Alice Davis Dies: Costume Designer for Disneyland’s ‘It’s A Small World’ & ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ Rides Was 93

Alice Davis, whose costume designs for such classic Disneyland attractions as the “It’s a Small World” and “Pirates of Caribbean” rides died Nov. 3 at her Los Angeles home. She was 93.

A statement released by her family did not disclose a cause of death, but noted that she died peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Davis collaborated with her husband Marc Davis – one of the famous “Nine Old Men” of Disney animation – and Disney artist Mary Blair, to create the beloved “Small World” attraction for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. Alice Davis researched and designed more than 300 costumes for the ride’s audio animatronic dolls representing children from all over the world.

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One of the creative pioneers at WED Enterprises, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering, Alice Davis was named a Disney Legend in 2004. In 2012 she was honored with a commemorative window on a storefront along Disneyland’s Main Street, next to a window honoring her late husband, who designed and animated such classic Disney characters as Tinker Bell and Cruella de Vil. He died in 2000. (Disney artist Blair, who conceived the “Small World” ride, died in 1978.)

In 1966, after its unveiling at the New York World’s Fair, the “Small World” attraction was transferred to Disneyland and has been one of its most popular attractions ever since. Alice Davis also designed costumes for another Disney attraction her husband oversaw at the World’s Fair, the “Carousel of Progress,” sponsored by General Electric, which later was transferred to Disneyland as well.

In addition to those attractions, Alice Davis designed and supervised the creation of the pirates’ costumes for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride being designed by Marc Davis.

Following her husband’s death, and as one of the few remaining artists who had worked directly with Walt Disney, Davis made frequent public appearances on behalf of the company long. Pixar’s animated 2009 film Up was, in part, dedicated to her.

She is survived by a sister-in-law, nieces, nephews and other extended family.

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