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It's a Small World Holiday is an annual version of the attraction It's a Small World. Since 1997, Disneyland has featured "It's a small world Holiday" during the end-of-the-year Christmas and holiday season. The attraction is closed in late-October to receive temporary holiday decorations inside and outside, and reopens in early-November before the start of the busy holiday tourist season. The attraction is the same boat voyage through many regions of the world, though the main theme song is not played fully. Instead, the children sing "Jingle Bells" and a bridge of "Deck the Halls" in addition to the main theme.

The holiday overlay has since been implemented at Tokyo Disneyland with similar decorations, if not more, than the Disneyland version. It ran from 2003-2014 prior to the 2018 refurbishment.

Disneyland Paris' version used to add subtle decorations around the attraction and changed the music in the North American area to "Deck the Halls". For the 2009 winter season, Disneyland Paris has added "it's a small world celebration", a variation of "it's a small world - happy holiday" highlighting winter season frolic shared by people worldwide. It includes new costumes, lighting, sounds, decorations and uses a different version of the music.

Hong Kong Disneyland's "it's a small world - happy holiday" changes the music seasonally and subtly adds a few Christmas decorations. It only ran from 2009-2010.

History

Disneyland’s It’s a Small World attraction didn’t change much from its opening on May 28, 1966 until October 1997. The sponsor changed from Bank of America to Mattel, with changes to signage and construction of a Mattel gift shop at the exit. The façade was given a more colorful paint scheme, inspired by the Disneyland Paris version. It was essentially just the same ride.

In October 1997, It’s a Small World closed for more than typical annual maintenance. Disneyland aims to boost holiday ticket sales with a holiday overlay of the popular ride. The first time since it opened 31 years ago, the park’s It’s a Small World attraction was going to be altered extensively to celebrate the holiday season, Disneyland officials announced Friday. “Basically, we will be adding a Christmas overlay to the existing ride,” - Michael Maines, director of entertainment creative development.

The attraction was closed for the alterations and general maintenance starting Sunday until the opening of the revamped version on November 25, 1997. It was planned to remain through January 4, 1998. Planned enhancements to the 12-minute ride, originally designed especially for small children, include choirs singing “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” instead of the original It’s a Small World and exhibits from various countries illustrating traditional children’s games and crafts. Animal topiaries were outfitted with Santa Claus hats and red bows. The 30-foot clock at the entrance to the ride received a giant-sized Santa hat, and new holiday themed clock parade music every quarter hour. The wooden dolls were also decorated, while the facade and clock tower were decorated with thousands of colorful twinkling lights, while the holiday lighting ceremony and the projection show didn’t happen until 2005.

On November 25, 1997, the attraction reopened as It’s a Small World Holiday. Guests enjoyed an experience that was simultaneously familiar and brand new. Disneyland got high marks for skillfully weaving the holiday theme into the famous attraction. The holiday version was supposed to end on January 4, 1998, along with Disneyland’s other holiday activities and decorations, to revert back to its old self, but its run was extended to January 25, 1998 because of its huge popularity.

Since then, It’s a Small World Holiday has become an annual tradition at Disneyland, which has been returning every year. (except for 2020 - 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic) Because of the response of the holiday overlay at Disneyland, holiday overlays have also been added to Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and formerly Hong Kong Disneyland. Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World doesn’t do the holiday overlay, and operates normally through the holiday season all year.

Attraction Ride-Through

As you approach the facade you hear a familiar tune, along with "Jingle Bells". Every 15 minutes a holiday projection show is projected on the facade. You board your boat and enter the welcome room, which now has a Happy Holidays sign. You enter the Scandinavia room which is now the North Pole. You travel through the ride and discover Chinese New Year, Jungle Jangles, and Feliz Navidad. You enter the Spirit of America room to see yourself in a country Christmas. Finally you enter the finale room and you hear "Deck the Halls". Everything is decorated with white garland and lights hang from the roof. You exit through the goodbye room, where the Postcards have been replaced with Christmas cards. You exit the building and catch the twinkling lights once more as you disembark your boat.

Exterior

The exterior is adorned with thousands of twinkling lights. The clock has a Santa hat and some white garland and wreaths hang along the doors to the clock numerals. The bushes also have lights in them. There is also a projection show that happens every 15 minutes.

Changes

  • When it re-opened in 2005, FASTPASS machines were added. They have since been removed.
  • When the North America room was back then the Rainforest Room, there were giant black curtains that hid the scene and it was used as a transition room from 1997 - 2008.
  • The Hawaii room used to feature all of Santa's reindeer. Over the years it has been shortened.
  • In 2011, a new snowman was added to the finale.

