NEW YORK — Disney has launched a website to create a global sing-along for “it’s a small world,” marking 50 years since the classic attraction with the unforgettable earworm of a song opened at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.
The “it’s a small world” ride became a centerpiece of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., in 1966, and the famous song still plays in a continuous loop at “small world” rides in Disney parks. (Disney doesn’t capitalize the song or ride.)
The new website, smallworld50.com, invites the public to submit videos of themselves singing the song. Fans can also create virtual dolls on the site, mixing and matching faces, clothes and other elements to build a unique avatar-like figure.
Walt Disney wanted the music and lyrics to be catchy and easy for kids to sing, but some adults find the tune inexplicably maddening, lodging in the brain for hours after emerging from the 12-minute boat ride.
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The original “small world” attraction was billed in 1964 as “a salute to UNICEF and all the world’s children.” To mark the 50th, Disney is donating $150,000 to UNICEF and will donate another $1 for each video and doll posted or shared on SmallWorld50.com or related social media, up to $100,000.
The website launched Friday with a video of singers from 25 countries performing the song. On April 10, a live sing-along will be held at Disneyland and Disney World, and will be paired with singalongs recorded earlier in the day from other Disney parks, to air on “Good Morning America” along with others singing snippets of the song.