Top 5 Disneyland Attraction LP Records

I was a child of the vinyl era and learned about the world through listening to record albums.  I had a small but eclectic mix of LPs (as they were called) which included works by Mr. Rogers, Bible stories read by James Mason, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and several recordings by Disneyland Records.  Some of the Disneyland recordings were soundtracks from films and some were soundtracks from attractions at the parks. Many of these albums enticed listeners with the following nomenclature “A magnificent full-color illustrated book and long-playing record.”  Even though I never visited the Magic Kingdom as a child, I was often able to virtually visit through the Disneyland recordings with “magnificent” illustrations. As an adult, I frequently played these records for my children, and listening to them was part of our family life particularly between visits. Here are my Top 5 Disneyland Records theme park recordings.

  1. Walt Disney World’s Country Bear Jamboree 

Dinseyland Record #3994 c. 1972 Walt Disney World Productions

Side One comprises the soundtrack from the show.  Side two comprises music from The Mile Long Bar.  According to the D23 website, The Mile Long Bar was a saloon that served non-alcoholic drinks and remarks that “an ingenious use of mirrors makes the bar seem like it was a mile long” (D23, https://d23.com/a-to-z/mile-long-bar/  accessed 25 Feb 2018).thumbnail_IMG_2933 The first one opened in October of 1971 in Frontierland in the brand new Disney World resort.  A year later saw additional openings in Bear Country in Disneyland and in 1983 in Westernland in Tokyo Disney D23, https://d23.com/a-to-z/mile-long-bar/  accessed 25 Feb 2018).

Many artists are credited with composing the songs, but Disney music veteran George Bruns presumably had creative control and is credited with being the conductor.

None of the voices are credited on the album, but one can clearly hear the distinct voice of Thurl Ravenscroft.

This album brings us the Country Bear Jamboree and with the help of the music from the Mile Long Bar, transports us to the heart of Frontierland.

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  1. It’s A Small World

Disneyland Record #3925 c. 1964 Walt Disney Productions

We all know the song. We all know the iconic attraction which was created for the 1962 World’s Fair and has since become one of the most beloved rides for the Disney theme parks.  The album presents the soundtrack from the boat ride.  It is sparsely narrated by IMG_2931Winston Hibler, who from time to time alerts us to the different countries we are passing through.  While the melody is ubiquitous, the orchestrations mercifully change to reflect the ethnomusicology of the cultures we are visiting.

The voyage begins on Side 1 and continues on Side 2 until we are docked where we began. The album ends with the recording of the song.

There’s nothing spectacular here, but just as is the case with the ride, the joy is in its simplicity.

Winston Hibler wore many hats for the Walt Disney Company during his almost four decade career.  He was a cameraman, writer, lyricist and producer.  He also voiced the narration for the Disney True-Life Adventure Series.

As you all probably know, the song was written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

  1. The Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion

Disneyland Record #3947 c.1969

Side 1 of the album begins with the familiar organ notes that can only mean Disney’s Haunted Mansion. You’ll hear music and sound effects from the attraction, but the album also tells a story.  Narrated by the great Thurl Ravenscroft, the album contrived a story about Karen and Mike, who stumble across the Mansion during a storm, and they, like you, are compelled to take a journey through this ghastly home.  By the way, Ravenscroft’s sonorous bass voice is used in the attraction and his likeness is seen as the bust in the graveyard that resembles Walt Disney.   Side 2 is more satisfying.  It includes much more of the soundtrack from the ride IMG_2938including Madame Leota’s appeal to the spirits, the ghastly organ music of the ballroom, and the heartbeat of the ghostly bride in the attic. The young couple escapes unscathed, but right before they exit safely, we hear the anthem of the graveyard jamboree, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”

Karen is voiced by Robbie Lester. Her voice graced many Disney recordings.  She appeared in many Rankin-Bass Christmas specials and did the singing for Eva Gabor in Disney films such as The Aristocats and The Rescuers.  In addition to her Disney work, Lester was a highly sought after voice artist.  Mike is voiced by Ronny Howard.  If you are wondering, yes that is the same person as acclaimed film director and portrayer of Opie Taylor, Ron Howard.

They used the soundtrack for Madame Leota, so you will enjoy the distinctive voice of Disney animated film veteran Eleanor Audley as conjurer Madame Leota.  You’ll recognize Audley’s voice as that of the wicked fairy Malificent from Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella’s evil stepmother.

