Disney Songs That Will Make You Feel Like You’re at the Park
By now, we’re all going a bit stir-crazy. We desperately miss the sights and sounds of our beloved theme park attractions. I recently discussed the Disney noises that I miss the most, and I had an epiphany while writing it.
Friends, we can recreate the Disney park experience right in our homes! All we need is the right soundtrack. Here are nine Disney songs you can add to a playlist to make you feel like you’re at the parks.
Grim Grinning Ghosts
I suspect that every song I list here will immediately give you an earworm, which is kinda the point. Out of the batch, everyone has favorites.
However, what I take from the group is how memorable all Disney park music is. I legitimately could have doubled the size of this list, and you would have known every lyric.
With Grim Grinning Ghosts, you can almost close your eyes and imagine the song playing at several points during Haunted Mansion. Disney cleverly sprinkles it throughout the scenes.
Still, the most memorable moment occurs at the graveyard, where the dead celebrate their plight. Doesn’t the thought of it make you happy?
In the Big Blue World
I could select a bunch of different EPCOT songs here. One Little Spark and The Three Caballeros both received a long look, but I went more modern with my two picks.
For me, no visit to EPCOT feels complete until I’ve ridden The Seas with Nemo & Friends. I love this silly little attraction, which rarely has a long line but always delivers a ton of satisfaction.
The story functions as a re-do of Finding Nemo, as the little tyke once again wanders off and gets lost. Everyone knows that he’s safe and sound when he returns to his school, and the happy musical singalong begins.
Imagineers are even a bit cheeky about this tune. The starfish stuck at the end sometimes whines about hearing the song all day long, which adds to its charm. In the Big Blue World is pure Disney magic.
It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
Can you think of a more optimistic tune than this Sherman Brothers ditty? Everything about it brims with positivity. Not coincidentally, the Shermans wrote this song as a tribute to Walt Disney, something you’ll realize when you think through the lyrics.
Yes, Uncle Walt is the man with the dream as well as the mind and heart to make it happen. His force of will impressed the Shermans so much that they honored him with music that has stood the test of time. Even Tom Hanks occasionally bursts into song when he thinks about it.
Whenever anyone hears the phrase, “It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” they can’t help but think of a timeless stage show at Tomorrowland.
Perhaps it’s the purest demonstration of the future, something we only fully appreciate when we look to the past. The song drives this theme home.
It’s a Small World
Come on, you knew this one would make the list. You simply cannot visit Disneyland or Magic Kingdom without visiting Walt’s “little boat ride.” Like the other Sherman Brothers song I just mentioned, this ditty is shamelessly upbeat and communal.
During the 1960s, people worried about a third World War. Pepsi asked Walt Disney to create something that would make the world feel smaller. He came up with a remarkable idea that combined puppets with international customs in a charming, child-friendly way.
Out of all Disney theme park songs, this one is the most iconic. If it doesn’t sweep you away to Disneyland in your mind, nothing will.
Let It Go
Out of the selections listed here, Let It Go represents a mixed message of sorts. When you think about the song, your mind might go to a movie rather than a park attraction, which is understandable.
Let It Go anchored the blockbuster success of Frozen. It’s arguably the most important Disney song since the 1990s, but its power has since translated to Frozen Ever After.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Disney constructed the entire attraction around this song. Elsa’s set resides in the middle of the ride, and the first half of the story builds to this moment.
Then, the boat reverses course so that guests can watch more of the performance. Imagineers have lined the walls with screens so that the haunting power of Elsa’s anthem will follow you that much longer.
So, while Let It Go comes from a movie, I believe that it’s at least partially co-opted by Frozen Ever After. When I think about the song now, I’m riding a boat, not sitting in a movie theater.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t consider this one an EPCOT song. No, it’s Disney California Adventure in the park’s purest form, an opening day attraction highlighted by Jerry Goldsmith’s score.
The unforgettable musical piece mirrors all the moods from the ride. It’s gentle and calm during astounding moments of nature. Then, it introduces elements of grandeur as Soarin’ approaches its crescendo.
I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’m amused that the Disney parody of Soarin’ even mimics the soundtrack. That’s when you know something has become a part of the pop culture zeitgeist.
Hearing the instrumental version of Soarin’ will remind you of flying. That’s the power of Disney and its sensory experiences.
The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room
I think it’s telling that the Sherman Brothers are responsible for one-third of this list…and that’s after I leave out One Little Spark. Walt Disney understood the importance of musical accompaniment in theatrical staging. He wanted each of his attractions to set a mood and tone for the participants.
The Shermans provided the ditties that have left millions of us humming the songs long after the rides have ended. And out of all of them, The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room is the most insidious. It’s not even lyrics inasmuch as one word repeated so often that it gets in your brain.
The best part is how much kids love it. They adore the nonsense sounds like cha chagachuka that come from the robot birds. And when you hear this song, you can’t help but feel like you’re in the room with them, watching them put on a show.
Yo Ho A Pirates Life for Me
Just from that one lyric, you’re already thinking about Pirates of the Caribbean, aren’t you? That’s the miraculous achievement of the song. It transports you to one of the sets, where you watch ships battle over unseen treasures.
Then again, you might think about an angry woman endlessly chasing her man around in a circle. Or maybe you’re thinking about a dog refusing to give a key to the prisoners it could save. Oh, who am I kidding? You’re thinking about Captain Jack Sparrow lording over his ill-gotten gains.
At their core, the best Disney park songs provide a sense of escapism. We buy into the illusion that Disney’s selling. I believe that Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) does this better than any other theme park song.
I ordered these alphabetically, and the outcome serendipitously works out the same as on the ride, Splash Mountain. The most euphoric Disney song is your reward. It’s a 10-minute journey through a realm of anthropomorphic animals, where cartoon hijinks put a smile on everyone’s face.
The entire attraction builds to that seminal moment when the person splashes down the side of a mountain into the waiting waters. Afterward, Disney utilizes Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah as a celebratory prize.
You’ve survived the dangers of Splash Mountain! Now, you get to sing along with all the happy residents of the paddleboat! Imagineers know to send you off smiling, as you think of this joyous melody. And I’ll do the same…