Background Sounds and Hidden Messages

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Our friends and family know that Carol and I are avid Disney fans and they often ask us for advice before they visit the theme parks. One thing that we always tell them is, “Take time now and then to simply look around . . . examine your surroundings and notice the level of detail the Imagineers build into everything.”

Look at the architecture, look at the building materials, look at the landscaping and see how they have all been used to create a magical Disney experience.

You probably pass on similar advice to your friends . . . but do you ever tell them to stop and listen? Yes, just stop and listen!

There is a lot of detail in the background sounds that envelop you everywhere you go. Sounds that you may not even be aware of!

When you walk from The Hub and head toward Adventureland, listen to the music that you hear. The gardens are filled with speakers, and while the beat and tempo remains the same, the style of music and even the instruments being played subtly morphs into something completely different as you move from one land to another. Every area in the parks has a unique “loop” of background music and the transition from one to the other is so subtle that you really have to focus on it to notice it at all!

If you keep your ears open, every once in a while you will come upon some quite unexpected sounds. There are some hidden treasures, of an audio nature, tucked here and there around the parks!

Try to find a few of these the next time you’re at Walt Disney World:

– In Town Square at the Magic Kingdom look for the hat shop, Le Chapeau, and find the antique phone on the wall. Pick up the receiver and listen. Children, if you try this you will probably want to ask your parents what a “party line” was. No . . . don’t ask your parents . . . ask your grandparents!

Le Chapeau phone

– As you walk down Main Street USA heading toward Cinderella Castle, take a right turn onto the short lane known as Center Street. Listen carefully and you’ll hear a singing lesson from behind one of the second story windows and the sounds of tap dancing from another window.

Center Street Window

– Take a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (we old codgers know it as the WEDway People Mover) and listen to the sound track — you will hear “Paging Mr. Morrow — Mr Tom Morrow”

There are hidden treasures at Disneyland too:

РOn the right side of Main Street, go into the alley half way down the street, opposite the Carnation Caf̩. Just past the flower cart, if you listen carefully, you can hear a dentist speaking with his patient as he drills a tooth.

– At Star Tours, while standing in the queue, you can hear a voice paging “Egroeg Sacul”. That’s George Lucas spelled backwards.

Star Tours sign

– As you walk through New Orleans Square on Royal Street heading toward the train station listen to the sounds from the windows above the rest rooms. Is that a voodoo queen?

– As you stand on the platform at the New Orleans train station you hear the dash-dot-dash of a Morse Code message. If you know your Morse Code you can interpret the opening lines from Walt Disney’s speech on the opening day at Disneyland. “To all who come to this happy place . . . “

– Just above the book of spells at the entry to Snow White’s Scary Adventures is a golden apple. Touch that apple and you will hear the Evil Queen laughing.

Disneyland - Snow White's Apple.jpg

These are just a few of the unique sounds that add to the immersive experience we all enjoy at Disney parks; you probably have some favourites that I haven’t mentioned.

As you rush through the parks, heading from one thrill ride to the next, be sure to pause once in a while to enjoy the subtle magic in the sounds that surround you!

Gary hails from Canada and he’s a lifelong Disney fan. In the 1950s he watched the original Mickey Mouse Club and The Wonderful World of Disney on a snowy old black-and-white television. Gary was mesmerized by the Disneyland that Walt introduced to the world during those Sunday night shows! In 1977 he took his young family to Walt Disney World for the first time and suddenly that Disney magic he experienced as a child was rekindled. Since then Gary and his wife Carol have enjoyed about 70 trips to Walt Disney World, 11 trips to Disneyland and 11 Disney Cruises.

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5 Replies to “Background Sounds and Hidden Messages”

  1. Having just come back from Disneyland Paris, I can confirm that you can hear a dentist there too. The patient is gargling! The 1st time I visited Epcot in 1995 they used to have voices in some of the water fountains in Future World. They were all different & one of them had someone yelling that they were drowning when the water started going down the plug hole! I don’t think these are there any more as I haven’t noticed them for years. One sound that we enjoy is in Hollywood Studios. By Indiana Jones there is a well & a sign that tells you not to pull the rope. Pull it & enjoy!

  2. Hi Gary –

    One of my favorite background sounds was the city noise on what was New York Street/Streets of America @ DHS. Mr. Egroeg Sacul is also paged at Star Tours @ DHS.

    Between the background music and the sounds, we may not notice they are there, but go to a theme park that doesn’t have the music and sounds and you know something’s missing right away. That happened to me in 1978, Magic Kingdom on Spring Break and (6 Flags) Great Adventure in NJ later that year. I noticed shortly after entering Great Adventure that there was no music playing on “Main Street” or anywhere else in the park. What a difference in atmosphere. I guess that’s why I keep going back to Disney and haven’t been back to Great Adventure since 1996.

    – Jeff

  3. Unfortunately, the line on the TTA Mr. Morrow, paging Mr. Tom Morrow. Your party from Saturn has arrived. Please give them a ring has been eliminated. It has been there for about 2 years.

    [Gary writes: You’re absolutely right Claire. The soundtrack still says, “Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow.”

    But the second part of that ‘groaner’, “Your party from Saturn has arrived. Please give them a ring.” has been dropped.

    I miss it too.]

  4. My 1st nonmusical sound I ever heard was at Animal Kingdom above the Tusker House. While waiting for friends outside, I heard dishes being washed and people talking. I kept looking up, thinking, does the restaurant do their dishes there?

  5. Hi Gary!
    Yes! This is something that I dearly love…and I’m pretty sure what makes me a HUGE Disney geek!
    The one I like to listen for, and point out to my daughters is in Pirates of the Caribbean. When you reach the end of the line, before you get on the boats, there is a cave to your right side. If you listen carefully, you will hear the sounds a pirate digging and sometimes cursing or singing coming from somewhere inside the cave, presumably burying his treasure. Now I notice my kids point it out to other kids while we wait in line!
    Thanks for pointing these fun details to everybody!