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,  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,  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.



  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).”





  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).




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.




  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.


The D23 Website

Fantasia at the New York Philharmonic

1145_NYP_FANTASIA_2520x936 (2)Technical difficulties and busy lives kept us from posting for awhile.  We are back just in time for a special Disney event.  Tonight we’re off to Lincoln Center to watch scenes from Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 accompanied by a live performance of the music by the New York Philharmonic.    We’ll write a “review” or at least our thoughts on the overall experience when we return.

Two years ago we attended a similar event.  The NY Philharmonic featured highlights from PIXAR films accompanied by live music performed  by the Orchestra.  Of course we enjoyed the clips, but listening to the music performed live was a great treat, particularly since the live orchestra infused the music with a richness that you don’t get from a recording.   It didn’t hurt having the music performed by an elite ensemble either.

Fans of PIXAR know how distinctive each of their films are.  The different styles of the films naturally required  music that reflected these differences.  If memory serves correctly, they showed the opening sequence from Up which functions beautifully as a complete silent movie unto itself.  The music told the story with affecting grace.  Contrast this with the wild,  modern big band jazz sound of The Incredibles.   In Ratatouille, we heard the sounds of Paris in the jazz age, and Toy Story gave us the music of an American childhood.

These events are a great way to introduce children to concert music while experiencing favorite films in a new way.

More to come later.


c. May 20, 2016

Walt Disney Records are Alive and Well


a good read p. Martin Blanco

I’ve enjoyed recorded music for as long as I can remember.  I have vivid memories of my parents playing records on their stereo especially on Saturdays when I was subjected to an eclectic mix of Puccini opera, Broadway musicals, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick and Judy Garland.  I even liked some of it.  Anyway, imitating my parents’ habits, I wanted recorded music of my own damn it!

My prized possession was a portable record player which included an AM radio so I could listen to Yankee baseball games (with an earphone if I was in the car).  My tastes were distinct from my parents.  Sure I had some typical kids fare such as a third rate adaptation of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn complete with cloying, inane music (hey, I was six or seven).  I remember a particularly dreadful adaptation of Pinocchio, decidedly not Disney’s, where the authors never missed an opportunity to rhyme Pinocchio with Tokyo (even as a child I could sense the absurdity of the anachronism for the sake of rhyme).  Still, it was not without its child-like charms and by virtue of owning it, I had a certain attachment to it.  I even owned a recording of James Mason, with his wife and daughter, telling stories from the Old Testament.  I assumed that God sounded like James Mason until I was about 17 years old.

But I had some truly great music too.  When I was in kindergarten I expressed an interest in The Beatles.  One night, my father came home from work with a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for me.  I can fairly say that was the day music came to life for me.  I must have played that album a thousand times and while listening to the music, I would study every inch of the album cover, the interior photo of the Beatles festooned in exaggerated Edwardian garb, and the lyrics set forth on the back.  I acquired many more Beatles singles on 45rpm discs and decades later I still own and play them.

Naturally, I also  acquired an extensive collection of recordings put out by the Walt Disney Company.  Some of these were soundtracks from the movies.  Typically, a soundtrack album would include some of the dialogue and most of the songs from a movie as well as a booklet featuring an abridgement of the story and illustrations.  My childhood predates home video, so these albums enabled the listener to experience  Disney movies after they left the theatres.  As I grew older, I gave many of these away, which ironically I ended up repurchasing from eBay when my children were young.  I also eBay purchased a number of albums that reflected theme park attractions such as The Haunted Mansion or The Jungle Cruise albums.  Just as I did, my children grew up listening to The Beatles and Walt Disney Records, both of which provided a happy soundtrack to their childhood, while the Disney recordings also kept the memories of the theme parks vivid inbetween visits.

Mouse Tracks, the Story of Walt Disney Records written by Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar is an excellent chronicle of the Disney recording studios.  The book gives a comprehensive history of this enterprise and illustrates how the growth of Walt Disney Records parallels the growth of the overall company.  It should come as no surprise to the Disney enthusiast that Walt Disney was a pioneer in the recording industry.

Disney was able to generate a great deal of revenue by licensing music from his popular films for others to record.  In 1933, Disney released the short film The Three Little Pigs as part of his Silly Symphony series.  Not only was the cartoon a success, but it also produced a hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.”  Disney licensed and recorded the song and it became an anthem of America’s courage in the face of the Great Depression.

In the early days of cinema, it was easier to rerecord music from a film then to use selections from the actual soundtrack.  Walt Disney was about to change all that.  The authors write “From Edison’s time until World War II, it was more technically feasible to recreate songs from the films and shows in a separate studio either with or without original cast members.  Instead of replicating the style of the original work, the arrangements were often reinterpreted for dancing and radio play.”  This changed with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  They continue, “Victor’s [records] 1938 three disc set of songs from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) became the first soundtrack album from a feature film, followed by the soundtracks of Pinocchio (1940) and Dumbo (1941).”  Walt Disney ostensibly invented the soundtrack recording industry.

The book details how The Ballad of Davy Crockett became a megahit and how it was a game changer not only for Disney, but for just about every artist involved.  Similarly, we’ll learn how the Record division helped brand the Mickey Mouse Club long before a single episode ever aired and how the Mickey Mouse Club subsequently became an ongoing resource to generate more recordings.  The book also examines how the company had to change with technology.  What began as a venture selling discs, had to adapt to cassettes, comapact discs and now digital media.  Through it all one thing is clear:  Disney’s success in the cinema and television extended to the recording industry, creating an additional stream of revenue, additional means to reinforce the Disney brand, and the opportunity to keep the joy of the movies, television shows and ultimately the theme parks with you at home.

The book also highlights the talent that created these marvelous recordings.  You’ll meet composers, producers, illustrators and the actors whose vocal talents shaped the sound of the Disney brand.  Many of these actors are still heard in the Disney Parks today.  You may not know who Thurl Ravenscroft, Paul Frees, Dal McKennon and Janet Waldo are for example, but you know their voices. Now you’ll know their stories.

The book used to be sold in the theme parks, but if it is no longer available there you can surely acquire a copy online.  In the coming weeks, I will provide highlights of some of the vocal talent featured in the book.  If you grew up enjoying records and cartoons, this book will be a nostalgic trip.  If you are a Disney enthusiast, the book chronicles a heretofore neglected aspect of the Disney company and celebrates the numerous artists whose talents have shaped the Disney brand.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the authors.  “The story of Disney’s in-house recording company is rich in successes and failures, great ideas and misfires.  More than anything else, it is the story of hardworking, talented people. . .Our goal is to heighten interest in these recordings and especially the artists who created them.”

-Martin Blanco c.2015

Mouse Tracks  The Story of Walt Disney Records

By Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar

c. 2006

University Press of Mississippi