Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


What is the Sound of Walt Disney Turning in His Grave?

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

The It’s a Small World attraction has Disneyland’s most annoying song, yes, but also its most enlightened message. Originally created by Disney artist Mary Blair for the 1964 World’s Fair, the ride partnered with UNICEF to make a statement about shared humanity using images of doll children around the world. Created at the height of the Cold War, it was refreshingly free of both political posturing and Disney product placement. But no more. Today, Disneyland unveiled an updated version of It’s a Small World.

Re-Imagineering, a newsletter for discontented Disney designers, revealed last year that Disneyland would insert Mickey Mouse, Nemo, Belle and other trademarked characters into the experience. Disneyland is also replacing a New Guinea rainforest scene with a “loud, garish, tacky and aggressively incongruous Hooray for U.S.A. set piece.” Blair and the original designers consciously gave the United States equal, limited billing with the other countries (a simple cowboy and Indian in the finale). The changes were made while the ride’s boats were made larger to accommodate today’s larger tourists.

Post by Jack Skelley | Photo by Daryl Mitchell via Flickr