Most people either love or hate this ride. I am in love with it!
So much so that when we made our plans to go to Disneyland and discovered that Small World was going to be closed for refurbishments during the time we planned on being there we changed our dates. This also changed the cost of our trip. In essence, we paid 300 dollars to ride a 15 minute boat trip.
"It's a Small World' was originally made for the 1964 World's Fair UNICEF pavilion in New York, and was called "Children of the World". The attraction was so popular that it was packed up and shipped to Disneyland after the close of the fair. Shipping stickers from 1965 can still be found on the back of some of the set pieces. At the reopening dedication at Disneyland in May 1966 children from around the world poured water from their native lands into the Seven Seaways. 100 regions of the world are represented with over 300 costumed audio-animatronic children.
The attraction was designed by legendary Disney artist, Mary Blair. It is meant to resemble a fantasy world crafted out of construction paper, ribbon, glitter, and paper mache'. The simplistic design of the sets are to mirror the imagination of children. Rumor has it that there is a specific doll that is meant to represent Mary Blair in the ride, a little blonde with glasses flying in a balloon over the Eiffel Tower in the Paris area. However, I have never seen a photo of Mary Blair ever wearing glasses, so I am not so sure about that claim.
Walt with Mary Blair
Richard and Robert Sherman (musical geniuses behind all sorts of wonderful Disney tunes, such as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book and non-Disney Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...) wrote the iconic and catchy tune. Walt asked them to make one song that could be translated into all the languages and played on a round. They made sure to use instruments that were from each region of the world that is pased through... bagpipes for Scotland, Peruvian reed flutes, Tahitian drums. The song, "It's a Small World" was so catchy that Walt renamed the ride after it!
Here are a few of our pics from our 'happiest cruise":
I was a bit bummed that the exterior of the attraction was a huge painted sheet. Because of the park preparing for their upcoming 60th anniversary celebration, several of the attractions were like this...even Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
The inside was gorgeous as I expected. Something different from Disney World is that Disneyland's Small World has 37 characters/dolls from various Disney features (Alice, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Nemo...) that were added in 2008. You can see Pinocchio in Italy above. I am not sure that I care for them. Their styling is not consistent and doesn't always mesh well with the long standing residents from 1964.
Here is the main reason, I love 'Small World' so much.
It has become tradition that PB and I take a picture together on the ride every year that we go to Disney.
(You can see Alice and the White Rabbit over our shoulders)
Here is a video of the 1966 dedication of Small World along with a ride through!
If the song happens to get ear-wormed into your mind for a hour or so after hearing it, consider this :
Robert Sherman Jr. says, "Since 1983, there has not been a moment when 'It's A Small World' wasn't playing in at least two locations on the globe."
As the story goes, The Storybook Land Canal boats are one of the original attractions of Disneyland's opening day in 1955.
Here are a few images of yesteryear.
When the ride first opened, it was really nothing more than a muddy stream with a few boats that conked out a lot. It closed after two months to have the miniature plants and buildings added, reopening in June of 1956.
The Casey Jr."is comin' down the track, comin' down the track, with a smokey stack "train has been weaving it's way around the canal since July 31, 1955. I love the caged cars with "Wild Animals" over the bars. We made sure to sit in one of those compartments on our ride!
Here are a couple of our pics from our visit. I love that whale. But, he is not quite the same. He is more rounded and cartoony looking now. I still think he is adorable and love that his blowhole still works! oh! And his eyes move too!
I was curious about the so called Giant's patchwork quilt and found a video of Lullaby Land. Here is the plot, it's very...bizarre :
A baby is transported to "Lullaby Land of Nowhere", where pacifiers grow on trees, diapers, bottles, and potty chairs march on parade, and the gingham dog comes to life. He wanders into the "forbidden garden", full of things like scissors, knives, and fountain pens that are not for baby and begins smashing watches with hammers and playing with giant matches. The matches chase after him; baby escapes by riding a bar of soap across a pond, but the smoke from the matches turns into boogey-men, which chase baby but vanish not long afterwards. The benevolent sandman, dressed as a wizard, spots baby hiding and works his magic, bringing baby to sleep.
But here is the weird thing. There is a giant patchwork quilt as part of a landscape in the short film but not a Giant's patchwork quilt. No Giant ever shows up or is even warned about. I read somewhere that sometimes the canal boat tour guides will tell the passengers to keep quit so as not to wake the sleeping Giant. The official Disneyland website claims it as The Giant's Patchwork Quilt.
