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.
When people say that they are going on an adventure and want you to help them put a playlist together, what songs would you add? Would it be full of somber, slow, quiet, soothing music? Some smooth jazz, perhaps? Absolutely not! The soundtrack would be full of high-energy, quick-paced, fun music.
That fun music can take a variety of forms. Maybe your adventure soundtrack would be upbeat piano music. Maybe it would be full of international flair. Or maybe it would just be full of drums and other percussion.
Adventureland in Magic Kingdom Park has a lot of different styles in its boundaries – from jungles to desert to the Caribbean coast. But any way you slice it, Adventureland means fun. And fun is what you hear in the background music surrounding the area. Let’s go break down the fun together!
Tomorrowland is so different from the other lands – it holds a special place in my heart.
One of the most incredible aspects of Walt Disney World music is the way it captures the essence of the land. For one minute, you’re imagining yourself with a top hat or parasol walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. The next, you want to be on a mighty steed galloping through Fantasyland. And after that, you’re picturing yourself in a coonskin cap strolling through Frontierland.
My favorite bit of Magic Kindgom music, however, has to be the Tomorrowland loop. Before I started listening to Walt Disney World music online, I could still remember bits of that music in my head from time to time. Even though the music of the future isn’t as easy to pinpoint as music from the turn of the century, it still pulls you into that atmosphere.
Strap in folks; we’re ready for blast-off!
To truly immerse yourself in Tomorrowland, click on the video below, courtesy of Disney Dreaming on YouTube, before continuing:
In almost every other area of Magic Kingdom park, many pieces of music are taken from movies. As we saw in the Main Street, U.S.A. loop, several of the pieces were from movie musicals set in the early 20th century. Other lands arrange or compose music that closely matches the area’s setting, like the rollicking drums of Adventureland.
Have you ever tried to watch a movie without a soundtrack? I have watched behind-the-scenes documentaries of movies and TV shows where they show a dramatic scene or huge action sequence, and it sounds…well…dull. But once that soundtrack is inserted, with the ebbs and flows matching the feelings and actions on screen, suddenly the scene pops!
With this in mind, can you imagine walking down the streets of Magic Kingdom park in Walt Disney World without any of that music coming out of the speakers? Maybe you’ve never really paid attention to the atmospheric soundtrack, but that music subliminally creeps into your psyche and gears you up for wherever your feet take you!
If there was no music, the only thing you’d hear is the noisy people around you. And let’s be honest: anything that helps keep your mind off of the loud discussions, crying, or crabbiness surrounding you and keeps you in your “magic zone” is a welcome one!