27 May 2009

Listen with your heart

Sound permeates just about everything within Walt Disney World. From sound effects, to narrations, the entire scores that compliment the various lands, resorts, and venues. While it is possible to talk about a variety of ways in which sound is used and the manner in which it heightens any given experience, I thought instead we would look at a few of my favorite pieces of Walt Disney World sound.

Song: Soarin’ – The score for the attraction Soarin’, or Soarin’ Over California (Depending upon which coast you are currently on), was written by the renowned composer Jerry Goldsmith. My fascination with this song goes back to before I had even had a chance to ride on Soarin’, when I heard the song on an official album. The rise and fall of the music coupled with the drama and heart that is felt over and over again, Soarin’ offers up enough can-do spirit in a few minutes that it is the perfect way to pick yourself up when you are down, start a morning off right, or just put you at peace with yourself. It is a miraculous piece of music, and one that will stay with me always.

Lyrics: There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow – Perhaps the spirit described above could also be used to illustrate the strengths of There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow as well. The longevity of this song and the idea that good music never goes out of style is proven out in this 1964 work of the legendary Sherman Brothers. With easy to remember lyrics, a catchy tune, and a tie to a classic attraction all make this a piece that will constantly be welcome in my music collection.

Area Audio Loop: Epcot’s Entrance Loop – This loop has changed a lot over the years, especially since the early EPCOT Center loop, but it is the one loop that can gear me up for a day in the parks more than any of the others. Perhaps some of my love for this loop comes from the fact that when my aunt used to get us into the parks, she would have us meet her on a bench near a Cast Member door to the left of the entrance to Epcot. It wouldn’t matter what park we were planning on visiting for the day, this was the spot where we had to meet her. More often than not, it is in that spot, early in the morning, when I feel like she is still with there with me, and the loop still keeps me company, just as it always has.

Immersive Sound Experience: Song of the Rainforest – To understand this one piece, you also have to understand the various other attractions that use this effect. Immersive sound has been used in Alien Encounter, later again with Stitch’s Great Escape, and the Sound Works area of Sounds Dangerous, among other attractions. The Song of the Rainforest booths, located in the Conservation Station at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, envelope you in complete darkness before whisking you away to splendors and dangers of the rainforest. The absolutely believable nature of this experience, coupled with the message and narration, make this a truly remarkable occurrence that can be appreciated time and time again.

Voice: Jack Wagner – If I am being truly honest, my favorite voice is probably that of Walt Disney when and where it can be found in the parks. Jack Wagner, however, was the original voice of the monorail, as well as an announcer for a plethora of other activities within Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The fact that jack Wagner’s spiels have been remembered, specifically those of the monorail, even though a handful of others have stepped up to the mic over the years, speaks to the unique nature and quality of his voice.

Sound: Walt Disney World Railroad Whistle – I believe I have mentioned this here before, but I can remember hearing this whistle early in the morning, just as most guests were waking up, when I was a child at the campgrounds of Fort Wilderness. To this day, I can hear that whistle in the background of a vacation planning DVD, a home recording, or through a phone and feel the warmth of Walt Disney World wash over me. It is the one sound that can bring me back all that is special, no matter where I am.

Sound has a lot of uses, and a lot of resonance, and these are just a few of the ways that the sounds of Walt Disney World affect us and remain with us. Sound permeates our emotions and our memories and can be recalled decades later, even after we may have thought we had forgotten lyrics or a recollection.

What are some of your favorite sounds found in Walt Disney World?


chum said...

Love the crack of the guns from the fort on Tom Sawyer island!

M.Sedlar said...

You just about nailed my favorites. The music from Soarin' is my favorite instrumental piece, but "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" is my favorite song. "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" is a great pick, as well.

For area audio loop, I'd have to agree with Epcot. I also love the sound of the train whistle and the "now arriving" spiel. And either Thurl Ravenscroft or Paul Frees would be my pick for voice.