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!
– 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.
– 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:
– On the right side of Main Street, go into the alley half way down the street, opposite the Carnation CafÃ©. 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.
– 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.
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!