The word animation usually take us back to our childhood, and for most of us Disney fans, we think of our favorite Disney animated movies: Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or The Lion King. At Walt Disney World we are immersed into those environments thanks to fantastical buildings, character meet-and-greets, and fun attractions.
Only in Disney’s Hollywood Studios do we see what it takes to put those animated movies together, and that takes us to our next destination in our AtMousePhere tour: the Animation Courtyard.
The music here can be heard behind the Animation Archway and down Mickey Avenue until it meets up with Pixar Place. The area around Disney Junior – Live on Stage! has its own music around the entrance to that attraction based on the shows that are inside. Closer to Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream you’ll find music familiar to anyone who enjoyed Disney animated features – especially the ones of the 1990s.
You can find the loop here, courtesy of Disney Dreaming:
A Bug’s Life Suite – from A Bug’s Life (music by Randy Newman)
While the movie is not one of the most iconic of the Pixar movies, the music is fantastic for this area. It’s not blasting in your ears as you mosey down the courtyard, but just a pleasant sensation that wafts over the crowds.
Into the Sunlight – from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (music by Alan Menken)
If I asked you about one piece from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you’d probably pick something like “Topsy Turvy” and maybe not this piece. But this isn’t about the song to which people will sing along. Instead, it’s the piece that helps make a mood.
Main Titles – from The Little Mermaid (music by Alan Menken)
I absolutely adore this piece, especially for it’s swell from the simple melody that Ariel sings to get her legs into the beautiful fanfare of “Part of Your World.” Don’t tell me you can’t see those mermaids emerging from the ocean during this song.
Overture – from The Jungle Book (music by George Bruns)
This is one of the few places you’ll find a bass flute introduce a theme (found at 9:19 in the loop above), but it does it splendidly. I only need to hear a few bars of this song to know that it’s from The Jungle Book. From a list of Disney movies from the last half of the twentieth century, this one stands out as a song not found in any other park that can stand the test of time.
Suite – from Mulan (music by Jerry Goldsmith)
This suite brings out all the main themes of Mulan as well as some of its most famous songs, like “Reflection.” This is ambience music with a hint of recognizability. Walt Disney World is great for that!
Transformation – from Beauty and the Beast (music by Alan Menken)
Of all soundtrack pieces, this one can still make me cry without any dialogue involved. The sounds of tragedy can make the happiest person feel sad, but when the Beast makes his transformation from monster to man, it’s so uplifting that a fist must be pumped into the air.
These pieces are great for this area because they are completely different from what you’d expect. I love that they don’t pick the singalong pieces like “I Wanna Be Like You” or “A Whole New World.” Instead, they give some appreciation to the composers of the score music of the animated movies. I certainly wouldn’t mind if they expanded this list to more of my favorites, like “Campfire” from Tangled or “It Has a Ribbon” from Lady and the Tramp or even “Wreck-It Ralph” from Wreck-It Ralph!
What songs would you suggest for this area? Do you think it’s time for a makeover of the music? Comment below!