It’s a small world: 50 years of bringing people together A look back at a historic partnership with UNICEF

“it’s a small world” is so emblematic of Disney around the world that it practically sums up Disneyland’s identity in one happy boat ride. Innovation, creativity, enchantment and technical know-how come together in this universal attraction, born in the studios of Walt Disney Imagineering (known as WED Enterprises at the time), the company founded by Walt Disney to design the first Disneyland and its attractions.

Conceived for the New York World’s Fair in 1964

In 1964, before the first Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California was even 10 years old, Walt Disney and his Imagineers were asked to design the UNICEF pavilion for the New York World’s Fair. The theme of the fair, peace through understanding, inspired the father of Mickey Mouse to create a musical cruise sailing through a colorful world, with children dancing and singing what would become the anthem of world peace: “it’s a small world.” The attraction was such a hit that Disney decided to move it to the Anaheim park after the fair was over. A version would later be featured in every Disney destination in the world.

An anniversary that celebrates fellowship

50 Fifty years and more than a billion budding sailors later, Disney parks worldwide have again partnered with UNICEF to celebrate universal fellowship. To mark this special anniversary, guests and Cast Members at Disneyland® Paris welcomed UNICEF representatives who came bearing a timeless message: a reminder of the importance of defending children’s rights. A host of events were organized around the globe that day, April 10, 2014, including conferences on nutrition, access to safe drinking water and education. To extend the event, a special website was created to help celebrate the anniversary.

Families and children can use it to record themselves singing “it’s a small world” and share the videos on social media. It is also a great place and opportunity to make a donation to UNICEF. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of Disney VoluntEARS, Disneyland Paris will welcome 254 children from UNICEF on November 20 for Universal Children’s Day.