Walt Disney World (FL)

Music Made More Popular by Disney Parks

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icon5Much of the wonderful music that we hear at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are music taken from Disney television or movies. If you’ve followed the AtMousePhere blog posts, we’ve taken a look at how some Disney songs fit perfectly into an area, and other songs are rearranged.

In other areas of the Parks, however, Disney Imagineers incorporated music from outside the Disney universe. Especially in an area like Epcot, using pieces of music from that country or land makes that area in the Park more “authentic.”

Ever since I took an interest in Disney Parks music back in 2009, I did a lot of research to find songs that I heard on MouseWorld Radio and in YouTube videos of the Parks. I learned the names and artists, found out how I could purchase the song, and then did so. Sometimes I found the song on iTunes, sometimes on Amazon, and other times I actually had to order a CD because it wasn’t available in mp3.

(All of these methods are legal, and that’s all we’ll talk about in this article.)

The pieces I list below are pieces of music that I don’t automatically associate with the artist or album. Instead, I associate it with a specific area of Walt Disney World or Disneyland. If I were to hear it anywhere outside of the Parks, it would immediately transport me to the Happiest Place on Earth!

If you haven’t heard these songs, I recommend checking them out.

icon4“I Already Have a Husband” – Balafon Marimba Ensemble (from Balafon Marimba Ensemble)

I know this song immediately from Adventureland in Magic Kingdom park (it can also be heard in Disney’s Animal Kingdom) because of its speedy rhythm and fun melodic movement. The group out of Oregon performs music from Africa and the Caribbean and fits perfectly into the parks. I wonder how much recognition they get from their music in Adventureland compared to how much they get from the “real world”!

This song can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

“Bierdna (The Bear)” – Hedningarna (from Hippjokk)

This piece can be found on the post-2004 pre-show loop for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. I always preferred the pre-2004 loop, since that is the one I’d always heard online, but this one is a favorite of the “new” loop.

I’ve heard that the two loops are now interchanging before Illuminations, so it’s up in the air if you’ll hear it or not. However, my students love to listen to this song when I have my Disney Friday playlist of study music. (They call it “The Chanting Song!”

This song can be purchased on iTunes.

“Flying” – James Newton Howard (from the Peter Pan soundtrack – 2003)

This song was used in the 2010 Disney Parks campaign, which was precisely the time when I was planning my first adult Disney vacation. Naturally, I fell in love with the piece. People probably know this song more from the Disney commercials than from the movie it’s from.

This song can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

icon3“Baka” – Outback (from Baka)

I heard this one just recently and loved it. It’s so catchy, and the use of didgeridoo is used so that it doesn’t get annoying or obnoxious (for me, anyway). It can be heard near the Flame Tree Barbecue, and if you’ve been to that area you know this piece fits that eclectic, artsy style.

This song can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

“Carousel (A Day in the Park)” – Checkfield (from Reflections on a Decade)

If you ever hear a song by Checkfield, you will automatically be transported back in time to an era where synthesizers were hugely popular and used in most popular music: the 1980s and 1990s. I purchased this CD and felt that way. But as soon as I got to the final track – “Carousel” – I was instead taken to the Wonders of Life pavilion in Epcot. Even though the pavilion is no more, much of the music from there can still be heard in online Disney loops and matches the area’s whimsical and wondrous atmosphere.

(If you enjoyed the Wonders of Life in the 1990s and early 2000s, then this music is a must. Checkfield included other songs like “Grasslands,” while David Benoit – of “Spectromagic” fame – composed “Wild Kids.” Another favorite is “Behind the Waterfall” by David Lanz. All of these can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. Sorry for the tangent!)

This song can only be found on CD – I ordered mine through Amazon.

icon2“The Twilight Zone Theme” (from The Twilight Zone)

While this creepy tune achieved iconic status decades ago, Disney-goers associate the theme of The Twilight Zone more with the attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios than the television show, much to the chagrin of people over the age of 25. But does the song gain popularity thanks to its place in the parks? Yes it does. And so it is on this list.