The one disappointment is the absence of the voice of Paul Frees as the Ghost Host of the Haunted Mansions in California and Orlando.  In Mouse Tracks The Story of Walt Disney Records, authors Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar note that “Performance fees prevented the use of Paul Frees from the attraction soundtrack. . .” (Hollis 188).

Frees is one of the most accomplished voice actors of the twentieth century.  In addition to the Haunted Mansion, his is the voice of the Auctioneer in Pirates of the Caribbean, The German parrot in The Enchanted Tiki Room and the character of Professor Ludwig von Drake.  He is also the voice of many cartoon characters including Boris Badenov from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Burgermeister Meisterburger from Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

The ghost host is voiced by Pete Renaday, who does an excellent job save for not being IMG_2940Paul Frees.  Renaday was another celebrated voice actor who was in fact the voice of Mickey Mouse for many years for Disney records and cassettes (Hollis 119-120).

The music for the attraction and the accompanying song “Grim Grinning Ghosts” was composed by Buddy Baker. The lyrics for the song were written by X. Attencio. You could write a book about their contributions to the Disney brand, but take note that they also wrote the popular song from The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).”

 

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  1. Walt Disney’s The Enchanted Tiki Room

Disneyland Record  #ST 3966 c.1968 Walt Disney Productions

This album is a double treat as Side 1 includes the music from The Enchanted Tiki Room show and Side 2 takes us on a narrated Jungle Cruise journey.

Admittedly, The Enchanted Tiki Room is not among the most thrilling attractions at the thumbnail_IMG_2920 - CopyDisney parks, but it is not without its whimsical charms and enjoys legacy status as it is the very first attraction to feature audio animatronics.  The audio animatronics were exotic birds that sing and tell jokes.

The avian ensemble comprises a chorus and four hosts from different countries, Jose from Spain, Michael from Ireland, Pierre from France, and Fritz from Germany.  Fritz is voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft.  Jose is voiced by Wally Boag, one of the stars of Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Review.  Boag is a multitalented performer who sings and dances, plays banjo, moves like a rubber band, and folds balloons the way Michelangelo sculpts marble. Boag was also an early inspiration for the brilliant Steve Martin.

There are several songs in the show from other sources, but enthusiasts will aver that the only song that matters is the theme song “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” by Richard M. thumbnail_IMG_2921Sherman and brother Robert B. Sherman.  It’s hard not to like, and even harder to forget. The music for the attraction and album was arranged by George Bruns.

Side 2 takes us for a journey on the Jungle Cruise.  This attraction has no soundtrack so Disney Records used the narration from the ride itself coupled with exotic music titled “Adventureland Suite” to bring the experience to your home.  Once again, Disney Records called upon the talents of Thurl Ravenscroft to play the boat skipper. You are

Ravenscroft strikes the perfect balance between stentorian authority and high camp. The music is composed and conducted by Salvador “Tutti” Camarata. Camarata, as he was often called, was involved with Disneyland Records from the early days. He was a gifted musician who was skilled at creating soundtrack albums for home enjoyment.  According to Mouse Tracks, Annette Funicello credits him as “the force that shaped her successful recording career” (Hollis 50).

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On the front of each of these albums, not as prominently placed as the album title but still noticeable, are the enticing words “A magnificent full-color illustrated book and long-playing record.” The combination of the illustrations and the soundtrack will transport you to the Magic Kingdom in an instant.

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  1. The Official Album of Disneyland/Walt Disney World

Dinseyland Records #2510 copyright 1980

thumbnail_IMG_2916I found this record at a tag sale somewhere in Cos Cob Connecticut in the early nineties. It’s a wonderful collection of ambient music from the two Magic Kingdoms as well as some of their attractions.

 

 

 

 

Side 1:  “Main Street Electrical Parade”

Pirates of the Caribbean

Music of Main Street

The Enchanted Tike Room

Country Bear Jamboree

Side 2: The Disneyland Band

“It’s a Small World”

The Steel Drum Band

The Haunted Mansion

The Royal Street Bachelors

America Sings

The Fife and Drum Corps

The Hall of Presidents – Mr. Lincoln

Are these the five absolute best?  No, for who’s to say which are the best. There are dozens of worthy albums to choose from but my selections are all excellent and are special to me. You can find these Disney treasures at tag sales or on eBay. Disney has released a lot of theme park attraction soundtracks on cd and the internet has access to an exhaustive supply of Disney theme park music. Go find some that you and your family will enjoy.

 

article and photos by Martin Blanco  c. March 18, 2018

 

The following sources were used for this piece.

Mouse Tracks The Story of Walt Disney Records by Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar published by The University Press of Mississippi, c. 2006.

