The pavilion brings a small-scale Disneyland to the Fair in a salute to the children of the world. A series of ingenious Walt Disney animations is the main show. The U.S. Committee for the United Nations Children's Fund operates an adjoining building with its own exhibit area. In the larger building a nine-minute boat ride takes visitors through miniature settings from many countries, where Disney-made figures of children, animals and birds sing and dance. In the adjoining pavilion of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, which is also sponsored by the Pepsi-Cola Company, are pictures of children from countries around the world, indicating the needs served by the United Nations agency. On top of this smaller pavilion is the 120-foot Tower of the Four Winds, which is visible from most of the fairgrounds.
It may have been Pepsi's pavilion, but there was no doubt that Walt Disney's "it's a small world" (lower case intentional; that's the official Disney name) was the star of the show. A last-minute addition to the Fair, "small world" proved to be one of the most popular shows there. The show was quickly moved to Disneyland after the Fair ended, and updated versions are now in all of the Disney theme parks. (CD #56 Set 236 #13)
A fee was charged for the show, with the proceeds benefiting UNICEF, but long lines formed every day to get inside. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters entertained the waiting crowds from an elevated walkway above the ticket booths. Originally, they mixed in with the crowd down at ground level, but a few unfortunate experiences with rowdy guests soon had the characters up high for their own safety. (CD #40 Set 200 #14)
The Disney "Imagineers" came up with a wonderful solution to the problem of quickly moving massive numbers of people through the attraction. Large flat-bottom boats, propelled only by the water current in their trough, proved to be an effective system still in use today. (CD #56 Set 236 #12)
Girdling the Globe. The boat ride, called "It's a Small World - A Salute to UNICEF," carries spectators past such familiar scenes as France's Eiffel Tower, a Dutch windmill and India's Taj Mahal. The animated figures dance, cavort with droll animals, and in their various languages sing a song called "It's a Small World," composed especially for the exhibit.
Once safely onboard, guests could sit back and enjoy themselves on "The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed." Hundreds of colorful dolls, garbed in costumes to match their settings from around the world, all sang the theme song in harmony.
Don't blame me if you can't get the song out of your head. It's been stuck in mine for over 50 years now. (CD #28 Set 150 #113)
Help For Children. In the smaller pavilion, UNICEF greeting cards, books, games and posters are on sale. A garden has photographic displays on the theme of every child's right to security, good health and education. From the Tower of the Four Winds dangle colorful shapes which twist and dance in the breeze.
The Tower of the Four Winds was a wonderful bit of whimsy designed by Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. Colorful shapes and figures spun in the winds that crossed the site, making it an entertaining study in motion. Sadly, when the rest of the attraction was moved to Disneyland after the Fair, the Tower didn't go along as well. Rumors persist that it was cut up for scrap metal or dumped in a nearby waterway. (CD #54 Set 229 #10)
The United States Committee for UNICEF operated a gift shop under the tower. Free literature about UNICEF was also available, but the merchandise based on the ride was the most popular offering. Guests were also encouraged to make contributions to UNICEF. (CD #43 Set 201 #31)
A VIP lounge was hidden beneath the Tower of the Four Winds, just above the gift shop. Here Dopey, one of the costumed Disney characters, entertains a young girl, who is also enjoying a complimentary cup of Pepsi. (CD #21 Set 109 #64)
Want more information on the Pepsi pavilion and "Small World?
"Big News From the Small World" newsletter
Vol. 1 No. 1 - 1964
Vol. 1 No. 6 - June 17, 1964
Vol 1 No 13 - August 5, 1964
Vol. 1 No. 15 - August 19, 1964
Vol. 1 No. 17 - September 2, 1964
Vol. 2 No. 1 - February 1, 1965
Vol. 2 No. 3 - March 1, 1965