Trivia

  • In the Japan room of the Disneyland overlay, fireworks from the Main Street Electrical Parade's To Honor America unit can be seen. Considering how the original Anaheim parade (Version A) was scrapped for parts in 1997, these fireworks (built in 1979) were recycled to be used in the Small World Holiday theming. They, along with Casey Junior's drum are the only things saved from demolition.

References


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Main Street, U.S.A.
Disneyland RailroadThe Disney GalleryDapper DansMain Street VehiclesMain Street Cinema
Adventureland
Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki RoomIndiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden EyeTarzan's TreehouseJungle Cruise (Reopening in July 16, 2021)
Frontierland
Big Thunder Mountain RailroadMark Twain RiverboatGolden Horseshoe SaloonPirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
Fantasyland
Sleeping Beauty CastleSleeping Beauty Castle WalkthroughAlice in WonderlandCasey Jr. Circus TrainDumbo the Flying ElephantIt's a Small WorldKing Arthur CarrouselMad Tea PartyMr. Toad's Wild RidePeter Pan's FlightPinocchio's Daring JourneySnow White's Enchanted WishPixie HollowSword in the StoneRoyal HallMatterhorn BobsledsStorybook Land Canal Boats

Seasonal: It's a Small World Holiday

Tomorrowland
Astro OrbitorAutopiaSpace MountainStar Tours: The Adventures ContinueDisneyland Monorail SystemPush the Talking Trash CanBuzz Lightyear Astro BlastersFinding Nemo Submarine Voyage (Reopening in Winter 2021)

Seasonal: Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy

New Orleans Square
The Haunted MansionPirates of the Caribbean

Seasonal: Haunted Mansion Holiday

Critter Country
Splash MountainNew Adventures with Princess Tiana (Coming Soon) • The Many Adventures of Winnie the PoohDavy Crockett's Explorer Canoes
Mickey's Toontown
Gadget's Go CoasterRoger Rabbit's Car Toon SpinMickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway (Opening in 2023)
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's RunStar Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Current Entertainment
Magic Happens (Reopening in 2022) • Fantasmic! (Reopening in 2022) • Mickey's Mix Magic

Seasonal: A Christmas Fantasy ParadeDisney's Celebrate AmericaHalloween ScreamsBelieve... In Holiday MagicFantasy in the Sky: New Year's Eve SpecialVillains Dance Party

Former Attractions and Entertainment
The Walt Disney StorySnow White and Her AdventuresAladdin's OasisSwiss Family TreehouseBig Thunder RanchMike Fink Keel BoatsNature's WonderlandMickey Mouse Club TheaterAutopiaSkywayAriel's GrottoDisney Afternoon Avenue20,000 Leagues Under the SeaRocket Rods Circle-Vision 360° (America the BeautifulWonders of ChinaAmerican Journeys) • Rocket to the MoonThe World Beneath UsHouse of the FutureSubmarine VoyageFlying SaucersAdventure Thru Inner SpaceCarousel of ProgressAmerica SingsInnoventionsSuper Hero HQStar ToursRocket JetsBeauty and the Beast Live on StageThe Magic, the Memories and YouPeopleMoverStarcadeMagic JourneysCaptain EOHoney, I Shrunk the AudienceStar Wars: Path of the JediThe Disney GalleryDisneyland Dream SuiteCountry Bear JamboreeToon ParkMain Street Electrical ParadeLight MagicPaint the NightAmerica on ParadeFlights of Fantasy ParadeAladdin's Royal CaravanThe Lion King CelebrationHercules Victory ParadeMulan ParadeMotor Boat CruiseMickey and the Magical MapViewliner Train of TomorrowSnow White's Scary AdventuresGreat Moments with Mr. LincolnStar Wars Launch BaySailing Ship ColumbiaChip 'n' Dale's TreehouseDonald's BoatGoofy's PlayhouseMickey's House and Meet MickeyMinnie's House

Seasonal: Rockin' Space MountainHyperspace MountainCountry Bear Vacation HoedownCountry Bear Christmas SpecialWalt Disney's Parade of DreamsPixar Play ParadeMickey's Soundsational ParadeFrightfully Fun ParadeThe Hunchback of Notre Dame Topsy Turvy CavalcadeParade of the StarsMickey's Costume Party CavalcadeBelieve... There's Magic in the StarsFantasy in the SkyImagine... A Fantasy in the SkyMagical: Disney's New Nighttime Spectacular of Magical CelebrationsRemember... Dreams Come TrueTogether Forever: A Pixar Nighttime SpectacularJingle CruiseDisneyland Forever

