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Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

As some of you may know, I was in Orlando when Hurricane Irma came a knockin’ at Florida’s door. Yes, I knew it was going to hit somewhere in Florida. Yes, I knew people were starting to evacuate. Yes, I knew it probably wasn’t a good idea to fly INTO a hurricane. Yes, I went anyway. Hey – it’s Disney and I’m an addict. (more…)

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That’s right folks, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s contribution to the 1964 world’s fair – his “little boat ride,” sponsored by Pepsi to benefit Unicef.

Disneyland's It's A Small World at Christmas. Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog

Disneyland’s It’s A Small World at Christmas. Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog

“When we completed ‘It’s a Small World’ for presentation at the New York World’s Fair, we felt that we had accomplished what we’d set out to do. We wanted to foster a better understanding among the nations of the world by showing the dress, the customs, the language, the music, and a little of the culture of our neighbors around the world – – and we wanted to show it to be a very happy one. And I think it’s safe to say that having fun has universal appeal.” -Walt Disney

Who would have thought that this delightful little one minute boat ride, complete with animated dolls and a musical ditty in multiple languages would have survived the test of time? Did you know that when Mr. Disney had the ride dismantled and moved to its permanent home in Fantasyland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California he called upon dignitaries from more than 50 different countries to help fill the water canal for his “little boat ride?” That’s right, 50 children from 50 different countries brought water from their native countries to pour into the canal that carries millions of people annually through the magical small world of animated dolls.

Now imagine if Walt wanted to complete this project today and asked 50 little kids to bring water to California. Can you just see them trying to explain to the TSA officers at various airports around the world, “Yes, it is only water that I’m trying to bring on board with me. I’m taking it to Mr. Disney to pour into a canal for a new exhibit that’s opening in Disneyland. No, I’m not going to make explosives with it. It’s sacred water, symbolizing the united bond between all countries around the world.” Yeah right. That’ll work.

But, I digress. It’s A Small World was not Walt’s first exhibit to be featured at a world’s fair. In 1958, in conjunction with General Electric, Walt debuted his “Progressland” attraction; a revolving theater that sent audiences on an historical musical journey through the evolution of electricity. That very same attraction still exists in the form of The Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom park in Disney World Florida.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot - Disney World - Florida. Photo courtesy Google Images.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot – Disney World – Florida. Photo courtesy Google Images.

Also appearing at the 1964 world’s fair were the magic skyway attraction, an aerial ride narrated by Walt himself that toured Earth’s past from the dawn of time through the age of the dinosaurs, culminating in a glimpse of Walt’s vision for a futuristic space city. Does this sound familiar to you Disney buffs? That’s right, a similar time travel attraction exists in the form of Spaceship Earth at Epcot at Disney World. And a similar time-travel experience can be had riding the Disneyland railroad around the park. The skyway ride at Disneyland, however, no longer exists for various reason, all of which are too discouraging for me to mention here. Suffice it to say, the sky buckets were a popular attraction for amorous lovers and bratty “camel-like” kids, if you know what I’m saying.

Abraham Lincoln, from Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Abraham Lincoln, from Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

And last, but not least, one of my all-time favorite attractions also got its start at the 1964 world’s fair; Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. I love this show and the similar show at Disney World – The Hall of Presidents. Very inspiring narrative and ingenious use of audio-animatronics, the first ever of its kind. If you haven’t seen Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln and have a few minutes to spare, or if you have seen it and just need to see it again, here’s a link:

So that’s my Disney history lesson and tribute to a family-favorite Disney ride (well one of mine, the hubs isn’t so keen on it), It’s A Small Word. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.

So, how about you, are you a Disney nut? Do you like to ride It’s A Small World? What’s your favorite Disney attraction? Come on, spill it. I’m dying to know.

Word of the day: Vermeil

Fun fact about me: My favorite Disney ride is the Peter Pan flight.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt January 2014. Photos courtesy Disney Parks blog, Google Images and Wikipedia. Video courtesy YouTube.

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