Celebrating “It’s a Small World”
"On a bright and sunny Saturday, May 28, 1966, Walt Disney and Louis B. Lundborg, Chairman of Bank of America (the initial sponsor of it’s a small world), were joined by 36 foreign consular officials, the International Children’s Choir of Long Beach, folk dancers, marching bands, and “children from 16 ethnic groups” who brought water from the “seven seas and nine major lagoons” to pour into small world‘s Seven Seaways. Walt even added a splash of Disneyland itself by including water from the Rivers of America from a canteen! (This wonderful piece of theater, dubbed “Operation Water,” was the brainchild of publicist and Disney Legend Jack Lindquist.) The popularity of it’s a small world was as great, if not greater, at Disneyland than it was at the World’s Fair—so much so that the attraction has been replicated in every Disney park around the globe: Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and the upcoming Shanghai Disneyland Park. “Peace Through Understanding” was the theme of the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, and it’s a theme that continues to resonate around the world, thanks in part to Walt Disney’s it’s a small world.