Shazam, an iPhone and the music of the Disneyland Resort

September 14, 2009, 9:39 PM · Music is a universal language filled with emotions. People associate their first kiss, first dance, a birth or loss of a loved with songs. Music has been used for thousands of years to stir emotions. A good theme park knows how to use music to its greatest ability.

Disney is a park and company that has made a career out of music and songs. Most of us know "Zip a Dee Do Dah", "Supercalifraglisticexpialadocious", "Whistle While You Work", "I Got No Strings", "A Whole New World", "Beauty and the Beast", and many (many) others. But there is a lot of music that goes unnoticed. These are the scores to rides and the background ambience throughout the park.

Speakers behind horizontal screening in aluminum signage

I journeyed down to the Disneyland Resort with iPhone in tow and decided to put the Shazam application to the test. Some of these background songs I recognized from films, but there were a few that I couldn't quite place. I was only able to get a 20% response. (I think that 40% of the undefined songs were probably due to the poor reception. The other 40% is probably because Disney has created original mixes of some of its most famous themes and they do not have a digital tag for them yet.)

Soarin's queue has the most beautiful, awe-inspiring, and epic music of any ride in the parks. Music is taken from the following movie score cues: "President Shepherd" and "Main Theme" from The American President by Marc Shaiman, "MacArthur/Patton Suite" from Longest Day – WWII Movie Theme Compilation by Jerry Goldsmith (who also composed the Soarin' theme), "You're On" from Dave by James Newton Howard, and "Victory At Ed Parker's" from Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story by Randy Edelman. The, well for lack of a better word, soaring melodies prepare guests for the journey they are about to embark.

Throughout the California Adventure Park, the sounds of Dave and Field of Dreams can be heard, along with Calliope versions of classic sounds of the Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas, and Scott McKenzie associated with California. And the Disney touch resonates deep within this music. If you listen closely enough you can hear the Bugs Life chorus providing backup vocals. (This was very apparent over by the Orange Stinger/Silly Symphony Swings.)

Speaker in the 5-cent cold shower box

This calliope style is also carried over to Screamin', which is the second best ride score after Soarin'. (Although, I have not heard the Indiana Jones ride score without dialogue and sound effects) The notes scaling on the camel back humps over the midway expresses the rides mood perfectly. The ride is even further enhanced with tension building score for the second lift hill.

Another great treat is over at Tower of Terror. Here the jazz sounds of Red Norvo's "Remember" and Sidney Bechet's "Dear Old Southland" are just a few that can be heard from the ride plaza until entering the library.

Speaker is in the window second from left. (There is no glass in that window. It's a painted screen.)

Over in Disneyland, too much of the material is original content specific for the park and could not be tagged for information.

Now, where can you find this music for sale? Disneyland and Walt Disney World both have a CD for sale at in park stores that contain the official music of rides and some lands. But there is even more music out there available to you. A search of iTunes will bring up some of the music mentioned, but the film scores are a difficult find.

Replies (6)

September 14, 2009 at 9:42 PM · I also searched the Web for more information and came across this website, which seems very accurate:
September 14, 2009 at 9:45 PM · Thanks, Ryan. This is a really fun idea, and I'm looking forward to giving Shazam a try next time I'm at Disneyland.
September 15, 2009 at 7:18 AM · Excellent observations.

I know you can get the Indy Soundtrack without the dialouge on some Disneyland CD. If you search Best Buy enough, you will be suprised to find some Park CDs.

Anyway, I would like them to put it on I tunes, especially their holiday CD.

Thinking about music at the parks, one of the more popular songs played on Main Street USA in WDW is "Put On your Sunday Clothes" from Hello Dolly. Well most kids walking in now know it as the "Wall E Song" since it is the opening song of the movie. Been at the MK in the background music forever and now because of Wall E, it becomes more reconizable (which I think is something amazing you can take from Wall E making the song somewhat popular again)

September 15, 2009 at 9:11 AM · Great report. I've always wanted a more comprehensive compilation of theme park music from certain parks.
September 15, 2009 at 8:18 PM · I love the classical guitar music in California Adventure's San Fran/Wine areas.. lots of Jesse Cook.
September 16, 2009 at 7:38 PM · My wife loves this iPhone app. We used it at SFA the other day to see what songs they were playing over the speakers in the waterpark.

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