Walt Disney World Music: Main Street U.S.A.
I'm introducing flashback posts for the next couple of weeks! This first one is my very first blog post from TouringPlans.com.
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!
In this first installment of a new series, I want you to imagine yourself in Town Square on a beautiful, sunny morning in Orlando, Florida, and you are about to walk down the strange-yet-wondrous turn-of-the-century street that leads to a beautiful fairy tale castle.
What kind of music do you hear?
Have you noticed how fast-paced the music is as you walk down Main Street, U.S.A? This is because as tourists enter the Magic Kingdom, everyone (well, hopefully everyone) has had a good night's rest, and are ready to take on the attractions of the park with gusto. The soundtrack heard strives to match that giddiness and excitement.
The tunes heard as you begin to meander down the street match the style that is emanated by the buildings surrounding you: the turn of the century. Ragtime was the popular American musical style of the time, characterized by syncopated and springy rhythms. If you think about it, "springy" is exactly what Cast Members want you to be as you walk down Main Street, U.S.A., to your first attraction. The lighter your step, the happier you are!
To what exactly are you listening?
You can find a pretty stellar list of Main Street tunes at ParkTunes.com, but a sample of the hits include the "Triplets" xylophone rag, "Old Timers Waltz Medley," "Junkman Rag," and "Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby."
Now not all of the songs that you hear were composed during the early 1900s. Some songs composed later in the 20th century were arranged in the ragtime style to match the rest of the music loop. For example, many children's ears have perked up when "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" comes on. This song was composed for the 1964 musical Hello, Dolly! but was popularized recently by the 2008 Disney/Pixar film WALL-E.
Another two that may be familiar to those well versed in live action Disney musicals are "Summer Magic" and "Flitterin'," which were taken from the 1963 film Summer Magic starring Hayley Mills and Burl Ives. (Fun fact: the music of Summer Magic was composed by the Sherman brothers!)
And who could forget songs taken right out of the 1957 musical The Music Man: "Gary, Indiana" and "The Wells Fargo Wagon"?
Hello, Dolly!, Summer Magic, and The Music Man all take place at the turn of the century, placing these pieces of music perfectly on Main Street, U.S.A.
How do you feel?
It is likely in the morning that you have achieved peak excitement as you start to walk down this lovely red street. You may even feel the urge to swoon (i.e., faint) at the sight of Cinderella Castle up ahead. But the music surrounding you joyfully exclaims, "Pick up those feet and let's get moving - you've got a wonderful day ahead!"
During the hot afternoon, the music encourages, "Keep up the enthusiasm, and don't let that hot Florida sun bring you down!"
At the end of the day, the music might be a little softer, and the songs may have a slower tempo. However, the music tries to keep your exhausted feet from dragging themselves out of the park. Instead it urges, "Make your steps light, dwell on your day with happy reflection, and look forward to the day of magical excitement awaiting you tomorrow!"
Now whether that happy excitement follows you out to the bus stop and ferry dock is completely up to you...
Do you have a favorite piece of Main Street, U.S.A., music that I missed? Any catchy stories about walking down Main Street, U.S.A., that you'd like to share? Post them in the comments below!