Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Disney Parks Role: He’s the stately and thorough flight attendant who prepares you for your trip Soarin’ Over California – or simply Soarin’, for you Epcot devotees. Nice work, pal. Warburton is also the voice of a security droid that guests encounter in the line for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Warburton has been a fixture on network sitcoms for a couple of decades. He was most recently seen as Jeff on CBS’s “Rules of Engagement.” But others might remember him as The Tick (on the live-action version of the series) or from his voice acting on shows including “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,” “Kim Possible” and “Family Guy.” Still, his signature role has to be Elaine’s Arby’s-loving boyfriend, David Puddy, on “Seinfeld.” Yeah, that’s right.
Disney Parks Role: Joining Warburton as one of the voices in the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue queue, Janney does the voice for Aly San San, the flight attendant droid that delivers the safety spiel before loading guests into their Starspeeder 3000.
Where You’ve Heard Her Before: Disney fans might realize that they are listening to the voice of Peach, the aquarium-dwelling starfish from “Finding Nemo.” But Janney has earned more fame in front of the camera, both in movies such as “American Beauty” and “Juno” and TV series such as the current sitcom “Mom” and Aaron Sorkin’s Washington drama, “The West Wing.” Janney won four Primetime Emmy Awards for her work as White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg, which means she pretty much mastered the walk-and-talk.
Phil Hartman and Don Rickles
Disney Parks Role: These two comedy legends provided the voices for the winged talent agents William and Morris, who argued during the pre-show for the revamped Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) at WDW’s Magic Kingdom. Rickles and Hartman’s banter was the highlight of the now defunct attraction… although that’s not saying much.
Where You’ve Heard Them Before: Stand-up comedy titan Rickles can be heard elsewhere in the Disney parks as the voice of Mr. Potato Head, reprising his part from the “Toy Story” films. You may remember Hartman from such “Simpsons” voice roles as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, in addition to being one of the most talented cast members of “Saturday Night Live.” Hartman was murdered by his wife less than a month after the Under New Management version of the Tiki Room opened in 1998, making his role as Morris one of his last.
John Michael Higgins
Disney Parks Role: Speaking of old versions of attractions, on the original Test Track, Higgins played GM host Bill McKim who helped guide riders through automobile prototype tests. Yeah, he was the guy who arranged for the final “surprise test.”
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Over the years, Higgins has had countless guest appearances on television series, including “Arrested Development,” “Community,” “Ally McBeal” and “Seinfeld.” But, he might be most recognizable for his improv work in Christopher Guest’s movies “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration.” Others may recall him for one of his earliest roles as David Letterman in the 1996 HBO movie “The Late Shift.”
Disney Parks Role: In the pre-show for Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, she’s Aerosmith’s stressed-out manager who comes through with backstage passes and a super stretch limo for the big show at the Forum… because she knows how Aerosmith feel about their fans.
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Douglas has been in a handful of Martin Scorsese movies including “Goodfellas” and “Cape Fear” (she dated the director for a decade) in addition to indie flicks like “Ghost World” and “Grace of My Heart.” She also has been a frequent TV guest star, appearing on shows including “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Seinfeld,” “Six Feet Under” and “Entourage.”
Disney Parks Role: Another member of the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster pre-show, Marino is front-and-center (although completely silent) as an engineer manning the boards for the band’s “recording session.”
(See Rock ’n’ Roller Coastervideo above, starting at 2:40 mark)
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Before he did a lot of nodding and head-shaking in Aerosmith’s studio, Marino was a member of comedy troupe The State, best-known for their ’90s sketch show on MTV. The comedic actor has gone on to appear in projects made by his State-mates (including “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Reno 911!” and “Role Models”) and landed regular roles on “Dawson’s Creek,” “Eastbound and Down” and “Veronica Mars” – he even reprised the obnoxious Vinnie Van Lowe for the new movie.
Disney Parks Role: Following Lawrence Dobkin, Walter Cronkite and Jeremy Irons, this Dame began serving as the narrator inside Epcot’s Spaceship Earth in 2008. Nothing against Scar, but you can’t beat hearing about the history of communication from 007’s boss.
Where You’ve Heard Her Before: Dench has done her share of narrating, but most fans will know the Oscar-winning Brit for her recurring role as M in the James Bond movies, Jean on the English TV series “As Time Goes By” or from any number of acclaimed films, including 2013’s “Philomena.” She’s also a legend of the British and American stage, having won a Tony and multiple Laurence Olivier Awards. But did Sir Lawrence know his way around an Omnimover?
Disney Parks Role: As is often the case on theme park rides, “something goes terribly wrong” on Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur attraction and the man responsible is the mischievous Dr. Seeker, played by Langham. By requesting the sneaky retrieval of Aladar, he’s Dinosaur’s equivalent to Paul Reiser’s Burke in “Aliens.”
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Langham has been a cast member of a number of TV series, from “The Larry Sanders Show” to “Veronica’s Closet” to “What About Joan.” But, for the past 11 years, he’s been most widely seen as trace technician David Hodges on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” At 14 seasons (and counting), some might consider CBS long-running hit a – wait for it – dinosaur.
Disney Parks Role: Another TV veteran (slightly more iconic than Langham) plays the Dino Institute’s motherly Dr. Marsh, who prepares visitors for their journey on the Time Rovers.
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Rashad is only one of the most famous sitcom moms in TV history, playing the no-nonsense Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” (for which she won two Emmys). If Denise or Rudy had tried to bring an Iguanodon into the Huxtable residence, I think we all know that Clair would have laid down the law. Rashad also starred alongside Bill Cosby in “Cosby” and, in 2004, was the first African-American woman to win a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (for “A Raisin in the Sun”).
Neil Patrick Harris
Disney Parks Role: He serves as the carnival barker voice delivering the safety spiel and launch countdown on California Adventure’s California Screamin’.
Where You’ve Heard Him Before: Unless he was narrating his computer diary on “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” you’ve probably seen more of NPH than heard him (although he’s done a fair amount of singing in his stints hosting the Tony and Emmy awards). The actor recently wrapped up a nine-season run as alpha male Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother.” But we’ll be hearing more from him soon. Harris is the voice of Cliff, the middle-sibling Apatosaurus, in Disney-Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur.”Tweet
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