The first installment revolves around the Indian holiday Holi (see below).
The eight-episode series is sponsored by language service Rosetta Stone, with animation inspired by Disney artist Mary Blair’s original designs for the popular theme park attraction. Series also features original music from Richard Sherman, the songwriter behind the attraction’s theme song.
Austin, Texas-based Powerhouse Animation Studios produced the toons for Disney Interactive.
In addition to streaming on Disney’s website, the “Small World” series is also be available as programming on the company’s channel on Microsoft’s Xbox and through Roku boxes.
As streaming services look to bolster the amount of kids programming they offer families, Disney’s decision to produce a digital show based on its popular attractions is a clever one.
Not only does it reduce the amount of coin the company would have spent to adapt the rides into a full-length feature, but it gives Disney a way for kids to connect with the ride outside of the theme park — and get them interested in wanting to own a new line of consumer products appearing on retail shelves.
Disney’s “Small World” line of merchandise includes dolls and plush animals that are sold inside its parks, the Disney Store and online.
The “It’s a Small World” ride first opened in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair prior to opening at Disneyland. A version of the ride also is in the Magic Kingdom, in Orlando, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland. Disney has yet to announce the list of attractions that will be part of Shanghai Disneyland.
The musical boat ride features over 300 animatronic dolls representing the children of the world.