Street Music – The Atmospheric Melodies of Main Street, Buena Vista Street and More

“Strolling through the shady lanes, with your baby mine…”

I’ve talked a lot about how much the live bands and entertainment inform the atmosphere and place-setting in Disney parks. But as much as I LOVE the live entertainment, there’s another important piece of the musical environment puzzle, which is the repeated series of songs or “loops” that are relayed through the sound system of the parks. This music can immediately establish exactly *where* and *when* you are.

The music of Main Street (which I believe is the same or similar at both Disneyland Park and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort), gives you that romanticized turn of the century feeling with music ranging from themes from Pixar’s UP to American songbook standards to music from Hello, Dolly (also featured in Pixar’s Wall-E). Some of the songs are also ones sung by The Dapper Dans.

Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. Can’t you just hear the music playing?

Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. Can’t you just hear the music playing?

But move through the entrance of Frontierland by contrast and you’ll immediately be greeted by strains of a country banjo playing western themed music putting you smack-dab in the Old West. Move further ahead in Disneyland and you’ll hear that banjo suddenly playing in a more jazz style to let you know you’re now in New Orleans Square! Continue reading


Performer Spotlight: Slam @ Five & Dime

“Every morning, every evening – ain’t we got fun?”

Hiya, Slam!

Hiya, Slam!

Slam is the “Ace of Bass” for the band of swinging musicians, Five & Dime, who perform on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure.

But this guy’s not just the resident awesome upright bass player (I just love to watch him pluck those strings with such gusto!) – he’s the resident goofball as well!

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From his big smile to his funny faces to his hearty belly laughs, what makes this guy stand out is how completely he throws himself into the physicality of whatever he’s doing, whether that’s laughing or playing the bass – he’s just absolutely physically PRESENT and completely engaged in his own silliness. And that’s a lot of fun to watch! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: T-Bone @ Five & Dime

“But smiles were made, dear, for people like us!”

Let’s hear a cheer for T-Bone!

Let’s hear a cheer for T-Bone!

T-Bone is the jovial guitar player who helps lead Five & Dime, the jazzy band that performs regularly on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure.

He’s got a playful streak and likes to joke around with the audience members and his bandmates during the show.  But he’s also the one who keeps everything moving right along!

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He’s a talented musician and I enjoy his singing too, but what I always notice most about this guy is his grin. He’s always wearing it! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Five & Dime

“Whenever you can spend some time, just look us up – we are Five & Dime!”

What is Five & Dime?

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As the story goes, Dime was a shopgirl who the Five musicians discovered. She joined the band as their lead singer and went off to seek fame and fortune!

The approximately 15-minute show is a mix of American songbook standards with a slightly jazzy edge and some comedy bits. (It’s similar musically to New Orleans Square’s Jambalaya Jazz Band, only with a singer and a storyline added in.)

Like the Dapper Dans and Bootstrappers, however, there is an element of audience participation at times. And even if you’re “hiding” in the back of the crowd, you may get picked to be serenaded by Dime or guitar player T-Bone, so be prepared to be (affectionately) teased if you’re chosen! Generally they opt for a couple to play around with separately and then ultimately reunite. But another song (“Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”) involves any of the children in the crowd who want to go up and sing and dance along with Dime.

Who are the performers?

They’re Five and she’s Dime!

They’re Five and Dime!

The band consists of five musicians on drums and washboard, upright bass, trumpet, saxophone and guitar, along with the flirty and fun lead singer, Dime.

The show also includes a special guest appearance by a zoot-suited Goofy who dances along with Dime!

When and where can I find them? Continue reading

Attraction Spotlight: Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

“Just a suitcase and a dream…”

While I’m not always a big fan of walk-through attractions, any chance to dip into the history of Walt Disney and his creations is one that will immediately interest me. It’s why going to the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco someday is on my “Disney Do” list.

So visiting the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios* at the Walt Disney World Resort was also a priority for me.

One of the first things that caught my eye in this amazing amalgamation of items related to Walt Disney and his company was this suitcase:

A travel trunk Walt Disney used circa 1928.

A travel trunk Walt Disney used circa 1928.

It immediately reminded me of one of my favorite songs from the Red Car Trolley News Boys show at Disney California Adventure: “A Suitcase and a Dream”. The song is about how Walt Disney packed up everything he owned into a suitcase and set out for California to make his dreams come true. And while many Disney parks worldwide have the “Partners” statue featuring a mature Walt Disney and his pal Mickey Mouse, Disney California Adventure by contrast features the “Storytellers” statue depicting a younger Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse – and a suitcase!

During the One Man’s Dream walk-through, I was also particularly fascinated to catch a glimpse into a recreation of Walt Disney’s office from the company’s film and TV studio in Burbank, California.

This is what it would have looked like when Walt Disney worked at his Burbank studio!

This is what it would have looked like when Walt Disney worked at his Burbank studio!

The rest of the attraction consists of everything from movie posters and Disney memorabilia to an audio-animatronic Mr. Lincoln to scale models of various park icons and lands both past and present. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Kip @ Red Car Trolley News Boys

“Minute by minute – that’s how you win it!”

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One of my other favorite performers at Red Car Trolley News Boys is this guy – Kip!

Kip is the joker in the group, so he’s always funny to watch being a bit of a troublemaker amongst the rest of the News Boys.

However, despite Kip’s carefree nature, this guy’s performing is the definition of a professional – he gives 150% each and every time he’s there which makes him a delight to see.

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He is always upbeat, always “on”. I’ve never seen this guy give a performance that was less than fully committed and he always looks like he’s having a blast and glad to be there! Which makes the audience glad to watch him too! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Johnny @ Red Car Trolley News Boys

“Happy days are here again!”

The Red Car Trolley News Boys is one of my favorite shows in the Disneyland Resort and this guy is one of my favorite performers in the show!

Johnny is the leader of the News Boys and I know I’d follow that voice anywhere!

Johnny at Christmastime!

Johnny at Christmastime!

Really, I think he is one of the best vocalists in the park. His voice is as standout as those big blue eyes! I think the News Boys always sound better with him participating – his rich, beautiful singing is a highlight of any show he’s in. Continue reading