Mousertainment Music: The Songs of the Disney Parks Attractions

Recently, the Disney world lost not only one of its longtime talented artists, but one of its most memorable park music contributors as well. X Atencio passed on September 10, 2017 at the age of 98. He was remarkable not only for being a Disney animator on works ranging from Fantasia to Mary Poppins, but for creating two of the most beloved Disney Parks attraction songs ever.

Sing along with me – “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”

Or perhaps you prefer – “Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize!”

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X Atencio’s tribute window on Main Street U.S.A.

Yes, X was the man responsible for the classic songs we all love in both the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction as well as the Haunted Mansion. He also contributed lyrics for “Bear Band Serenade” in Country Bear Jamboree (still to this day a favorite show/attraction thanks to the humor and great songs, especially the one that tickles my funny bone the most: “All the Guys That Turn Me On Turn Me Down”).

While I have previously discussed some of the wonderful atmospheric music you will hear played throughout the Disney resorts, in X’s memory, I thought it might be nice to take a virtual stroll through the parks and commemorate some of the terrific, catchy music you will hear inside many of the most popular attractions.

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The Sherman Brothers’ tribute window on Main Street U.S.A.

Let’s start with the big ones: in my opinion, the only equally iconic attraction music contributions comparable to X’s creations were clearly those of the inimitable Sherman Brothers. Thanks to them we not only have the earworm of “It’s a Small World After All” playing at most Disney Parks worldwide, but also its just as easy to get stuck in your head “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” counterpart.  Happily Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom still celebrates that “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” shining at the end of every day at the Carousel of Progress. And for the moment at least, Figment still shares “One Little Spark” in Journey Into Imagination With Figment at EPCOT. Continue reading

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The Best Laid Plans of Mousertainment…

After nearly a year of planning – including early mornings up before dawn to arrange dining and FastPass+ reservations, this week I was all set to head off to Walt Disney World for a wonderful visit… and then Hurricane Irma happened.

Suffice it to say, my long-anticipated trip got canceled and yesterday instead of enjoying all my exciting options at Epcot, I found myself sitting at home staring at a yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase. So what’s a Disney fan to do except head off to the Disneyland Resort and try to do a West Coast version of the day I’d originally envisioned?

Dining

My food plans for the day were set to be all about Canada! I had intended to try out the cheddar cheese soup and pretzel roll at the Canada booth at the Food & Wine Festival and then have dinner at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion.  So what did I do at the Disneyland Resort instead?

I stopped by the last weekend of the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure where I found one of the themed specialty donuts called the “Local Favorite”.

It’s Canadian-adjacent. Or related. Or something. Hey, there’s maple in it!

How did this pay homage to my Epcot dining plans? Umm, hello MAPLE-filled donut (with bacon on top – oh yes!)!!!

While I’ll have to give the edge to the apple-pie-filled donut I’d tried earlier in the season, this one was a winner, too. Although I didn’t actually find much filling inside, it still had the awesome taste as if someone had mixed a pancake with a donut. And the bacon bits on top gave just a touch of salt to balance out the sweet. Yum!

Entertainment

High on my priorities list for entertainment at Epcot was to see the glorious Voices of Liberty and listen to their soaring harmonies and classic music selections. Continue reading

Mousertainment at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in 2017

While ongoing downsizing of entertainment in the parks unfortunately continues, occasional new (or returning) options do thankfully emerge.

Today, I’d like to take a look at a few new, recent and upcoming offerings at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts that I’m excited about in 2017!

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • THREE beloved experiences are returning to Disneyland Park this year. First, the Main Street Electrical Parade has been brought back from the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort where it has dazzled for the past several years. It will be running at Disneyland from January 20-June 18, 2017. (It is expected that Paint the Night parade will then return for the summer months.) I’m excited to see this classic parade back on Disneyland’s Main Street for the first time in decades and am planning an upcoming feature to spotlight it!
  • Second, perhaps Disneyland Park’s best fireworks show ever – Remember Dreams Come True, the 50th Anniversary spectacular – is returning with weekend performances beginning February 3rd. I always felt this was a far superior representation of the park’s history than Disneyland Forever, which was introduced (and ended) for the 60th anniversary celebration.
  • And finally, after having been closed while the Rivers of America were re-routed for the new Star Wars Land, Fantasmic! will once again brighten the Rivers with its magic and music later this year! While I’m thrilled for this wonderful atmospheric show’s return, rumor has it that it is being significantly revised, losing the extremely popular Peter Pan and Hook sequence in favor of a Pirates of the Caribbean scene. We’ll see how this changes the show, but since the original was pretty close to perfect (except maybe the silly Pinocchio bit), it’s going to have to work extra hard to impress!

Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts

In honor of the birthday of the Mouse that started it all, I thought today would be a good day to run through some of the places where you can see and/or meet with Mickey Mouse himself at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

I’d suggest trying some of these spots!

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • Mickey Mouse can often be spotted in Town Square on Main Street, USA doing a Meet & Greet with guests. But the best place to find him for daily Meet & Greets is in Mickey’s House in ToonTown!
Mickey Mouse March!

Mickey Mouse March!

  • Mickey Mouse joins the Disneyland Band and the Dapper Dans in a March-Along held generally around late morning or lunchtime each day.  While the March-Along is usually announced over the loudspeakers a few minutes beforehand in Town Square, your best bet is to check at City Hall in the morning to ask when it will happen. Mickey also participates in the Soundsational parade (and seasonally he can currently be seen in A Christmas Fantasy Parade).
Hiya Mickey!

Mickey says hi in his Mapmaker outfit!

  • Mickey and the Magical Map – watch Mickey Mouse learn the secrets of the map in this wonderful musical theatrical adventure as he aspires to become a fully-fledged mapmaker!

Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or the Disneyland app for the schedules for the parades and showtimes. Continue reading

Happy 45th Anniversary to the Walt Disney World Resort!

“In everything you do – celebrate you!”

On October 1, 1971, Roy O. Disney helped make another of Walt Disney’s dreams come true by opening the first park in the Walt Disney World Resort – The Magic Kingdom.

It was the beginning of the ultimate vacation destination and has grown over the past 45 years to incredible proportions to include four theme parks, two water parks, golf courses, a sports training area, resort hotels and a huge shopping district in the newly renamed Disney Springs.

In honor of this special occasion, I’m posting a few shots of the central image of The Magic Kingdom – Cinderella’s Castle – one of the most beautiful structures to photograph in the Resort (plus you can actually enjoy a meal inside of it!):

A view into the restaurant inside the Castle at night.

A view into the restaurant inside the Castle at night.

Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!

Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!

Particularly stunning during Wishes fireworks!

Particularly stunning during Wishes fireworks!

Eleven years later, on October 1, 1982, the Walt Disney World Resort opened EPCOT Center – a World’s Fair theme park focused on edutainment ranging from science to world cultures. Continue reading

The Garden Rocks at the EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival

Due to my March Madness, this feature is being posted a bit later than planned, but it’s still relevant!

While much of Disney Parks entertainment has been in a freefall of losses lately, happily, EPCOT’s events team still sees the value in a live music component to their Festivals.

During EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival, the stars shine at the Eat to the Beat concert series.  While cover bands take over in the Sounds Like Summer concert series. But during the Flower & Garden Festival (in 2016, scheduled from March 2-May 30th), the Garden Rocks concert series once again brings original bands and performers to the America Gardens Theatre every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Festival with three performances nightly – 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8pm (schedule as always subject to change – check the location or the My Disney Experience app for details). Note: FastPass+ is not offered for this series, however, all shows are included free as part of your paid park admission.

This year’s scheduled lineup includes:  Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Candlelight Processional at Disneyland Park

The “Living Christmas Tree” of the Disneyland Park Cast Member choir.

The “Living Christmas Tree” of the Disneyland Park Cast Member choir.

What is the Candlelight Processional?

The Candlelight Processional is a time-honored tradition started by Walt Disney as a way to give back to the community and celebrate the spirit of the season together.

The hour-long event begins as the chorus makes its way through Main Street to Town Square and provides the musical background to the Nativity story as recited by a guest narrator between the Christmas carols and hymns. At different points in the show, featured solo artists perform songs including a show-stopping bilingual/Spanish version of “Silent Night”.

Who are the performers?

Guest narrator Lana Parilla.

Guest narrator Lana Parilla.

The chorus is filled with a combination of Disneyland Resort Cast Members who audition to be part of the show along with members of local school and church choirs and other singing groups from the community. They are backed by an immense and talented orchestra.

The show is narrated by different celebrity guests each night. This year, the narrators were actresses Geena Davis (A League of Their Own) and Lana Parilla (the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time).

When and where can I find it? Continue reading