What is the biggest earworm in Disney theme park history?

March 30, 2024, 4:53 PM · Forgive me for what I am about to do.

Let's talk about earworms - those catchy tunes of music that burrow deep inside your brain and refuse to leave. Just mentioning the title of a true earworm can be enough to unleash its damage upon your day - which is why I begged your forgiveness at the start of this post. If you do not wish to unleash the earworms, turn back now. This is your last warning.

Still here? Good. Now let's talk about the most infamous, insidious, and invasive earworms in Disney theme park history. Which song from the Disney theme parks takes the longest to get out of your brain once you hear it?

Our candidates are:

Baroque Hoedown from the Main Street Electrical Parade. This instrumental composition from Jean-Jacques Perrey and the Gershon Kingsley provides the melody for the electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds of Disney's 1972 parade.

Grim Grinning Ghosts from Haunted Mansion. Buddy Baker and X Atencio created the theme song for the Disneyland dark ride, with the song taking its title from Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis.

It's a Small World. The Sherman Brothers song debuted in the UNICEF pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair in New York before becoming at staple at Disney Parks worldwide.

Let it Go from Frozen Ever After. No, the Academy Award-winning song from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez did not debut in the parks, but it certainly has found a home there - not just in the Frozen Ever After rides, but in just about every Disney spectacular since.

Nothing Can Stop Us Now from Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. The team of Christopher Willis and Elyse Willis wrote the newcomer on our list, which provides the predictably ironic theme for this trackless dark ride where pretty muich everything imaginable goes wrong. And yet, nothing ultimately does stop Mickey and Minnie, does it?

Swisskapolka from the Swiss Family and Adventureland Treehouses. Another Buddy Baker composition, this one isn't from as popular an attraction as the others on this list, but do not underestimate its ability to dominated your brain's mental playlist once you hear it.

Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me from Pirates of the Caribbean. Written by George Bruns with X Atencio providing the lyrics, the one hits your ears like that smell of bromine hits your nose when you enter any of these rides.

Time to vote!

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Replies (9)

March 30, 2024 at 6:58 PM

Has to be Small World with Pirates close behind.

March 30, 2024 at 8:24 PM

I guess I would vote Grim Grinning Ghosts. But when it comes to what actually can get stuck in my head, then I’d go with One Little Spark, Big Blue World, or (the now-defunct) Best Time of Your Life over any of these choices.

March 30, 2024 at 11:21 PM

I say It’s a Small World by a hundred miles. And for good reason: it debuted at the Worlds Fair, not a theme park. It was designed to grab the attention of thousands of passerby’s and succeeded remarkably. The rest of the songs on this list have more variations on the inherent musical theme in the attraction I think. The only variation in Small World is the changing of language and musical instrumentation. I still prefer the Duff Beer theme song though from Duff Gardens ;)

March 31, 2024 at 12:08 AM

I gotta say Mission Space has two staffed positions that stand in the exit hallway, and the hallway only plays one part of one song over and over again all day every day, so the chorus of "Destiny Begins With You and Me" is the first one that comes to mind for me.

EDIT: I was informed the song was removed when the ride got its new videos 6 years ago. That is...a good thing, haha, but still the first thing that comes to my mind.

March 31, 2024 at 3:29 AM

I don't think there's a stickier song in existence than It's a Small World. Riding the attraction means being subjected to the same melody for at least 20 minutes (and often longer since the instrumental version plays in the queue), and if you don't leave randomly humming it for the rest of the day you've got some amazing willpower. With the exception of Baroque Hoedown, none of the others has the same duration of exposure by experiencing the respective attraction, and without a proper chorus they just don't take root the same way.

March 31, 2024 at 7:27 AM

None of the above. It is It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. First time I rode that decades ago I had never heard it. I whistled that damn song for days before I realized where it came from. It easily sticks in my brain more than Small World which is a close second.

One of the greatest accomplishments are the catchy songs from the Sherman Brothers and several others. You have Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room, and dangit, the Country Bears even.

March 31, 2024 at 8:28 AM

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is a bop

March 31, 2024 at 10:49 PM

Should we be expecting a write up of the “settlement” between Disney and CFTOD and Ron DeSantis? I recall at least five articles written on this website detailing just how Disney out-maneuvered and checkmated DeSantis (derisively referred to as “Leeroy Jenkins”). That certainly has not been the case, so it would be nice to see Robert’s take on the turn of events.

April 1, 2024 at 6:51 PM

On this list gotta go with The Revenge of Satan's Undead Dolls, but I truly think it would be torture to spend all day at Disneyland hearing the Mad Tea Party soundtrack.

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