Our next stop at Disneyland yesteryear is in Fantasyland!
The Mad Tea Party!
The Mad Tea Party was one of the original attractions on opening day of Disneyland, July 17, 1955. During the first couple of years the tea cups had no brakes or clutches, meaning they really could be spun madly as fast as you could handle!
Round and round and round we go until forever more!
Forward, backward, inward, outward, bottom to the top.
Never a beginning, there can never be a stop!
Whoa! I think I may have discovered another use for that spew, I mean ...sugar bowl!
As of present day, the teacups are still a beautiful site to behold!
I don't want to go among mad people so I sit this ride out due to having motion sickness. The fam tend to enjoy trying to push the limits of my Dramamine.
Here are the boys spinning, and on their unbirthdays at that!
"Do you want to go faster?! Raise your hand if you want to go FASTER!!"
After exiting the teacups, let us stumble our way over to the Alice In Wonderland ride.
Will you kindly pay attention to your history lesson? (I included pictures!)
The Alice in Wonderland ride opened at Disneyland in 1958.
You start the ride by boarding your very own smug "Who are you?" caterpillar for a dark adventure featuring scenes from the film.
"Nothing but a common mobile vulgaris!"
The original ride mostly relied on painted scenery and flat board characters from 1958-1984.
"What if I should fall right through the center of the earth...
and, come out on the other side, where people walk upside down?"
The voice of Alice in the 1951 Disney production is by Kathryn Beaumont (1938- )
which is also heard on the present day ride.
Everything about this ride, inside and out, is beautiful.
Artist Mary Blair inspired elements abound!
During the first years of Disneyland, tickets were needed to go on each of the rides/attractions. The large mushroom (still there!) in the front of the ride once housed a ticket booth.
"One side will make you grow taller....and the other side will make you grow shorter."
The Mad Hatter character years ago.
"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
And now for present day! Here are a couple of pics from our trip.
PB was posing for a picture standing next to the white rabbit sculpture when The Mad Hatter jumped in with him!
"Well, no wonder you're late! Why, this clock is exactly two days slow!"
"The other side of what?"
"The mushroom of course!" ticket booth as it looks now.
I utterly loved this ride. It won me over as a reason to come back to Disneyland, just to go on it again.
Here is a unbirthday present for you all! It has a glorious mix of lovey and creepy.
A live action sampling of the film featuring Kathy Beaumont, Sterling Holloway, Walt Disney, and sets by Mary Blair!!
Our first stop on this vintage trip to Disneyland is in Adventureland!
The Jungle River Cruise was an opening day attraction at Disneyland in 1955 and continues today with little change. Walt's original idea was for there to be live animals so guests could see them up close. He soon realized that real animals would never maintain the consistent show he truly wanted for the guests. The animals couldn't be trusted to stay in areas where they would remain visible, they would be sleeping during most of the day, and would surely become irritated by the constant stream of gawkers. Disney, along with his imagineers, answered this issue with using autonomatronics which was in it's early stages.
Here is an early version of the cruise:
Walt taking care of those hippos with their wiggling angry ears!
There is a story reporting Walt once overheard a mother tell her child that they needn't go on the Jungle River Cruise again because they went on it the last time they visited the park. This upset Walt so he put his Imageeneers to work at "plussing" up the ride. It was around this time that the boat tour guides shifted more away from the dialog sounding like a documentary and becoming more of the pun-laden presentation we are all used to today.
Here are our photos we took on our trip to Disneyland this year. The only major change seen from the original 1955 version is the look of the boats. In 1993 they were made to appear more weathered with the red and white striped canopies being replaced and the boats in general made to look looking more grungy.
"Slide all the way forward now... that's the only way we have of keeping the cushions clean!"
"How many of you are on the Jungle Cruise for the first time? Good! So am I."
"If you want to take pictures, go ahead. All the elephants have their trunks on!"
I really love the Jungle River Cruise, puns and all!
The "Happiest Place On Earth", Disneyland, premiered 60 years ago today.
That shows you the magic of the place....They knew already it was going to be the happiest place on earth before the gates officially opened on July 18 to the public!
I am here to confess. My family are Disney World addicts. When we are not at Disney, we are talking about when our next trip may be. We keep up with refurbishments schedules and check into the wait times for 'Pirates' while sitting on the couch. "Only 10 minutes! Why are we not at Disney right now!!"
