Walt Disney and the 1964 World’s Fair

Walt Disney and the 1964 World’s Fair



Photo by Tom Burkert via Wikimedia Commons

Elwood Patchnik here as a guest blogger with some of my exciting travels!  As I was traveling around New York, I met up with a new friend, a snapping turtle named Fred.  He told me all about the 1964 World’s Fair held in New York.  He said that the fair in 1964 was the third largest fair held in New York and that Disney had a lot of influence on the fair.


My dear friend Fred told me about a man named Walt Disney.  He was the man who created Mickey Mouse.  According to Elwood, Walt was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1901.  Wow, he was born during the Christmas season over 100 years ago!  Walt’s family moved to the United States from Canada to look for gold!  In 1911, after no luck with finding gold, Walt’s father, Elias, bought a Newspaper route that Walt and his brother worked in the early morning hours from 4:30 am until school started.  Then, believe it or not, they continued the newspaper route after school until it was time for supper. Walt received poor grades in school because he often fell asleep in class since he was exhausted from waking up early for the paper route.  He and his brother had to wake up early for work every day for six long years!

When Walt started high school at McKinley High he began drawing cartoons for his high school newspaper.  Later, at the age of 16, Walt dropped out of school hoping to join the army.  However, he was rejected for being too young.  Luckily, he was able to join the Red Cross where he was sent to France for a year driving an ambulance.  Not to worry though!  Walt was safe because The Red Cross sent him to France after an agreement for peace had been made.


Walt Disney, WWI

After coming back from France, Walt wanted to be an artist, but no one would hire him.  Fortunately, his brother was able to get him a short term job at a bank, but Walt soon decided to set off for Hollywood to try his hand at his first passion, animation.  When Walt set off to Hollywood, one thing he knew for sure was that he wanted his brother Roy to be his partner.  When Walt finally created the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923, he got his wish.  He and his brother Roy went into business together.  As a team, the brothers worked well together.  Walt drew and handled the artistic and creative side, while Roy took care of the business. 


Walt Disney Photo by NASA via Wikimedia Commons


Roy Disney by Towpilot via Wikimedia Commons

Soon Walt was ready for the World’s Fair.  Hey kids, did you know The World’s Fair was an exhibition for new and innovative ideas from all over the world?  It was a place to show progress in knowledge, culture and technology.  Many people were even able to experience using a computer for the first time at the World’s Fair!  There were many films shown at the fair, including movies called the Parable, Man in the 5th Dimension and To Be Alive!  The 1964 fair was one of the largest world fairs to be held in the United States.

Well, when the 1964 World’s Fair came around, Walt was ready!  One of the exhibits Walt showed for the first time at the 1964 World’s Fair was his now famous Disneyland ride ‘It’s a Small World’.  This fun boat ride with animated dolls and animals from around the world was a hit!  Several other rides and shows from Disney were also at the 1964 World’s Fair, including, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  Believe it or not, many of the technologies from the 1964 fair paved the way for future Disney rides and ideas, including, the People Mover, Pirates of the Caribbean and Disney transportation around the parks.  One of the most well-known Disney songs is the theme song from ‘It’s a Small World’.  It is so popular, that there are different versions in every park.

640px-It's_a_Small_World (1)

Small World Anaheim, California by Solar Surfer via Wikimedia Commons


Small World in Tokyo by Rob Young via Wikimedia Commons

The rides and shows from the World’s Fair have been unchanged and are still in many Disney Magic Kingdom parks today.  After the fair, there was talk about keeping Walt Disney’s exhibits at the World’s Fair.  They thought about making it an East Coast version of Disneyland.  Thankfully for California, it was decided that these exhibits were to be moved to Disneyland in Anaheim instead.  Walt later duplicated the rides at other Disney theme parks too!  Today, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the realization of the original concept for an “East Coast Disneyland”, with Epcot Center designed as a “permanent” world’s fair.  Today, the World’s Fair still brings new ideas, technology and creativity to the world!

To find out more about Walt Disney and the World’s Fair, check out these cool sites:

Walt Disney Biography

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Expo Museum

Sounding Off Most Sincerly,

Elwood Patchnik,

Destination Adventurer and Trailblazing Dynamo


Elwood Patchnik is a Destination Pen Pal Adventurer for the great state of New York.  His travels led him to an adventure across New York where he learned about the brave journeys of immigrants from all over the world coming to America through Ellis Island to seek freedom and liberty.  Elwood has become well-known for his recent children’s book about his family’s own journey to America.  He is currently on a book tour across the United States with his wife and editor, Hazel.  Together, they hope to teach America’s children the value of hard work and the importance of making your own way in the world.  Stay tuned for future Patchnik adventures and events!

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