No Kidding, It’s A Small World

After riding the It’s a Small World ride half a dozen times on my first trip to Disneyland, I sent off for information on how to become an Imagineer. I was seven.
Yet somehow it’s taken me until this week to realize that the treacly animatronic Mary Blair masterpiece was originally created by Walt Disney at the behest of the Pepsi-Cola Corporation, which wanted a popular pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Disney was apparently commissioned to design four corporate pavilions that fair.
According to Billy Kluver’s long, rambling account/apologia published in the 1972 book, Pavilion, Pepsi was in talks with Disney to produce the 1970 pavilion in Osaka, too, but Disney’s budgets were orders of magnitude too high. Disney’s withdrawal in late 1968 left Pepsi with an empty pavilion to fill, and it created the opportunity for E.A.T. to get involved.
It’s a small world after all.