Resorts
Disneyland Hotel


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Tokyo Disneyland logo.png
World Bazaar
Omnibus
Fantasyland
Cinderella CastleSnow White's AdventuresSnow White GrottoPinocchio's Daring JourneyDumbo the Flying ElephantCinderella's Fairy Tale HallCastle CarrouselAlice's Tea PartyPeter Pan's FlightPooh's Hunny HuntIt's a Small WorldMickey's PhilharMagicThe Haunted MansionFantasyland Forest Theatre (Mickey's Magical Music World) • Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast

Seasonal: Haunted Mansion Holiday NightmareIt's a Small World Holiday

Adventureland
Swiss Family TreehouseWestern River RailroadJungle CruisePirates of the CaribbeanThe Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai!
Tomorrowland
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go SeekSpace MountainShowbase (Club Mouse Beat) • Buzz Lightyear Astro BlastersStitch EncounterStar Tours: The Adventures ContinueThe Happy Ride with Baymax
Toontown
Mickey's House and Meet MickeyMinnie's HouseMinnie's Style StudioGoofy’s Paint 'n' Play HouseDonald's BoatChip 'n' Dale's TreehouseRoger Rabbit's Car Toon SpinGadget's Go CoasterToon Park
Westernland
Big Thunder Mountain RailroadMark Twain RiverboatCountry Bear TheaterTom Sawyer IslandWesternland Shooting Gallery
Critter Country
Splash MountainBeaver Brothers Explorer Canoes
Current Entertainment
Disney Light the Night • Dreaming Up!Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLightsNightfall Glow

Seasonal: Spooky "Boo!" Parade • Disney Gifts of ChristmasUsatama on the Run!

Former Attractions and Entertainment
The Disney GallerySkywayMickey Mouse RevueCinderella Castle Mystery TourWalt Disney's Enchanted Tiki RoomThe Enchanted Tiki Room: Get the Fever! • Lilo's Luau & Fun • Minnie Oh! Minnie!Magic JourneysMeet the WorldMircoAdventuresStarcadeCircle-Vision 360° (The Timekeeper) • Donald's Wacky Kingdom • Feel the MagicOnce Upon a MouseStar ToursCaptain EOGrand Recruit RacewayHercules the HeroIt's Magical!Star JetsOne Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives On! • Goofy's Bounce House • Jolly Trolley • Super Duper Jumpin' TimeOnce Upon a TimeDisney's FantillusionFantasy in the SkyCinderellabration: Lights of Romance

Seasonal: Disney's Halloween Parade "Scream & Shout"Disney's Halloween Parade "Re-Villains!" and "Banzai! Villains!" (Formerly "Let's Go, Villains!") • Halloween Pop'n LIVECelebrate! Tokyo DisneylandMickey's Gift of Dreams

Resorts
Tokyo Disneyland HotelDisney Ambassador Hotel


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Main Street, U.S.A.
Disneyland RailroadLiberty ArcadeDiscovery ArcadeMain Street Vehicles
Frontierland
Legends of the Wild WestBig Thunder Mountain RailroadPhantom ManorRiver Rogue Keel BoatsRustler Roundup Shooting GalleryThunder Mesa Riverboat LandingThe Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands
Adventureland
Le Passage Enchanté d'AladdinAdventure IsleLa Cabane des RobinsonIndiana Jones et le Temple du PérilPirates of the Caribbean
Fantasyland
Le Château de la Belle au Bois DormantLe Carrousel de LancelotBlanche-Neige et les Sept NainsLes Voyages de PinocchioPeter Pan's FlightAlice's Curious LabyrinthDumbo the Flying ElephantIt's a Small WorldMad Hatter Tea PartyLe Pays de Contes de FéesCasey Jr. - Le Petit Train du CirqueSword in the StonePavillon des Princesses
Discoveryland
AutopiaOrbitronLes Mystères du NautilusBuzz Lightyear Laser BlastStar Tours : L'Aventure ContinueStar Wars Hyperspace MountainMickey et son Orchestre PhilharMagique
Current Entertainment
Disney Stars on ParadeDisney Illuminations (Reopening in Winter 2021)

Seasonal: A Merry StitchmasIt's Good To Be Bad With The Disney VillainsDisney Christmas ParadeMickey et le Big Band de NoëlMickey's Halloween Celebration

Former Attractions and Entertainment
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage • The Enchanted Fireworks • The Hunchback of Notre Dame CarnivalCaptain EOCircle-Vision 360°Davy Crockett's Explorer CanoesDapper DansDisney's FantillusionDisney's ImagiNations ParadeThe Lion King FestivalDisney's Once Upon a Dream ParadeDisney Dreams!Disney Magic on ParadeDisney Toon CircusFantasy in the SkyHoney, I Shrunk the AudienceMain Street Electrical ParadeMickey presents: "Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris"Mulan, La LégendeMulan ParadeHercules HappeningSpace Mountain: Mission 2Tarzan: The EncounterThe TimekeeperThe Wonderful World of Disney ParadeWinnie the Pooh and Friends, too!Woody's Roundup VillageStar Wars: Path of the Jedi

