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Disney announces 'it's a small world' 50th anniversary celebration

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The classic Disney ride "it's a small world"® (and the infectious ear worm song that accompanies it) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and on Friday the company announced its plans to celebrate the milestone.

Disney Parks has launched the interactive website SmallWorld50.com and invites visitors from across the globe to record themselves singing the classic tune, calling the site a "'global hub' of music and harmony." People who visit the site can also create their own cultural dolls to share.

The Walt Disney Company says it will donate $150,000 to UNICEF and $1 for every song recorded and doll created, up to $100,000 each.

"It's a small world" got its start when the boat ride was introduced at the 1964 World's Fair in New York as "a tribute to peace and hope," beginning its relationship with UNICEF. As for the song, Walt Disney had originally planned for the ride to feature multiple national anthems but instead asked Robert and Richard Sherman, who were working on Mary Poppins at the time, to create an easily translatable song to be sung in a round.

Disney also announced plans to hold a worldwide sing-a-long on April 10. Performers and visitors at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney will join in song on that day to celebrate the anniversary together.

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