it’s a small world: the happiest 2nd birthday party that ever sailed


When we went to Disney World last October, hands-down, the bufflogals’ favorite attraction was It’s a Small World. I have to admit that though the song is a bit of an earworm, I love it too. I love the look and the spirit of It’s a Small World, and, after doing a bit of research, loved it even more after I learned its look was largely created by a woman named Mary Blair– love supporting a woman artist! After we got back from that trip and told my Disney-loving parents how much the girls loved the ride, they gave us a Small World storybook that came with a CD of the song. That CD now lives in my car stereo and is deployed whenever someone starts screaming in the car. Instant happy.

The girls’ love of It’s a Small World led me to choose it as the theme of their second birthday party. My vision was bright colors and international food. I wanted to get crafty and creative without going too over-the-top. I think I achieved my goals. We had the party the weekend before last, and we had a great time celebrating two years with our girls with our friends and family. 


The cake table. I painted the Small World facade on a sheet after drawing it from some illustrations online. The actual ride facade is pastel, but the inside of the ride is vibrant primary colors. I wanted bright colors for the party, so I took some artistic liberties with the colors of the exterior because I felt they were keeping with the spirit and look of the ride. There are some lovely pastel versions out there though which served as my inspiration. The table runner is from Hobby Lobby, saved from the girls’ First Fiesta first birthday party.


I made funfetti cupcakes and used premade frosting. Honestly, I prefer homemade cupcakes because I don’t like a giant tower of frosting taller than the cake part itself. This was easy and cheap– I had plenty of cupcakes for less than $15. I bought the files for the pictures of the international kids on Etsy and my sister kindly sized them all onto a page so I could cut them out and glue them to toothpicks to make cupcake decor.



Here you see the food setup in the kitchen. The paper lanterns and flag banner are from Oriental Trading, and the runner is from Hobby Lobby, another leftover from the First Fiesta. Food-wise, I went with an international theme. We had veggies and pita chips with hummus and ranch; tortilla chips with cheese dip, salsa, and guacamole; beef taquitos; chicken egg rolls; and fresh fruit.


In the front room, we had It’s a Small World coloring pages (click those links to get to the free printables) and crayons set up as an activity. Almost no one colored. I made some of our adult friends sit down and color after most folks had left! Still, this is an easy, cheap, thematically appropriate activity for this type of party, and I think it would have been a useful thing to do if more of our guests were in the 3-6 age range.


For the kids, the biggest hit of the party was definitely the ball pit my husband’s parents bought off of Amazon. You can see that Claire is so stoked, she can hardly contain herself. Pretty much every kid there spent most of the party in and around the ball pit. I love that it folds up like a laundry hamper and that the balls go into a zip-top bag, and plan to pull out the ball pit on rainy or cold days when we’re trapped inside and need some fun.


For the adults, the biggest hit of the party was definitely the margarita machine. We borrowed it from one of my husband’s coworkers, and it was so much fun. For the kiddos, I did one side in KoolAid fruit punch, and that worked great, too.


It was hard to get a picture of the birthday girls in the Small World dresses I sewed for them, but here you can at least see them! They were a little too big, and Etta kept pulling her arms inside. Oh well. I had fun sewing them, and that’s why I made them.


The birthday girls were all about the singing and cupcake part of the festivities.



Allllllllll about it.

Overall, I think It’s a Small World made for a really fun party theme, and we had a great day celebrating our girls. Couldn’t ask for more in a birthday party! If you want more Small World party ideas, check out my Pinboard.


2 Replies to “it’s a small world: the happiest 2nd birthday party that ever sailed”

  1. I love Small World, love Mary Blair and love the way you pulled off this magical theme! Great job, and I’m glad that it was such a success! Thanks for sharing. :)


  2. So cute! I love any theme that lends itself to using lots of color. I prefer making homemade cakes too– I am very pick about my frosting to cake ratio! And (a bit off topic) but I LOVE your couch!


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