Ultimate Guide to Magic Kingdom Music in the Park
This past weekend, my friends and I worked out a fantastic weekend agenda that would include the trifecta of perfection, as we like to call it: a city escape. A place to soak up some sun, and a new outdoor restaurant/bar to enjoy a meal together sounded great to us. We agreed to go to the beach, so we checked off numbers one and two on our list, and we found a great waterfront restaurant with a local, rotating menu currently featuring delicious sounding berry salads and regionally caught fish…check off number three! All that was missing was Magic Kingdom music!
It was just past 11:00 PM on Thursday, and with less than 24 hours left before we would be sailing down the Parkway towards the sandy shoals, the weather forecast was too foreboding to continue to pretend otherwise. We canceled our outdoor plans and decided to have a movie marathon instead.
Halfway through our second movie, I made a comment about the odd (read: poor) choice of loud and fast music and how it completely detracted from a scene that was meant to be heartwarming and, quite frankly, the opposite of a high school house party.
The conversation quickly turned to music, movie scores, and of course, Disney music. I got to talking about how music could really make or break what you’re experiencing…and that could not be more true for the area music at Magic Kingdom.
Set the Scene
It’s so subtle, you won’t hear it if you aren’t specifically listening for it. The memories and emotions so many guests have come to expect when they visit a Disney Park has everything to do with the company’s undeniable, unmatched attention to detail.
The reason we feel such complete immersion into each area/land/attraction we experience has so much to do with the all-encompassing stimulation we get from our surroundings, and I think that the most important stimulant comes by way of our ear drums: the music.
A Musical Tour of the Magic Kingdom Music
Before you even enter the gates, heck, before you even fully disembark your monorail, the ever-present area music has begun to acquaint you to the Park that you are about to enter. In the case of the Magic Kingdom music, the area music outside of the gates focuses completely on the classics, as it should! I always catch myself absentmindedly humming along to the instrumental versions of some of the most beloved Disney tunes out there! On my last visit alone, my family and I sang along to Be Our Guest, Under the Sea, and You Can Fly! as we made our approach to Magic Kingdom!
Main Street USA
Now that you’re all warmed up, the true ‘area music’ begins! Main Street USA’s design harkens back to that of Walt Disney’s childhood hometown, and since Walt grew up in the early 1900’s, the music you’ll hear in the area hasn’t aged a day since the 1950’s! Take the morning trolley show as an example; the performers dance along to old-timey American classics and sing about wearing their “Sunday Clothes” from traditional Broadway shows. If you’re traveling with your grandparents, ask them if they can name any of the tunes you don’t recognize…my grandma taught me a thing or two the last time I visited with her!
Synthesized futuristic, melody-less tones subtly mesh to create the perfect storm of out of this world music that sets the mood for a trip to Space Mountain or a slow-moving Peoplemover tour of Tomorrowland! The airy, light buoyancy of the music gives the notion that you’re almost weightless while the lack of a distinct melody keeps with the idea that what you’re hearing is music that is not of this earth, and since we are Earthlings after all, we really shouldn’t be able to hum along!
The transitions from song to song- if you can call them songs- is effortless and makes for some of my favorite music to put on while I’m working…it may or may not be playing while I type! Push play next time you’re working on a project and I bet you’ll feel just as relaxed and productive as ever.
We all know that Fantasyland and everything in it is a pure and honest Disney creation- from oldies like it’s a small world through to Journey Under the Sea, the dreamlike fantasy that surrounds guests who are visiting this land has everything to do with nostalgia, and of course the music played here will reflect just that. The melodies are clear, and the lack of sung words lets us hum along or silently enjoy the tunes as we make our way through the land.
Fantasyland is special for so many reasons, and one that never ceases to impress me is that the area music here actually changes as you walk! Walk near Gaston’s Tavern and you’ll hear the distant sound of his theme song in the background, and a walk past Ariel’s Grotto will send you right Under the Sea!
You know those tiki drummer dudes with crocodile heads who bang on drums in the Enchanted Tiki Room? They’re hunched over their big-bodied, handmade drums and their little arms move so fast to beat out a dance-able rhythm that they’ve become my favorite part of the show. When I walk into Adventureland and hear that tribal-inspired drum beat that gives high-energy life to the area music, I may or may not play the air drum EVERY TIME…just like those little tiki drummers!
The loop here is always upbeat and always energizing which makes it perfect to get you in the mood for a flight to Agrabagh, or to make the wait in the ever-long line for a Dole Whip a little bit more bearable. I challenge you to listen to this music and NOT play the air drum!
So, now that you’ve gotten a little taste of the music from each land, you can undoubtedly point out the differences in tempo, melody, style…the list goes on. Maybe its because I’ve been fortunate to visit so often, or maybe it’s because I know the music loops so well, but the similarities are what stick out to me. Disney is the best at taking what works and making it different enough to be new, but familiar enough to be a sure-fire hit.
The area loops all feature transitions from song to song that are unnoticeable, have a quiet, almost unnoticeable presence, and most importantly, put your mindset right where it needs to be without you ever having to think about it. What is your favorite area music Magic Kingdom? Have you paid attention to the loops in the past, or will you listen in for the first time on your next trip? Let us know in the comments!
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