“Ask Uncle Walt” is a regular feature of Uncle Walt’s Insider: you ask, Walt answers!
“Hey Walt, why doesn’t ‘it’s a small world’ use capital letters?”
Submitted by Kaitlyn C., Cancun, Mexico
Thanks for asking. Back in 1964, it’s a small world debuted at the World’s Fair in New York City. It was sponsored by Pepsi and was located at the UNICEF pavilion. Most of the budget for this and the other attractions Disney provided went to research and development of the rides, including audio-animatronic figures. In the case of it’s a small world, the attraction included some top secret technologies that were developed in conjunction with the US government.
After building the attraction in California, it then had to be disassembled and moved across the country. That required lots of warning signs and safety precautions chemicals causing various healthy issues, which cut into the budget. We couldn’t use conventional diesel trucks due to the carbon output, so we had to use electric vehicles. That meant more expense, as the technology at that time meant smaller loads for each vehicle, which meant even more vehicles. Plus, we had to change the batteries every couple hundred of miles, depending on who was driving, lake effect winds, and other factors, such as how many churros the driver ate before leaving. Again, all this affected the budget.
The New Jersey factor
Next, the trucks arrived in New Jersey. Do you know how many toll roads there are in New Jersey? Plus, due to some archaic state laws, our drivers couldn’t change the batteries themselves. They had to be done by a state-certified gas station attendant. We also took a hit to the budget after the drivers discovered Applebee’s. Eventually they paid their final tolls to cross into New York City.
Once in NYC, each driver carrying one of the audio-animatronic figures had to acquire a taxi medallion. We think that was just a scam to get more money, but it had to be paid. Finally the trucks arrived on-site at the World’s Fair! Now, the Imagineers were unable to do any of the unloading or construction work, unless they joined the union and paid their dues. We had no idea that the Imagineers Local A113 even existed, since it wasn’t on any of the record books that we could find at the time! But alas, they joined anyway just to get the work done. Again, the budget took a hit.
When it was finally time to install the signage for it’s a small world, we simply could not afford the capital letters. And the rest, as they say, is history!
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