Monday, January 28, 2019

It's a Small World, Sponsored by Bank of America

The façade of "It's a Small World" looks like an incredibly elaborate craft project, made of foam core, gold foil doilies, a few different shades of gray papers, and so on. Maybe that's part of its appeal? Cutting all those shapes would take some skill and patience - or you could just use a 3-D printer and really go nuts. I'd love to make a version that is 4 or 5 feet wide!

A trio of sailors is curious about "The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed 'Round the World". Will thar be grog? Aye, mateys! Notice the trees atop the IASW building, famously put on the scale model temporarily by Rolly Crump - Walt liked it and they became a part of the decor for many years. 

If nothing else, this is a different angle than we typically see. I'll take what I can get. I'm fascinated by the abstract topiaries - they resemble chess pieces, or totem poles. 

If you look above the striped awnings on the control stations, you can see the train tunnel to the extreme left.


Nanook said...


My modeling substance of choice was always styrofoam blocks, as I just loved using the 'hot wire' to melt and cut each piece. (Who needs a 3-D printer-??) And who would'a guessed the lad in the stripy tee shirt would choose that fine, new white railing to engage in his daily Yoga exercises right there in the sunshine, as a cat would do if so allowed-?

Thanks, Major.


Major: “It’s A Small World” resembles a art craft project for good reason : the earliest concept for the attraction was a “tour of the world as depicted by childrens rainy day art project” - original UNICEF was going to have children around the world do drawings of various countries etc. there was no time to have the drawings made and collected and interpreted by WED imagineers so WED would create artwork in childlike style: and Walt brought in Mary Blair.

When we made the models of the It’s A Small World exteriors for HONG KONG DISNEYLAND we used laser cut acrylic done in layers to recreate the multiple levels of the facade.

Love the original 1966 Disneyland facade!

Anonymous said...

I love the bright white against a brilliant blue sky. Interesting costume on the RO in the center tower. I wonder when the costumes changed to the present-day red pants and blue/white stripe shirts (for guys).

K. Martinez said...

I've always loved the original blue marquee ("it' a small world" presented by BANK OF AMERICA). The facade for "it's a small world" and the entry area never looked better than this.

Check out those beautifully coordinated trash cans. I spot three. Thanks, Major.

Irene said...

In the first photo I spy one - ONE! - stroller. Now that area is awash in them.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I can smell the melting styrene now! I have barely ever used a hot wire - people at school used them, but it seemed like it was for large carving rather than for small precise cutting. Maybe it can be for both?

Mike Cozart, I have never heard that story about the kid’s drawings. Cool! I think that the decision to use Mary Blair (and Rolly Crump) was the right one, it seems like the various scenes would have varied in style so much, while Mary’s style unified the look. I wish I could see photos of the laser cut acrylic model from Hong Kong Disneyland!

Anon, I didn’t even know that the present-day costume for men is red pants and a striped shirt! My guess is that the costumes evolved quite a bit over the years; when I look at photos of Alice, they all look basically the same, but often the details vary from picture to picture.

K. Martinez, there were lots of fun trash can designs in Disneyland, but I personally love those Fantasyland cans with the Small World-inspired designs. It just says “Disneyland” to me! There was one in the recent Richard Kraft auction, it went for $16,000.

Major Pepperidge said...

Irene, oh my gosh, you are right! How can that be? Is it because the park wasn't crowded? Did people make their toddlers walk?

Anonymous said...

Major...remember the 'Baby Bust' generation? All us Baby Boomers had left strollers by 1966. KS

JC Shannon said...

I love the design of the facade. For me it is fully one half of the experience. It is whimsical and beckons the guest to see what is inside. Genius. I have said it before, it could use, in my humble opinion, some color. It is also a great message for the world. Walt and the Imagineers really swung for the fences. Thanks Major.

Graffer said...

I wish they would bring back the greenery on the roof. Such a simple detail that added to the ambiance but was reportedly lost due to maintenance costs.