Seasonal: Chantons La Reine des NeigesDisney's Maleficious Halloween PartyDisney's Showtime SpectacularDr. Facilier's Carnival-LoweenFollowing the Leader with Peter PanGoofy's Skeletoons Street PartyFrozen Summer Fun!The Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical AdventureLe Voeu de Noël de la Princesse AuroreMickey's Magical CelebrationMickey's Winter WonderlandMickey and his Magic Halloween NightMickey's Halloween CelebrationLa Parade d'AladdinWishes

Resorts
Disneyland HotelDisney's Hotel New York — The Art of MarvelDisney's Sequoia LodgeDisney's Newport Bay ClubDisney's Hotel CheyenneDisney's Hotel Santa FeDisney's Davy Crockett Ranch


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Main Street, U.S.A.
Animation AcademyArt of AnimationHong Kong Disneyland Railroad • Hong Kong Disneyland Band • Main Street Vehicles • Ragtime Piano • The Annex • Building a Dream: The Magic Behind a Disney Castle
Adventureland
Festival of the Lion King • Jungle Drumming • Jungle River CruiseKaribuni MarketplaceLiki TikisMoana: A Homecoming CelebrationTarzan's Treehouse
Fantasyland
Castle of Magical DreamsThe Royal Reception HallCinderella CarrouselDumbo the Flying ElephantFairy Tale ForestFantasy GardensHong Kong Disneyland RailroadIt's a Small WorldMad Hatter Tea CupsThe Many Adventures of Winnie the PoohMickey's PhilharMagicMickey and the Wondrous BookPixie HollowPush the Talking Trash CanSnow White GrottoSword in the Stone
Tomorrowland
Hyperspace MountainOrbitron
Toy Story Land
Barrel of Fun • Cubot • RC RacerSlinky Dog Spin • Toy Soldier Boot Camp • Toy Soldier Parachute Drop
Grizzly Gulch
Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine CarsGeyser Gulch • Welcome Wagon Show
Mystic Point
Mystic ManorGarden of WondersFreight Depot
Arendelle: World of Frozen (Opening in 2022)
Frozen Ever After (Opening in 2022) • Wandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs (Opening in 2022)
Stark Expo (Opening in 2023)
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle!Avengers Quinjet (Opening in 2023) • Iron Man ExperienceIron Man Tech Showcase
Current Entertainment
Mickey's Rainy Day ExpressPaint the Night ParadePlaza GroundsThe PavilionCherish the Memories (Opening in 2021) • Follow Your Dreams

Seasonal: Journey to the Halloween TownLet's Get WickedMickey and Friends Christmastime BallPixar Water Play Street Party!Tree Lighting Ceremony

Other Attractions
Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre
Former Attractions and Entertainment
AutopiaBuzz Lightyear Astro BlastersDapper DansDisney in the StarsDisney on ParadeFlights of Fantasy Parade • High School Musical: LIVE! • Jungle Puppet Carnival • Jedi Training: Trials of the TempleLucky the DinosaurMuppet Mobile LabSleeping Beauty CastleSpace MountainStitch EncounterStar Wars: Command Post • The Disneyland Story presenting How Mickey Mouse Came to Hong Kong • The Golden MickeysWe Love Mickey!UFO Zone

Seasonal: A Celebration of CocoA Magical Frozen Snowfall • Adventureland Oasis Party • Alien InvasionCaptain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Boot CampDemon JungleDisney Friends Springtime ProcessionalDisney Music Program“Frozen” Festival Show“Frozen” VillageGlow in the Park Halloween ParadeGraves AcademyHorrors of the AmazonInferno Dance PartyMickey's Halloween Time Street PartyIt's a Small World HolidayJack Skellington’s Villainous GatheringJungle River Cruise: Curse of the Emerald TrinityLightning McQueen Live!Main Street Haunted HotelMarvel's Mission: Dimensions of DangerMickey's Halloween Time Street PartyMickey's HouseMickey's WaterWorksNightmare in the SkyPirate TakeoverPirates of the Caribbean Ghost TrailRoyal Christmas BallSanta Mickey's Toy-riffic Street PartyStar Wars: Tomorrowland TakeoverSpace Mountain: Ghost GalaxyStitch's Summer Dance BashStitch and Friends Summer SurpriseThe Nightmare ExperimentThe Revenge of the Headless Horseman • Tinker Bell Castle Illumination • Tomorrowland Party ZoneTurtle Talk with CrushVillains Night Out!

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