Last week, Disney resorts around the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of “It’s a Small World.” From Disneyland in Anaheim, California to Toyko, Japan, thousands of Cast Members and guests came together to celebrate. Disney Parks hosted a sing-along, incorporating all the Disney resorts. Good Morning America was there to cover the live event.
I’m not going to lie, getting up at 4:00 a.m. for this event was painful. However, it was worth every minute to see this celebration. Seeing the Disneyland Cast Member Choir practice their part over and over brought tears to my eyes, giving me a whole new appreciation for the song written so many years ago.
Throughout the day, Disney Parks all over the world celebrated in different ways. All five resorts joined in the worldwide sing-along and held other events to commemorate the 50th anniversary.
• At Hong Kong Disneyland, approximately 200 resort Cast Members, along with students from Hong Kong Children’s Choir, gathered in the park to sing “It’s a Small World” in Cantonese. A traditional Chinese lion dancer joined in the celebration to offer blessings for the anniversary.
• Tokyo Disneyland Cast Members and guests celebrated and sang the song in Japanese.
• A “blue carpet” event featured the international Cast Members of Disneyland Paris. They gathered on Main Street, U.S.A., representing 100 nationalities. Nearly 200 international children and 50 choir performers sang a multi-language version of the iconic anthem in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
• A choir of Disneyland Resort Cast Members sang the song in front of the original attraction at Disneyland Park in Anaheim. Songwriter Richard Sherman chatted with fans via Google Hangout while sitting at a piano in front of the attraction. He also appeared in a sing-along cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A., conducting hundreds of Disneyland guests in their “It’s a Small World” sing-along.
• At Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, international Cast Members from the pavilions of Epcot led a choir of children in song in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. Also, hundreds of Magic Kingdom guests joined in the song during a special “pre-parade” before the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. Throughout the day, in-park performers–the Dapper Dans, Coke Corner Pianist, Notorious Banjo Brothers, Royal Majesty Maker Musicians, and Main Street Philharmonic–included “It’s a Small World” in their appearances.
Since the beginning, Disney and UNICEF have partnered to make the world a better, safer place for children. Going into the events, visitors from more than 150 nations had already joined the celebration at SmallWorld50.com. They designed enough digital dolls and recorded enough videos of themselves singing the song to reach half of Disney’s goal on the site, and they will continue to play along through May 30. Disney will donate $150,000 to benefit UNICEF as part of the anniversary celebration, plus $1 for every video or doll created (up to $100,000).
UNICEF works to provide health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more to children around the world.
Several bloggers were able to get a behind-the-scenes take on this event. It was such an honor to be part of Disney history. Seeing the coverage was remarkable, and is something I will never forget. Head over to SmallWorld50 and make your doll today!
I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Celebration conference. I was provided compensation or products to review. All options are my own.