Bring it back and reduce the 'death by a thousand cuts' by one.

Anonymous said...

So many reasons to love IASW.

Thanks Major.


Chuck said...

I loved going through that tunnel, because that meant we were about to head through the iasw facade. Ahh, the days when there was a long, leisurely (and, arguably, more interesting) train ride between Frontierland/NOS and Tomorrowland. I love the Grand Canyon and Primeval World, but that segment couldn't be beat for sheer visual variety.

Interesting to note the different uniforms the sailors are wearing. The guy on the left is wearing short-sleeved Summer Dress Whites, the sailor in the middle is wearing Service Dress Whites, and the fella on the right is wearing a white t-shirt and Mickey Mouse boxers.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, is that really a thing?? I honestly don’t remember hearing the term “baby bust generation” before. And I liked a stroller until I was about 15.

Jonathan, that façade is definitely a case of “plussing” what was otherwise an ugly steel shed. It seems like they had so much room in that back corner of Fantasyland, they really went all out to make everything big, including the plaza area for the throngs of people they were expecting.

Graffer, I have no doubt that maintenance was the reason those trees were removed. I wish I knew how long they remained there; I suppose not many people even noticed them, so maybe they were right to do it, even if I don’t like it.

JG, you are welcome!

Chuck, I loved the whole train ride, but I know that as a kid I wanted to “see the dinosaurs” - that was the part that really got me jazzed. Today, I might like the Grand Canyon (modern day) part more. And Sailor Fred was always chilly, thus the long sleeves. Mickey Mouse boxers, ha ha; my grandma constantly bought me clothes with Mickey on them, including some nice neckties (a subtle Mickey pattern) and yes, boxers.

Melissa said...

DING DING DING! Babushka alert, second picture, far left!

The chessmen topiaries are awesome! Do they have the dancing chessmen in the UK section of the original attraction? They're one of my favorite bits of the Florida version.

If I was in charge of Where Things Go in Walt Disney World, I'd build a new show building for iasw where the old Odyssey restaurant sits (mostly) abandoned on the edge of World Showcase in EPCOT. It's a lovely spot with a great Vista, with room for a facade to rival the West Coast and a sheltered indoor queue and load area beyond. (And maybe a more convenient accessible queue.) Then I'd lift Frozen Ever After out of the Norway Pavilion where it doesn't fit and keeps breaking down because the old Maelstrom infrastructure can't support it, and put it in the old iasw space. Rant over.


ANON & MAJOR: the red and blue “gondolier” costume was created by Disney costume designer Tom Pierce : he actually created it for debut at Walt Disney World but the costume was tested at Disneyland around 1970. That costume was used at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World till about 1993 when a pastel blue and white “gondolier” costume went into use. Tokyo Disneyland used the red and blue style costume from 1983 untill very recently.

MAJOR: some of those earliest concept renderings - before Mary Blair was onboard were auctioned by Disney when Disney worked with EBAY and their “DISNEY AUCTIONEERS”
The project was called UNICEF’s WORLD CRUISE TOUR.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I see it! Yes, Anaheim has the dancing chessmen. I’m not familiar enough with EPCOT to picture where your IASW would go, but it sounds neat. I would love it if they could come up with a unique facade, possibly in the same style, but not identical. Use some of Mary Blair’s many concept pieces as a guide, perhaps. I didn’t know that the Frozen ride kept breaking down!

Mike Cozart, oh interesting, I always assumed that the gondolier thing was from 1966. And I am amazed that it was used all the way through 1993! I remember when eBay was selling stuff direct from Disney… the prices were sometimes nuts. I did win one of those souvenir programs from the Mickey Mouse Club Circus, but that was the only thing. Imagine having some of those early concept pieces, wow.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to take exception to Mike on the wardrobe of IASW. I wore the red, white and blue w/hat gondolier uniform back in 1976-1977. Perhaps I'm missing something. And yes, there was a generation called Baby Bust...I think it morphed into Generation X. KS