We live in Florida so we have the luxury of getting the Florida resident pass discount pricing and it's 'only' an 8 hour drive to get there. So why even go to Disneyland? It's clear across the country and it's smaller. That's the reasoning we told ourselves for the past 6 years and we happily went to Disney World instead.
This year we decided it was time to make the pilgrimage. We have such an admiration for Walt Disney, the man, and we needed to experience some of what he originally created and envisioned.
I started a Disney Pinterest Board in preparation for the trip with so many lovely vintage images of the park. I wondered would it be this beautiful still? Would it still have some of the original feel? I hoped that super cute whale was still there.
Stay tuned for the answers.
I will be doing a series of posts featuring our most favorite attractions at Disneyland along with vintage images and history of the park.
Let's start with the inception of Disneyland.
During WWII Walt started turning an idea over in his head. He wanted to create a place that children and adults could have fun together...a magical park. It wasn't until 1953 that plans really started under way for the future Disneyland. Construction began July 21, 1954. That was less than a year before the projected opening day!
To fund the project, Walt turned to ABC television network. He provided a weekly hour long program that promoted the future Disneyland and other Disney projects. It began airing a year before the park's opening and surely helped promote the anticipation of Disneyland.
Here is a behind the scenes progress report of Disneyland televised on ABC July 13, 1955.
Opening Day didn't quite turn out to be the happiest day for the park though, having many disasters. It was meant to be only a preview of the park with only special guests and celebrities invited to attend. Far more than should have been there showed up...apparently with excellently made forged tickets. The environment, alone, was treacherous, A 15 day heat wave raised temperatures up to 110 degrees. Also, due to a plumber's strike, Disney was given the choice of working drinking fountains or running toilets, which he choose the latter. The newly poured asphalt, coupled with the extreme heat, promoted trapping ladies high heel shoes in smelly black goo. The day became known as "Black Sunday".
With the magic of television (steering clear of televising most of the disasters) , the opening ceremony was unveiled during a special nationwide press event on ABC television network July 17, 1955 . Anchoring the event were three of Walt's friends from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan.
See it for yourself!
Here's your ticket...promise it's not fake!
So let's venture forward, or maybe I should say backward to the Disneyland of yesteryear!
We have a few trips planned this summer that are fast approaching. To keep us entertained for a marginal part of the adventure I made us a few no-batteries-required fundries (that's sundries that are fun, get it?).
Everything involves laminated paper and a simple wipe off marker!
Magic slates are so fun! Finding neat vintage ones that still work is a bit of a task and can be somewhat pricey. While these do not have the added bonus of lifting the crinkly screen to magically remove the scratched-on doodles, they are still fun to doodle on. To make these I found a few images of cute vintage Magic Slates which I printed out and then laminated. After the road trip I think I may put a magnet on the back and place them on the fridge for writing reminders and notes on.
An actual Etch-A-Sketch is a great item for travel since it is all self contained and hours are needed to produce something decent. I made these really to just be wipe-off blank slates for drawing on.
Dapper Dan (aka Woolly Willie)
Dapper Dan, in his original form, is also a self contained toy but truthfully frustrating to manipulate while traveling down the road. I think this is an improvement and much easier for facial feature fashioning since it only involves drawing.
Everything I made is just printed images that I laminated at PB's school. If you don't have access to a laminating machine, clear contact paper could be used. I also mounted everything on card stock prior to laminating so it would have a more substantial backing.
Here are the images that I used if you are interested in making some road trip fundries for yourself!
The Dapper Dan has a back with "serving suggestions"!
Because we do have a few small trips impending, MHICTY will also be on vacation for a couple of weeks. I will see you all back in the near future with adventures to report upon!
With it being National Fried Chicken Day let's celebrate with some finger lick'n goodness.
I have a mixed piece bucket of random KFC pressure fried fun for you!
I found this really neat clip from 1963 of Colonel Sanders on the television show "What's My Line?"
In recent times, KFC was come up with some superbly funny commercials and advertising featuring SNL's Darrell Hammond.
"And if I could, I'd put chicken in the lemonade."
On the KFC website is a "Hall of Colonels" that is cute and quirky. Each colonel tells a little story/ song/interactive video game about his peculiar life. Stuff like him shooting someone and delivering babies. You get to do these things in the video game too!
But by far my favorite Colonel Sanders-ness is this vintage picture of a little girl wearing a mask of him and hanging out with Spiderman and Batman!