Versions of this song can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon – make sure to sample it before you buy!

“The Right Stuff Theme” – Bill Conti (from The Right Stuff soundtrack)

I love this movie, and it’s so much fun hearing this piece in the queue for Soarin’. That queue has so many amazing pieces – along with its own theme music, which is equally fantastic – that it’s hard to pick one “iconic” piece from there. I’m sure yours is different from mine, and that’s totally fine! This piece fits perfectly with the “flying” and “adventure” themes.

This song can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon

icon1“Standing in Motion” – Yanni (from Yanni Live at the Acropolis)

There might be some snickers when I mention Yanni, but if I think of the Epcot Fountain music, the first song I think of is “Standing in Motion” because I remember watching that piece be played with the fountains way back in 1995. There are other great pieces used with the fountains, but when I hear this piece I think of nothing else except the fountains.

You can find the piece on other Yanni albums, but the version from the Acropolis album is the most similar to the piece used in Epcot.

This song can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

“30-ärs Jiggen (30-Year Jig)” – Väsen (from Världens Väsen)

I hesitated to put this one on here, since I purchased it on iTunes 5 years ago and it’s no longer available there. But it is my favorite of the Illuminations pre-show pieces (from the loop before 2004), and it was a piece the played almost immediately before the nighttime spectacular began, which meant a lot of people have heard it. I love the sound of the fiddle with the very simple percussion at the beginning before gradually building onto that theme until a final explosion near the end.

You can get the CD through third party websites, though additional music from Väsen can be found on iTunes and Amazon.


I know I probably didn’t include your favorite non-Disney piece that you associate the Disney Parks, so please tell me what it is below! I’m always looking to increase my Disney music library, and I hope I helped increase yours, too!

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Claire Nat

I've been enjoying Walt Disney World since my Nana pushed my sister's and my strollers back in the late 1980s. I enjoy my day job here in the Denver area as a teacher and music coordinator at our church. I love music, reading, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Michigan sports!

24 thoughts on “Music Made More Popular by Disney Parks

  • Another great piece of music I hear in the Soarin’ queue and at the fountain is from the Disney (Touchstone) movie “The Rocketeer.”

    • I love that! The whole Rocketeer soundtrack is fabulous for the time period it represented.

  • Love the topic. So, so many great songs to choose from. I’m convinced that most of my post-Disney depression comes from a sudden lack of background music in every day life. Getting to listen to it again puts me right back there. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Main Theme from The Big Country – used during Disneyland’s Remember, Dreams Come True fireworks and sets the PERFECT mood for Frontierland and the manic whimsy of Thunder Mountain

    Carnival of the Animals – Camille Saint-Saens- This one is a two-fer. Not only does it score a hauntingly beautiful scene during Impressions de France, it was also covered in a marvelous guitar solo by Dick Dale and used previously as the on-ride theme for Disneyland’s Space Mountain. It’s wonderful how the same tune can evoke vastly different emotions based on its arrangement

    Beyond the Sea – Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Disneyland does a nice job calming nerves during the tedious unloading process by playing this breezy and adept tune at the end of the ride. Almost hate to miss the end when I climb back to the surface. Almost.

    And one Disney-created tune:
    Space Mountain Impressions -Steven Bramson – This is the stunning post-ride piece that accompanies the masterful on-ride version for the original thematic overlay of Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris. To have gotten to experience this during two visits to DLP was so great. What an atmosphere this creates.

    • I laughed when I heard Carnival of the Animals on Space Mountain, since it always reminded me of the France pavilion! These are all fantastic tracks!

  • For those of you looking for great Disneyland audio from area background music loops, to rides, to shows, to parades, to commercials and even TV specials I suggest stopping by http://disneychris.com. I don’t know this guy, but I wish I did. He’s got an extremely thorough collection going there. It’s Disneyland only, but I’m sure some of you WDW people will still find things you like.

  • JSYK, nearly all of these songs are also available on Google Play.

