We celebrated the girls’ 4th and 6th birthdays with an It’s a Small World party. We had an annual pass to Disneyland the year prior, which resulted in a true Disney addiction. The girls asked if we were going to Disneyland almost daily. Their absolute favorite ride was It’s a Small World, so I figured this would be a perfect theme for a party. Plus, we went on this darn ride a minimum of 6 times per trip so I figured I know it REALLY, REALLY well. There were not a lot of existing party ideas for Small World, so I focused on travel and featured the 7 continents for this party. OF COURSE, Disney came out with an insanely cute It’s a Small World line of books, activities, dolls, and baby clothes a few years later but I digress….
I have been asked if I used a template for these invitations and if I would sell it on Etsy, but seriously, I just punched out a bunch of colorful shapes and played around with it until it worked.
I made a CD mix of small world/travel themed songs — everything from music from the actual ride to Down Under by Men at Work. (*My computer crashed the following year so I no longer have the song list but I will try to dig up the actual CD and see if I can copy the list here….)
There were 7 activities, crafts, or foods — one for each continent.
1. North America: Make an American Flag treat
2. South America: Color maracas
3. Europe: Madeline cookie
4. Asia: Make a lantern
5. Africa: Make a safari animal puppet
6. Australia: Kangaroo races (potato sack races)
7. Antarctica: Making snow with Insta-Snow
Each kid got a passport and received a stamp for each completed activity. Instead of renting a $400 photo booth, I bought an instant camera and bought round the world props and made my own photo booth for their passport photos.
I made mini meals for the kids in Chinese food to go boxes that included a fortune cookie, airplane shaped sandwiches, an apple, and travel themed fruit snacks. I made blue jello in clear plastic cups with an orange slice and toothpick with a sail that said, “The happiest cruise that ever sailed the world!”. The kids had juice and the adults had soda, water, and beers from around the world.
I made a simple square cake, covered it with fondant, then cut out small shapes to create the It’s a Small World building at Disneyland. I also decorated flower sugar cookies inspired by the flowers in the ride. The cupcakes were decorated with fondant and similar flower themes. We also served popcorn with M&Ms because my youngest daughter doesn’t like cake! (GASP!)
The kids went home with each continent activity/craft/item and their passport in a “suitcase” favor box with a “luggage tag” bookmark (The It’s a Small World bookmarks were purchased on Etsy, but the shop has since closed). Babies got a safari stuffed animals instead.
I took a ton of photos of the It’s a Small World ride the last time we visited Disneyland (because I am crazy and already had a party in mind) so I printed 8×10 prints, matted them with colorful paper, and posted them throughout the party.
This was one of my favorite parties to plan! I try to use the same color themes year after year so I can re-use my party supplies. I have a collection of cake plates now for dessert tables. Believe it or not, this was not an expensive party and I kept everything within a budget because I made so many things myself. The only real splurge was the instant camera for the photo booth. I have used the camera multiple times since, so I believe this was a good purchase! Unpopular party themes are always a challenge but just so much fun to research and create!
For more It’s a Small World party ideas, go to my Pinterest Board: