"It's a world of laughter,a world of tears,it's a world of hopes and a world of fears..." These lyrics bring to mind one of the world's best-loved Theme Park attractions-and this years's 45th anniversary celebration of Disneyland's "it's a small world" attraction is in full swing with colorful commemorative pins, brand-new books, and one very special art exhibit.
Originally, Walt Disney was approached by Pepsi to create the attraction in honor of UNICEF for the 1964 World's Fair-one of several attractions tested at the Fair and later reconstructed at Disneyland Park. Walt Disney thought it was a great idea and told the Imagineers they had apporximately six months to built it, which was a very short timeframe for the work. After several art directors took a shot at what it might look like, Walt Disney gave Mary Blair a call. Her chirldern's books from the early 1940s were perfect for this. She came out and did all the concept renderings. [Imagineer] Rolly Crump and a few other model builders were tapped to interpret her artwork into this immersive 3D world...it was very important that the set pieces looked exactly as she designed them.
Everyone on the team had a hand in this project-including her mother, Leota Toombs,aka, the Haunted Mansion's Madame Leota. Leota and Harriet Burns were very involved in building the models and Joyce Carlson was the lead on painting the dolls, toys, and fun little patterns. They used a paper-mache finish on the pieces so they looked very childlike-like a pinata. Imagineer/animator Marc Davis created many of the character vignettes, while his wife, Alice Davis,supervised the costume design and was meticulous in making sure each costume was accurate and detailed while maintaining the same quality as Mary's work.
When the attraction was rebuilt at Disneyland,it exceeded the size of its World Fair counterpart. Rolly added, expanded, and moved various scenes out of order-like the rain forest in South America. Walt Disney tasked him with designing a Rube Goldberg-style facade for the exterior (not previously in the New York World's Fair) because he [Rolly] loved making whirlgigs and mobiles. The Tower of the Four Winds(a focal point in the New York attraction)was replaced by Rolly's smiling-faced clock tower, which blended perfectly with Mary's whimsical designs.
"it's a small world" opened in Disneyland on May 28,1966, and continues to delight Guests on what Walt Disney used to call-Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort,Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris,and Hong Kong Disneyland. It's a true symbol of international unity with a positive message of peace...and that childern worldwide have so much in common. The adult appeal lies in the color palette and style of Mary's work-it's contemporary yet joyful and childlike. She has such a distinctive way of doing that.It really appeals to everyone.
Now through October 31,2011 at Disneyland Resort, guests can experience the timeless magic of Mary's work at the Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A. The show features 45 pieces and includes a cross-section of Mary's art for Studio,movie shorts, and WED [Imagineering]
Those with special "small world" memories can collect the limited-edition, commemorative pin featuring the childern of the world as a spinner element(to be released at the D23 Expo, August 19,2011) and several new childern's books that include art inspired by the attraction, a song CD, and more.
Fun Facts You Might Not Know About "it's a small world"...
1...The attraction features over 300 Audio-Animatronics figures of international childern, with more than 250 toys and 80 animated props.
2...New to the attraction are 29 popular Disney and Disney-Pixar characters(as costumed dolls) in the countries or regions where their stories take place. They include: Woody and Jessie(Spirit of America), Aladdin and Jasmine(Middle East), Mulan and Mushu(Asia), Ariel and Flounder(Pacific Islands), Alice and the White Rabbit(Great Britain), Lilo and Stitch(Pacific Islands/Hawaii), and Donald Duck,Panchito,and Jose Carioca(South America).
3...Imagineers carefully integrated the newly added characters to reflect the same bold,childlike designs of Mary Blair, the art director responsible for designing the look and feel of the original attraction.
4...To reflect the lyrics"There is just one moon and one golden sun", Imagineers designed a stylized sun or moon within each country's scene.
5...The Sherman Brothers' hit song was originally written as a slow ballad-until Walt Disney insisted they speed it up and make it "pepper."
so true, "it's Really a small world after all" ...DR LEE