Show Spotlight Flashback: The (Original) Disneyland Band

“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade…”

I had hoped to post this early enough in the day that it wouldn’t qualify as a flashback, but sadly it did not work out that way.  As of this afternoon, the original version of the Disneyland Band is no more – because starting tomorrow they will be “reimagined” into a new configuration. Today was the last day to catch this classic band performing in its (almost) original form as it was established back in 1955.

What was the (Original) Disneyland Band?

The Disneyland Band in Town Square.

The Disneyland Band in Town Square.

The Disneyland Band was a traditional-style early 20th century small town marching band that could easily be considered the heart of Main Street, U.S.A.

But even as they performed throughout other corners of the park, they were easily recognizable by their crisp white uniforms that gleamed in the Southern California sunlight along with their shiny musical instruments. And just hearing their comforting familiar musical performances even in passing made you feel right at home.

They had been a fixture of Disneyland since it opened and were as much a piece of park history as they were a representation of American history.

Who were the performers?

Sadly, many of the longtime performers in the Disneyland Band were reportedly already let go from the band as of a few weeks ago. But the band consisted of more than a dozen musicians playing instruments ranging from drum to trombone to tuba, along with the conductor who led them.

When and where could I find it?

The Mad Hatter and Alice join the Disneyland Band for a set at Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The Mad Hatter, Alice and Mickey Mouse join the Disneyland Band for a set at Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Through today, you could find the Disneyland Band playing at multiple locations in the park including in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle – a set that often included character guests!  They also had sets in the morning through early afternoon ranging from spots in front of the Mickey floral at the entrance to the park to Town Square on Main Street as well as along Main Street itself. The sets on Main Street could include a special appearance by Mickey Mouse himself dressed in his band uniform best!

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The Disneyland Band on Main Street with special guest band member Mickey Mouse!

I also recently caught them playing a morning set aboard the Mark Twain – a very special treat!

All aboard the Mark Twain!

All aboard the Mark Twain!

And at the end of each “day”, they also participated in the park’s Flag Retreat ceremony.

Why spotlight it?

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Along with the Dapper Dans and the Main Street Ragtime Piano, the original Disneyland Band was not only a timeless mainstay of the park, but a defining component of the atmosphere of Main Street, U.S.A. as well as being a critical contributor to the dignity and majesty of the daily Flag Retreat.

Taking a moment (or ten) to sit down on the benches of Town Square to just listen to the band were some of the most peaceful, relaxing times I have so appreciated having in the park.

While I’m sad to see this classic symbol of both Americana and Disneyana leave the park, I am somewhat optimistic that the new band that starts tomorrow will either take on the more sprightly, comedic tone of their East Coast Main Street Philharmonic counterparts (to be spotlighted later this week) or strive for the charm and cheer of the more modern, upbeat bands like those employed at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort – both of which feature a more choreographed style of presentation. Though hopefully it will still not seem too contemporary. The beauty of a timeless thing… is that it’s timeless. The original Disneyland Band always felt classic and never dated. It brought you right into the era that Walt Disney intended – of bandstands and summer and picnics in the park and a slower pace of living away from today’s hustle and bustle. Hopefully the new version of the band (to be spotlighted at a later date!) will manage that timeless feeling equally well.

Did you see the (Original) Disneyland Band perform?  Are you looking forward to the new band or do you wish they’d kept the original version?

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