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The D23 Website https://d23.com/a-to-z/mile-long-bar/

10 Ways to Incorporate the Spirit of Disney into your Home

While it’s fun to configure some hidden Mickeys or fill up your home with Disney merchandise, what is it that really makes Disney such a great place to be? I’d argue it’s the little things – how it’s always clean and well lit, everybody has a smile, there are plenty of yummy treats to be had, and the flowers are always in bloom. The Disney resort is designed to delight all five senses for a welcoming atmosphere. Short of transforming your home into an amusement park, here are ten simple, subtle things you can do to bring the spirit of Disney into your home.

  1. Flowers

Keeping a vase of fresh flowers, or even dried ones, on the table at all times brings a bit of nature inside and brightens up a room. Houseplants – whether a potted tree in the living room or a row of herbs on the windowsill – also bring the beauty of nature inside. It’s a little taste of Disney’s year-round gardens.

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  1. Music

Though you might not always notice it’s there, background music is constantly playing in the Disney parks. It’s used to transition between lands and set the tone of the area. Keeping some music on in the background can change the mood in a home, as well. Certainly it can be Disney music, particularly the music that plays in the parks, but any tune will do. We usually keep a 40s station playing in the mornings during breakfast, and classical works well as background music ‘round the clock since it often lacks distracting vocals. Explore your local radio stations, borrow some CDs from the library, or craft playlists on Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, or your music provider of choice.

dscn7515-23. Treats

You may have noticed there is always an abundance of tasty treats available for guest purchase. Keeping out a sweet or salty snack 24/7 may not be the best idea health-wise. But at our house we always like to have a bag of cookies or some cheese and crackers tucked away to lay out when a guest comes to visit. A bowl of fresh fruit is a healthier option for the day-to-day. At some of the fancier hotels, they also sometimes keep out a pitcher of water with fruit or lemon in it. It’s refreshing, healthy, and a little bit elegant.

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  1. Nice trash

It may seem silly, but have you noticed all the garbage cans in Disney are beautiful? Each is themed to whichever park or hotel they’re placed in and, rather than detracting from the atmosphere, they somehow add to it. Try finding a nice trash can, it’s an inexpensive way to spruce up a room. This goes for any mundane piece of furniture or appliance that might normally be hidden away but instead can contribute to a festive atmosphere.

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  1. Cloth towels

Up until recently, the deluxe Disney hotels used to provide rolled-up cloth towels instead of paper ones in their lobbies. This may seem like a small thing, but it was just one of the many touches that made a guest feel special – there was something so luxurious about drying your hands with a warm cloth towel straight from the dryer. Try using cloth towels rather than paper ones at home. This one is a little more tricky, but we recently switched from paper napkins to cloth ones at home. They’re more absorbent, they look and feel nicer, and hey – they save paper, too!

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  1. Scents

Despite being packed with people sweltering in the Florida sunshine, the Disney resort is surprisingly stink-free. Smell is an important part of atmosphere, and after all. On Main Street, USA, especially, the scent of fresh baked goods always pervade the air. At home, we like to use a flame-lit diffuser known as Lampe Berger, but any diffuser, scented candle, or air freshener can add that extra sensory treat.

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  1. Lighting

While you can’t exactly bring the Florida sunshine into your home, keeping things well lit is cheery. But it’s not just about how bright the light is, it’s about where it’s coming from. Keep shades open in the afternoon to let in the cheery sunlight, and light candles in the evening or in cloudy weather to foster a cozy atmosphere.

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  1. Classic Cartoons

Granted, this one is slightly less subtle, but still fairly unobtrusive. If you’ve ever stayed at a Disney hotel, you’ll know that Disney cartoons are playing all the time. Once I enter the lobby of a hotel and see a TV surrounded by tiny furniture, I know I’m home! While the lobby TV’s now play the new Mickey and the Gang cartoons, I prefer the classics, or even some Silly Symphonies. Either way, having some Disney cartoons on in the background morning or evening feels like having a piece of the resort in your home.

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  1. Art & maps

A bare wall is rarely to be found in Disney World. Some nice prints – Disney related or otherwise – add decoration easily. Maps, especially, add character and present opportunities for adventure.

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  1. Entertainment

There is always something to do in Disney World. Even in the quieter places, a guest can always be entertained. In your home, try keeping out a puzzle everybody can add to when they have a few minutes to spare. Leaving out art supplies can also foster spur-of-the-moment creativity. Try sharing a coloring book or contributing to a family collage. These are both fun family activities and calming stress-relievers.

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by Kathryn Blanco

all photos property of Kathryn Blanco