"it's a small world – celebration" is the holiday overlay to the popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. Unlike its cousins in California, Hong Kong and Tokyo, the overlay does not consist of adding Christmas imagery to the show scenes but rather showcasing winter holiday traditions from each place represented, mostly through highly elaborate costumes, a number of typical props and various special effects.
The seasonal overlay originally ran from 1999 through 2004 when it was discontinued… When it was picked up again for the 2009 holiday season, Tom, the new project manager, wanted to change and improve the show in a number of ways. He got me onboard for any new graphics, illustrations and audio/video production, gradually updated through 2011.
One of the additions in the second year was an attraction poster dedicated just to the overlay, which would temporarily replace the regular "it's a small world" poster under Main Street Station. If you've read my previous blog posts here you'll know I had always loved those posters so I was excited to add my own artwork to the display cabinets.
I came up with a number of different concepts but quickly decided to keep the central elements the same as the regular attraction poster, inverting the color scheme from its original blue boat on a yellow background to a festive nighttime scene.
The children themselves were drawn in a style inspired by old "it's a small world" posters and illustrations. As the intricate costumes are such an important part of "celebration," each child's clothing on the poster – except one – was closely modeled on one seen in the attraction… Originally I had lined up only twelve characters before I noticed that every previous poster version since the 1960s featured thirteen kids in the boat. Who was I to disagree?
I added pine garlands to the sides of the boat, much like its physical counterpart at the ride entrance received in our edition of "celebration" and picked four easily-recognized monuments to represent the small world in the background. Fireworks and snowflakes would indicate a winter-time celebration.
As the poster neared completion, WDI requested only two changes: one was a clothing color adjustment for clarity, the other was to make the fireworks (which originally were stylized but colorful) look like big snowflakes. They were absolutely right on both points.
We had the posters printed in the on-site shops and after a first test on location Tom and I installed the posters in their cabinets under Main Street Station. For the following two holiday seasons I was proud to see my own little contribution to the attraction poster series on display with the others!
If there's any interest I'll talk about some other elements of "it's a small world – celebration" in future posts.