    The only ones I couldn’t find there were “30-ärs Jiggen (30-Year Jig)” by Väsen and “Carousel (A Day in the Park)” by Checkfield

  • After not going to the parks for 15 years, when I went back I decide the item I was going to collect was Disney parks music. I love finding those hard to find tracks like the orchestral versions of the original Epcot rides. One a love , which use to be the entrance music for Epcot is Papillon (On The Wings Of The Butterfly) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVKLoHFfYa8

    • My greatest find was the original Epcot entrance music from 1982. I still adore those tracks that flow seamlessly from one pavilion to another.

  • It makes me so happy to see Flying on this list because I tried for years to track it down, not knowing what it was. I used to order the vacation DVDs long before I was able to actually visit again as an adult and having never seen Peter Pan until this year, I had no idea what it was. I also believe it may have been music on the website on page loading, but I could be remembering it wrong. I thought it was lost to me until I saw the movie a few months ago and then a youtuber posted the DVDs I no longer own. It looks like they started using it for the Year of A Million Dreams in 2007 (you can hear the beginning at 2:39, but it cuts off right before the good part ;): http://youtu.be/8VeCuRh_BYg?t=2m39s That song always makes me bubble up with excitement; it’s got a great magical anticipation to it.

    • Don’t you wish they had SoundCloud and Shazam a few years ago? I certainly do! “Flying” was one of the first “Disney” songs where I was OBSESSED with finding out where it was from. Much of the pre-2004 Illuminations was the same way. Now it’s so easy. Kids these days don’t realize how good they’ve got it…

      • Yes but i have seen Shazam trip all over itself trying to identify Disney park tracks

      • While I haven’t used those services before, I can see how they’d be useful on a similar quest. I will say though that there was little way to describe the look on my face or how I felt when I heard that familiar tune than “pure delight.” It was immensely satisfying to stumble upon it all on my own. 🙂

  • What a great article! I may or may not have found some of these to listen to…. Great memories, and you’re right, they sure make me think of WDW. This one surprised me while going through customs a few years ago: http://youtu.be/tWQzvhE5enw Illuminations, right?

    • Yes it is! I remember hearing it when I was coming back from China and just smiling.

  • If you haven’t checked out the digital collection “The Fabulous Sounds of Disneyland at Christmas” available free on Carrie Hayward’s blog, Disney Travel Babble, I highly recommend it! Many of the songs are also played at WDW and transport me straight to Main St. USA during the holidays. Until I saw her post, it never occurred to me that Disney ever chose commercially available music. I thought it had all come from their own movies, or at least was recorded specially for their usage in the parks. But I have a whole new appreciation for Lawrence Welk (!) and many other classic music sources ever since downloading her collection.

    • I will definitely check it out – thanks for the recommendation!

  • I reccommend “Behind the Waterfall” by David Lanz. It was BGM in Epcot, I think at The Wonders of Life, although I know I also heard it while shopping at MouseGear. The website Marc mentioned is excellent, as is Mouseworks Radio. Of course, there’s a lot more excellent New Age music that was/is BGM at Epcot. Happy listening!

    • Some people think I’m really into New Age music thanks to my Epcot playlists. It just works there!

      • Same – I have this massive pile-up of New Age on my Spotify and it’s all my Future World music.

        Behind the Waterfall is so perfect. It was also in the old Tomorrowland BGM.

  • i always enjoy catching the theres from “The Last Starfighter” and the original “Battlestar Galatica” in the queue for Soarin’!

    • Classics! Soarin’ provides so many awesome songs – it almost makes waiting in the queue for 60 minutes worth it.

  • The website http://www.parktunes.com is a very good resource for the music playlists of the Disney Parks & Resorts and the songs availability. Also, most songs can be found on Spotify which is free (and legal) on the desktop platform.

    • Absolutely! I used parktunes.com when researching for my AtMousePhere series, though it hasn’t been updated in a while. Spotify and other Internet radio is great to listen to a wide variety of songs and pick out which ones you like best, or just listen without purchasing anything!


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