It’s a Small World Brochure (1967)

This 1967 brochure, produced in partnership by Bank of America and Walt Disney Productions, was distributed at Disneyland in the first year of the attraction’s relocation from the New York World’s Fair. The front cover features a photograph from one of the attraction’s many memorable scenes (the French can-can dancers), while the interior includes a cartoon map outlining the route of the “Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed,” as well as various information relating to the attraction and its new Disneyland sponsor.

The attraction had initially been developed by WED Enterprises for the Pepsi-Cola – UNICEF pavilion at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair and was an immediate success, thanks to the talents of such individuals as Mary Blair, whose touch of whimsy and unique color-stylings gave the attraction its highly-memorable aesthetic. Rolly Crump’s additional design work supplemented Blair’s, while staying true to the style she’d established. He also designed both the Tower of the Four Winds and animated-clock marquees that fronted the attraction at the World’s Fair and Disneyland, respectively. Well-known Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson designed the famed Audio-Animatronic dolls that populate the attraction, while Alice Davis handled costume design. Her husband Marc—master-animator-turned-Imagineer—provided much of the character and scene design. And, of course, Richard and Robert Sherman penned the immortal title track, now the most performed and widely-translated song in the history of the world.

Upon the fair’s closure in October 1965, the attraction (along with others that Disney created especially for the event) made its way back to California, and in the following months, was refurbished and installed in its new Fantasyland home. Among the changes was the addition of the “North Pole” at the start of the “North America” section, as well as a drastic expansion of the “Europe” section. An animated recreation of the attraction’s updated track can be seen on three panels of the brochure, the route winding through North America, Scandinavia, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Oceania before the memorable grand finale. The following narration accompanies the map:

A Smile In Any Language


As the ride begins, on every side is the whimsical handiwork of Disney artisans. Just ahead is the storied span of London Bridge. To the right looms the filigreed replica of the Eiffel Tower. On the left, in all its white majesty, stands the Taj Mahal. A golden Oriental sun hangs in the sky…wearing a flowing veil. A starch-stiff Buckingham Palace guard stands at attention…with an egg on his head. You are surrounded by a flood of music as the boat glides along the Seven Seaways, and one scene merges into another as the children of “Small World” sing and dance to the show’s lilting title tune. There are hundreds of animated figures of children, animals and toys performing in the cast. A gondolier guides his vessel as he sings the show’s theme song in the style of an Italian aria; a pint-sized hula dancer undulates to the same notes, orchestrated in the soft, lazy melody of the South Seas. Bank of America’s philosophy coincides with that expressed in the lyrics of the “Small World” song…a smile means friendship in any language.

The six interior panels are dedicated to an advertisement for the attraction’s sponsor, with a map highlighting Bank of America locations the world over, as well as several paragraphs of text establishing the company as the world’s largest and most reputable financial institution. The relationship between Disney and Bank of America dates back to the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a film they helped to finance. They would provide backing for many of the studio’s early animated films, as well as play a large role in funding the construction of Disneyland, even maintaining a fully-functional branch on Main Street, USA, for several decades.

The final two panels of the brochure are dedicated to the ultra-popular theme song which is synonymous with the famed attraction, as well as the Audio-Animatronics technology developed by WED Enterprises and first showcased in its full glory at the New York World’s Fair. The system, which brought Abe Lincoln and hundreds of singing dolls to life at the fair, of course, went on to become a staple of countless future Disney attractions.

Words to the popular theme song by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman


It’s a Small World


It’s a world of laughter,

a world of tears;

It’s a world of hopes

and a world of fears.

There’s so much that we share

that it’s time we’re aware,

It’s a small world after all.


It’s a small world after all,

It’s a small world after all.

It’s a small world after,

It’s a small small world.


There is just one moon

and one golden sun

And a smile means friendship

to every one.

Though the mountains divide

and the oceans are wide,

It’s a small world after all.


It’s a small world after all,

It’s a small world after all.

It’s a small world after,

It’s a small small world.


Space-Age Animation


“Audio-Animatronics” is the word coined by Walt Disney to describe the ingenious electronic system used to animate “It’s a Small World.” The system, a fascinating adaptation of space-age electronics to the field of entertainment, combines and synchronizes voices, music and sound effects with movement. Disney technicians, appropriately called “Imagineers,” have used a one-inch magnetic tape, which contains 32 concurrent tracks, to control all the sounds and movements in the entire “Small World” show.


The tape sends music and voices simultaneously to speakers throughout the ride while sound impulses operate pneumatic and hydraulic valves inside the performing figures. By this electronic miracle “life” is brought to the little people of “It’s a Small World.”


Space-age ingenuity is combined with the ageless arts and crafts of the sculptor, costumer and toy-maker to complete the presentation. Skilled artisans modeled the figures, which had to be constructed to allow freedom of movement, as well as space for the complicated valves which activate them through sound impulses. Costumes are hand-made and authentic down to the last stitch. They are fashioned from Indian silks, Guatemalan cottons, Scottish wool and many other materials.


Situated in Fantasyland, “It’s a Small World” beckons irresistibly to the Disneyland visitor. At each quarter hour, crowds gather outside the enormous animated clock which is the entrance to “Small World.” As the chimes ring, wheels turn, pendulums swing, doors open, and a parade of performing figures from all nations comes out, to the tune of the “Small World” song played in toy clock fashion.


In front of everything the bright blue and white sign of Bank of America offers a familiar welcome to the “Small World” of fantasy…the same welcome it extends to its customers in the “Big World” of reality.

This brochure, dating back to the early days of one of Disneyland’s (and the world’s) most popular theme-park attractions, represents a nice collectible with plenty of artwork and text inspired by the “Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed.”


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