In my last AtMousePhere article, we covered the music of Future World West. That area of Epcot has been revised over the years, but much of it still retains its original charm in look, and, in some ways, in music.
However, when we move across the way to Future World East, we come to an area that barely looks like it did back in the 1980s. From the coming and going of the Wonders of Life to the rebranding (and rebuilding) of Horizons/Mission: Space to the conversion of World of Motion into Test Track (and then Test Track’s own refurbishment) to the long-standing Universe of Energy (with modified attraction inside), Future World East has changed in leaps and bounds!
With whole pavilions modifying their purpose, the music has had to change too. We hear more “modern” instrumental arrangements in this area than we do in any other section of Walt Disney World. While most areas use previously composed music from movies or classical compositions, Future World has had to arrange pieces that make people really think about the future, but in less of a sci-fi sense than the futuristic sounds of Tomorrowland.
So let’s open our ears and imagine taking a left after Spaceship Earth!
We’re taking things in a different direction in this edition of AtMousePhere. Epcot can be divided all sorts of ways: one way is to divide it into Future World and World Showcase, or you could divide each single pavilion into its own specific section.
For our purpose here, I am going to take a few pavilions at a time and highlight the atmospheric music inside and outside the pavilion. This article is going to focus on the music of Future World West, which includes The Seas with Nemo and Friends, The Land, and Imagination!
The Innoventions plaza in Epcot has been known to house a rotating array of exhibits. It has been this way since 1994, when the area replaced CommuniCore and introduced a lot of Sega-based video games and products along with virtual reality simulators. In its current form, Innoventions houses Sum of All Thrills, VISION House, StormStruck, and more.
While Innoventions is always making changes (like its current overhaul of Innoventions West), one thing has remained throughout the past 21 years: the music loop. While there have been some small revisions, the majority of the Innoventions music loop has stayed the same, and many people have grown to love the loop (myself included).
While at first I was worried if I could really write enough to make this article worthwhile, I soon found that the Innoventions music loop has a wonderful history!
The original Disneyland Band castle show has taken its final bow, but you can relive it with TouringPlans. (Photo and video by Seth Kubersky)
“Now it’s time to say goodbye” to one of the longest-running entertainment offerings in Disneyland history, as the Disneyland Band has disbanded, at least in it’s original form. Weeks ago, an “end of run” notice was filed with the musicians’ union that represents Disneyland Resort employees, notifying members of the historic 16-member marching band that they would have to reaudition for their roles (some of which they’d held for multiple decades) in a newly reorganized Disneyland Band, which will feature “a new sound” and “high-energy choreography.”
The classic Disneyland Band, which has been performing Americana classics since the park premiered in 1955, was originally expected to perform until the new one debuts at Disneyland’s official 60th birthday on July 17th. But (as reported by the “I Support Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band” Facebook fan page) the final performance of the full band under director Kurt Curtis was held on Monday, June 15.
The new Disneyland Band will be slightly larger, and feature 2 members of the original ensemble, while the rest will be redeployed in smaller musical groups (at least through the Diamond Celebration). That’s why I’m so grateful I stumbled into the band’s midday castle show during my recent Disneyland visit. While the microphones weren’t quite cooperating, this complete video of the Disneyland Band castle show should give you an idea why these performances were popular for generations:
In less than a month, we should have our first look at the all-new Disneyland Band, and if you are a fan of modern-day drum corps choreography, you should probably be looking forward to it. If not, keep an eye out for former Disneyland Band members as they pop up in new spots around the parks.
When you Google “dancing fountains,” three locations pop up on the first page: the fountains outside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, and the Epcot fountain in Orlando. Dancing fountains, while amazing to watch, are hard to produce: Between the timing of the fountains, the propulsion of the shooters, and the thousands of gallons of water, it takes a long time to make it just right.
In Epcot, the Fountain of Nations was created in the first year of the park’s existence, and still delights the tens of thousands of people that view the fountains at work each day. Every 15 minutes the normal Epcot AtMousePhere audio fades out in the area near the fountain and new music takes its place. The music itself syncs with the shots of water that fly through the air and the graceful arcs of water from the nozzles.
After a brief hiatus, the AtMousePhere series is back and taking a look at Epcot, and specifically Epcot music!
Out of all of the theme parks, fans have especially latched on to the music of Epcot’s entrance. The other three theme parks have music at the entrance that is put together like a patchwork quilt: One piece ends, and the next piece begins. In Epcot, however, the pieces are woven through a main tune that appears in some form between each new piece of music.
The one section of Echo Lake that everyone is familiar with when they enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios is…well…the lake itself! On one side is the boat where you can find Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, and on the other side is Gertie the dinosaur.
The biggest trouble with the music of the Echo Lake area is that it is often drowned out by the music of the stage shows, musical acts, or Streetmosphere characters that are in the former location of the Sorcerer’s Hat. While this is a problem in other areas, too, it’s more of a problem here since there is a lack of large buildings or walls to block the sound. As a result, any “atMousephere” gets overshadowed.
Much of the wonderful music that we hear at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are music taken from Disney television or movies. If you’ve followed the AtMousePhere blog posts, we’ve taken a look at how some Disney songs fit perfectly into an area, and other songs are rearranged.
In other areas of the Parks, however, Disney Imagineers incorporated music from outside the Disney universe. Especially in an area like Epcot, using pieces of music from that country or land makes that area in the Park more “authentic.”
Ever since I took an interest in Disney Parks music back in 2009, I did a lot of research to find songs that I heard on MouseWorld Radio and in YouTube videos of the Parks. I learned the names and artists, found out how I could purchase the song, and then did so. Sometimes I found the song on iTunes, sometimes on Amazon, and other times I actually had to order a CD because it wasn’t available in mp3.
The word animation usually take us back to our childhood, and for most of us Disney fans, we think of our favorite Disney animated movies: Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or The Lion King. At Walt Disney World we are immersed into those environments thanks to fantastical buildings, character meet-and-greets, and fun attractions.
Only in Disney’s Hollywood Studios do we see what it takes to put those animated movies together, and that takes us to our next destination in our AtMousePhere tour: the Animation Courtyard.
The music here can be heard behind the Animation Archway and down Mickey Avenue until it meets up with Pixar Place. The area around Disney Junior – Live on Stage! has its own music around the entrance to that attraction based on the shows that are inside. Closer to Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream you’ll find music familiar to anyone who enjoyed Disney animated features – especially the ones of the 1990s.
If you’ve been to a Wild West town before – whether it was an old authentic ghost town or right out of a theme park (like, say, Walt Disney World?) – you probably know the keys to a good western locale. First, there should be lots of wooden buildings. Second, there should be a saloon, or two, or four. Third, there should be some rollickin’ good music to put you in a square-dancin’ mood.
The Frontierland area of Magic Kindgom park has all three of these keys. The music in the area really transports you back in time to the good ol’ days and gets everyone excited to be in that area of the park. Whether you are eating at the Pecos Bill Cafe or heading to the queue for Big Thunder Mountain, you are successfully inundated through the atmosphere and AtMousePhere.