‘it’s a small world’

Boat Ride
D - Major Attraction/Headliner
Height Requirement
Disney Warning
Supervise children at all times.


The Disney classic, “it’s a small world” celebrates the children of the world singing the classic song about harmony and unity.


The attraction intends to inspire world peace through the Seven Seaways Waterway on a “cruise” hosted by the children of the world.

The classic Sherman Brothers song as well as the unique art direction by Mary Blair are both iconic around the world. The ride features nearly 300 children dressed in their native attire singing, “it’s a small world” in their native language. Every continent is represented as the boat travels from room to room and stylized architecture, flora, and fauna accompany the children from each of the represented regions.

The cruise begins beneath the white and gold clock facade. Every 15 minutes, the facade comes to life with a presentation of the time featuring trumpeting and figures emerging from within. Leaving the dock, guests travel underneath the control tower, often waiving at the cast member above. Prior to the turn into the first room, guests dining at The Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant can be seen in the windows above.

As the boat floats into the first room, a sign above the archway reads, “Welcome to the happiest cruise that ever sailed”. The attraction’s theme song can be heard as the boat approaches the first room. Inside the first room, guests see many European nations represented including Great Britain, France, Spain, Scandinavia, Italy, Sweden and more. The song’s lyrics are sung in English, Spanish, Swedish and Italian. Figures can be seen figure skating, or in various stages of dance with European icons highlighted throughout the room. Big Ben, Windmills, Italian Gondolas and more all showcase some of the cultures and countries in Europe.

The next room highlights the Asian countries of Japan, China, India and Korea with the song being sung in Japanese. Temples, the Taj Mahal and other iconic areas are represented before transiting into the next room.

Animals like hippos, rhinos, zebras, giraffes and elephants, highlight the Africa room. The children in this room are singing in English as the tribal drums accent the melody.

Central and South America are represented in the next room as the entrance to this room is flanked by dancing penguins on one side and a Central American market on the other side. The soundtrack is sung in Spanish as the children dance underneath a large sun. Birds and other animals represent the rain forests before the boat continues into the next room.

The South Pacific room features Polynesian dancing and instrumentation. Australia is also represented with animals like kangaroos and koalas.

The South Pacific room gives way to the White Room. Inside, the children around the world are dressed in white and singing the attraction’s theme song in English. The children can be seen in or around a carousel, Ferris wheel, roller coaster, hot air balloons and more throughout the room.

The White Room leads into the Goodbye Room where signs and screens say variations of “Goodbye” in 22 different languages. As part of a 2016 update, screens in the Goodbye Room will identify individual guests by their Magic Bands and wish them Goodbye as well.

The boat departs the Goodbye Room and returns to the load/unload platform.


Embark upon “the happiest cruise that ever sailed” serenaded by costumed children from around the world.


Children, families


This attraction opens with the park.


“it’s a small world” is one of the low range demand Fastpass+ reservations in the park. Availability will exist well into the day, and unless it’s used midday it will not be a considerable time savings.


The queue was reconfigured as part of the 2010 refurbishment. Switchbacks at the front of the building lead to a walkway that extends over the load/unload area with a ramp down to the loading area.


The brightly colored boats have 6 rows. Each row seats 3-4 guests.


  • Mattel – 1988-1998


“it’s a small world” first debuted as an attraction at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in New York where it was personally overseen by Walt Disney and sponsored by Pepsiar for the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) Pavilion. The original World’s Fair attraction was relocated to Disneyland in 1966 and a version was reproduced for the opening of Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971.

During the 2004-2005 refurbishment the load area was redesigned to remove the colorful fountains and add in the white and gold clock facade. Additional audio and lighting upgrades also took place during that refurbishment.

In the 2010 refurbishment, the entrance and exit as well as load and unload were reversed to improve traffic flow in and out of the attraction.


Gran Fiesta Tour in Epcot is ocassionally referred to as the “Mexican it’s a small world” by guests. The boats are similar to Pirates of the Caribbean.


  • It’s a Small World (Song) – Written by Robert and Richard Sherman
  • Art Direction (WED Enterprises/Imagineering)- Mary Blair
  • Costuming (WED Enterprises/Imagineering) – Alice Davis, Marc Davis
  • Wed Enterprises/Imagineering – Rolly Crump, Joyce Carlson, Blaine Gibson, Walt Disney


The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel Virtual Disney World. These videos allow users to manipulate the camera a full 360 degrees using their cursor or directional arrows on their computer. Users on a smartphone or tablet can also manipulate the camera by moving their device in the direction they wish to look.