29 April 2013

Jukebox Jive

Part of the magic to be found and enjoyed in the parks of Walt Disney World is the music that envelopes the experience. The soundtrack of your trip is perfectly in tune whether you are taking on an adventure, embarking on a quest to recapture childhood memories, or just finding a quiet place to rest. Even in the pool and lobby areas of the resorts, you’ll get to see the lay of the land and hear to score of the land. But what about when you venture to those corners that are off the beaten audio?

Obviously, there are some areas that you don’t want to be inundated with music. Take for example the campground loops of Fort Wilderness. With the song of nature all around you, do you really need sweeping pastoral symphonies or the strings of the frontier twining in between the campsites? Of course, Fort Wilderness does include speakers primed with the Settlement musical loop all the way out on the beach along the shores of Bay Lake.

The resorts, however, are without sound for copious amounts of time. Save for Art of Animation, once you leave any value resort’s main hub of activity there is no music around the buildings or various courtyards. How great would it be for Pop Century to utilize the popular music they promote all throughout the buildings dedicated to a given decade? Stadium anthems in All-Star Sports? Classic Disney animated soundtracks attached to the walkways of All-Star Movies?

Moving up to the moderate resorts, who wouldn’t want to be beckoned to the streets of Port Orleans – French Quarter by the sweet sounds of an omnipresent, but invisible, jazz procession. Latin beats would have guests strutting and salsaing around the Coronado Springs promenade. Deluxe resorts, with even more impeccable thematic elements, could further immerse their guests by spreading the sounds of Hawai’i that fill the Great Ceremonial House. The lists could go on and on, but I’m fairly certain you get the idea at this point.

I understand that guests may not want to hear music wandering in from the hallway where the resorts have internal hallways for guest rooms. However, the background music is create to blend into the background, to highlight guest areas, not to be the primary focus. Resorts with the exterior entrances to the rooms, paired with a quiet background loop could do wonders for guests.

In addition to help set the scene told by landscaping, architecture, and d├ęcor, the music is a gateway into cultures from around the world. Guests may not recognize a particular piece of music, but after just a few minutes of exposure they would gain an understanding of what is important to a particular culture’s music.

Okay, so guests are on vacation and don’t really want to learn on their time-off, and I’m going to ignore the fact that guests pour into Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot every day, what about its use as a sound buffer? Think about those times you’ve spent along a popular corridor of All-Star Sports or Pop Century. Remember the raucous bunch of kids and teens that continually ran by your door scream and squealing? I’m willing to bet a bit of music, even if you couldn’t hear it in your room, would add a bit of sound suppression when those excitable younger guests come rampaging down the hall.

The music of Walt Disney World is just a single piece of the tapestry that creates world-class environments all throughout the Vacation Kingdom. When the band stops playing there is a void left. Guests may not notice it and may not be that concerned with it, but in the resorts where audio is present along the walkways and the courtyards, it makes a huge difference in how guests identify with the story they are being told. Shouldn’t that be the goal, to tell the story without the guests even knowing they’re being feed information? I hope that one day, we can all wake up to perfectly cued music just outside all of our resort doors.


Estelle said...

It really is funny that guests don't notice that music. I know we were talking about audio with family and they were like, WHAT THEY PLAY MUSIC? It really does make the atmosphere that much better, even if you don't realize it.

And what would I listen to while I was working?

Chad said...

The background music at WDW is one of my favorite things. As a musician I always hear it and appreciate the mood the music sets.

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

Last time I was at the Poly the music was all around the pathways... I have vivid memories of walking through the resort at night listening to the music. Was it only the longhouses closest to the GCH that I'm remembering?

Roy T said...

Music I notice, but only for a second because by then the kids have moved along