’s Fair, with an estimated ten million tickets collected in two half-year seasons. The proceeds from the ride were donated to UNICEF, further emphasizing Disney’s commitment to promoting global unity.

The Journey to Disneyland

After the World’s Fair, the attraction was relocated to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, where it officially opened on May 28, 1966. As of today, September 30, 2023, “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland is 57 years old. The ride was an instant success at Disneyland, thanks to its charming design, engaging theme, and innovative use of audio-animatronics.

Expansion to Other Disney Parks

The popularity of “It’s a Small World” led to its expansion to other Disney parks. A version of the ride also opened in Florida’s Walt Disney World Fantasyland within Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971. As of today, the ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is 52 years old. Since then, “It’s a Small World” has become a global phenomenon, with versions of the ride also opening in Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

The Evolution of “It’s a Small World”

Throughout the years, “It’s a Small World” has evolved to keep up with changing times and to promote inclusivity. The ride now features dolls using wheelchairs, a move that reflects Disney’s ongoing efforts to make their attractions more inclusive and diverse. Moreover, some parks offer a special holiday version of the ride, where the dolls sing “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” in addition to the main theme.

Key Features and Attractions

“It’s a Small World” is a water-based boat ride that takes guests on a 10-minute journey through all seven continents, represented by over 300 audio-animatronic dolls dressed in traditional clothing from different cultures. The ride’s design and scenes were created by a team of talented Disney artists and Imagineers, including Mary Blair, Marc Davis, Alice Davis, Rolly Crump, and Blaine Gibson.

The Impact of “It’s a Small World”

“It’s a Small World” has made a significant impact on the overall Disney park experience. Its timeless message of peace and unity, memorable music, appealing design, global presence, and inclusivity have all contributed to its enduring popularity. The ride’s message of global connection and togetherness is an essential part of the Disney park experience, as it reminds guests that we are all connected to one another.


“It’s a Small World” is more than just a ride; it’s a symbol of unity, peace, and understanding. Despite its age, the ride remains a beloved part of the Disney experience, captivating the hearts of millions of visitors each year. As Walt Disney once said, “It’s a small world after all.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Who composed the music for “It’s a Small World”?

The music for “It’s a Small World” was composed by the Sherman Brothers, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. They were known for their work in Disney films and theme parks.

What is the duration of the “It’s a Small World” ride?

The “It’s a Small World” ride lasts approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on the park.

How many languages can be heard in the “It’s a Small World” ride?

The “It’s a Small World” ride features the iconic song sung in multiple languages, including English, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish, among others.

Has “It’s a Small World” undergone any major renovations?

Yes, “It’s a Small World” has undergone several renovations throughout its history. The most significant renovation was in 2008 at Disneyland, where the ride was closed for 10 months for a major refurbishment. The renovation included updates to the ride’s infrastructure and the addition of characters from Disney films in the various countries.

Is “It’s a Small World” accessible for visitors with disabilities?

Yes, “It’s a Small World” is accessible for visitors with disabilities. Disney parks offer services such as wheelchair accessibility and handheld captioning for guests with hearing impairments.

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