Greetings, music and theme park enthusiasts! It’s time to switch our musical gears from the whimsical fantasy world of Magic Kingdom park to the music of the silver screen in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
You might think initially that writing about the music of Hollywood Studios would be easy – it’s music from the movies! And in that point you would be correct…but only in certain parts of the park. Areas like Sunset Boulevard consist of music that’s more in tune with the style and architecture of the area, and don’t take soundtrack music based on that style and architecture.
In the area of the park that we’re covering today – namely, the entrance to Hollywood Studios, Hollywood Boulevard, and the area around The Great Movie Ride – we do discover some of the greatest music to come out of the cinema.
Some of the fantastic music that you’ll hear includes:
– Theme from Chariots of Fire (1981)
– Superman Theme (1978)
– “Circus Parade (Parade of the Charioteers)” from Ben-Hur (1959)
– “Overture” from Oklahoma! (1955)
– “Tara” from Gone With the Wind (1939)
– Theme from Dallas (1978)
– “Harry’s Wondrous World” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
– Theme from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
– Theme from Silverado (1985)
– Theme from Amazing Stories (1985)
– “Main Title” from The Big Country (1958)
– “Abbiamo Vinto” from Life is Beautiful (1997)
– “Overture” from Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
– Theme from The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Here are some observations that we can make from this list:
There might be some bias towards music heard in the 1970s and 1980s, since Hollywood Studios was conceived in that time period. However, Imagineers did not focus soley on the music of those decades in their planning.
At the same time, even though the area around Hollywood Boulevard is built to look like classic Los Angeles (1920s-1940s), the music is not limited to that era. This is an interesting move away from the practice that we found in Magic Kingdom park, and not even consistent with other areas of Hollywood Studios!
The music is not limited to movie soundtracks
Back in 1989, Disney-MGM Studios was built with an emphasis on movies and television. TV shows were filmed in the backlot. “Superstar Television” was an opening day attraction. So I suppose I should be less surprised that television soundtracks would make their way onto the background music of Hollywood Boulevard.
Dallas was a 1980s icon – spanning the decade – and everyone would have known that piece of music at the time. Another television theme song in the park is probably less known because the show wasn’t as popular – NBC’s Amazing Stories.
Ever heard of Silverado? How about The Big Country? I didn’t until I was doing research for this article. But the music of both is really catchy – very reminiscent of western soundtracks like The Magnificent Seven – which I have seen and loved.
Sometimes music from motion pictures and television can withstand the test of time more than the movie or show from which it came. Nowadays that comes from movie trailers or YouTube videos, but before that, vinyl and CD soundtracks carried the music from one generation to another.
It’s not all Disney properties…or MGM, for that matter
I remember a visit to Hollywood Studios after “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” premiered at Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure. To my surprise, the Harry Potter theme came on as I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard! The music is from the first Harry Potter movie, which came out in 2001 (and was produced by Warner Brothers). Hollywood Studios was using it in the parks before Universal acquired the rights, because it is an iconic piece of movie music. (If you want to hear more amazing Harry Potter music, though, make sure to go over to Universal Studios to be fully immersed!)
While Ben-Hur was an MGM property and the music would naturally be found in an MGM park, Chariots of Fire was produced by 20th Century Fox, and Lawrence of Arabia was produced by Horizon Pictures.
The music is meant to get ears to perk up
I visited Walt Disney World with my Papa a few times, and he was always one to hum or sing along to a familiar movie theme – he probably had a field day visiting Hollywood Studios with us when I was a kid. It’s not hard to find a family walking down the boulevard and hear a parent or grandparent exclaim, “I know this music! It’s from…” or watch someone sing or hum along to a theme as familiar as Gone With the Wind.
The point of Hollywood Boulevard is to get people excited about movies and television. Through the wonderful music that is piped in that area, it’s not too hard to do so!
What is your favorite piece of movie or television music you hear as you enter Hollywood Studios? Which piece of music would you like to see added to the repertoire? (My choice is How to Train Your Dragon!) Comment below!