In this new series of articles, discover what I consider to be the sounds of Disneyland Paris as I list my top 10 pieces of music from across the two Disneyland Paris parks.
How do we know we’re in Disneyland Paris? Obviously there is the sight of the Castle or the Earful Tower, but behind every great view is a piece of music that frames it. I am a huge collector of park music; I’ll buy every album Disneyland Paris decides to release, and I’m constantly searching out more music. Music, as we all know, creates a certain feeling; it may stir up memories. This is certainly true for me in the case of Disneyland Paris.
In this first post, I’m going to focus on pieces of music. There will be no songs on this list (that is reserved for next time!). The constraint: Every item on this list must be heard at Disneyland Paris either now, or in the past (One-off events are excluded for this list). Let’s get started:
10 – Discoveryland Loop
Discoveryland is such a complex and confused land. The original concept of the visionaries of the future is that of an inspired choice. The randomness of future developments (I’m looking at you Buzz!) has left me cold. Nevertheless, Discoveryland is an exciting land – a futuristic land that doesn’t suffer the same inescapable fate of other Disney Parks. It is at night that this land really comes alive. I love roaming the land, taking in the sights and, more importantly for this article, the sounds. For this piece of music, one cannot only take the sound as the sight of Discoveryland at night is such an important ingredient to this piece of music making this list.
9 – Main Street Electrical Parade
A blast from the past . The first time I visited Disneyland Paris was in 1999. I remember each night we would wait on Main Street for what seemed like a very long time waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade. The memories have not faded, neither has the music. It’s iconic. All Disney fans across the world know exactly what it is. This piece of music needs no introduction.
Just listening to it now brings it all back. I often listen to it and those memories of those 1990’s summer nights come flooding back.
8 – Captain EO Pre-show music
Here’s a strange one. I like Captain EO, but I don’t love it. But just hearing these sounds, as simple as they are, brings me right back to that cinema in Discoveryland. There’s a sense of anticipation and excitement that really comes across from this music. I remember the first time I saw the film, I was curious as to what it was all about. I enjoyed it, but even now when I see the film, I feel the excitement as if it was my first time. And that’s down to this music.
7 – Fantasyland Italian Loop
I’m a sucker for happy music. Music that makes me smile. This is one of those. I often watch the parade from Fantasyland, it is less crowded than Main Street and so is a more enjoyable viewing experience. This loop just makes that time pass quicker, and with a smile on my face. (Not always easy when dealing with Disney crowds!)
6 – Phantom Manor Suite
I’m sure the music is going through your head now. It’s a 13 or so minute piece of music that sends shivers down my spine. I strongly believe that Phantom Manor has possibly the strongest single piece of music in an attraction in Disneyland Paris. I love Pirates and it’s theme, but for a piece of music that accompanies you for the entire attraction, this is the strongest. The music tells the story in the best possible way.
5 – Main Street USA Loop.
There are several different versions of the Main Street loop out there; but for this article, I mean any and all of them. It’s the sound that greets you as soon as you’ve walked through the park turnstiles. It’s the music of pure joy in my eyes. I walk in, hear this loop in its various forms as I can’t help but feel content. Walking down Main Street is transporting yourself into this other land where the real world can be forgotten just for a short day. It’s a collection of pieces of music I listen to regularly and it never gets old or boring.
4 – Gone with the Wind theme (Cinémagique & Front Lot)
If you visit the Walt Disney Studios park and don’t hear this piece of music, where have you been? Front Lot is this amazing classic film studio entrance; when the Gone with the Wind theme starts playing it really harks back to the 1930s and this golden age of cinema. This is what Walt Disney Studios should be, the excitement and glamour of the ‘movies’. This piece of music makes me feel that. Cross over to Cinémagique where this piece of music forms the emotional backbone to the entire film and we feel its emotion once again. It makes us feel both emotional and relief. I give you, one of the greatest film scores of all time, Gone with the Wind.
3 – Frontierland (Theme of ‘Lonesome Dove’)
Imagine if you will, sunset in Frontierland. Daylight is fading and Frontierland is starting to become gloomy and dark. You’ve had an enjoyable day in Disneyland Park and now you are settling down on a bench, with a hot drink. The view greeting you is of the Molly Brown docked, and of Big Thunder Mountain. This piece of music begins playing. All the emotions of a day in Disneyland Paris are in this piece. I actually teared up the first time I listened to this outside of a park. Just perfect.
2 – Pirates Queue Music
It’s no secret that Pirates of the Caribbean is my favourite attraction in Disneyland Paris. This queue music creates the excitement of the Caribbean and sets the tone of the ride. Just listening to it brings back the sights, sounds and smells of the attraction. Pirates is such a staple Disney attraction that no trip can go without it and even without the film theme, it manages to capture the heart and minds of both young and old. Do we even need the film theme? Not at all. Our Pirates is as Walt intended it. Let’s keep it that way.
1 – The Whistler and His Dog
Is this cheating? I’ve already put the Main Street loop on this list. As it’s my list, this certainly is not cheating. The Whistler and His Dog is that piece of music that brings back everything from a Disneyland Paris day. It’s a piece of unbridled joy, you hear it on Main Street and, for some reason, all you want to do is skip down the street. Music should make you feel, Disneyland Paris’ music certainly does. But this piece makes me feel more than anything. It puts an immense grin on my face each time I listen to it, and for that reason, it is my number 1.
So, there you have it. That is my Top 10. I’m sure many of you will disagree with my choices, and that’s the great thing about this topic as now I get to ask you! What are your Top 10 pieces of music from Disneyland Paris (No vocals allowed in this list!). Honorable mentions go to: The Star Tours jingle, the Fantilusion Theme and to the Visionarium theme. Those three tracks could quite easily have made it onto my list.
Next time, I’ll look at songs – and you can bet that Dancin’ a Catchy Rhythm makes an appearance.