Newspaper article: Disneyland has tradition of using music to set mood...


Hi all,

Thought some of you may be interested in this article:

Disneyland has tradition of using music to set mood, tell stories

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Calif. - Days before "It's a Small World" debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair, composers Richard and Robert Sherman joined Walt Disney for a test run.

A few minutes into the ride, the music stopped dead. The only sounds were the lapping of water against their boat and the clicking of wooden shoes by the Dutch dolls.

Richard turned to his brother and they began belting out the theme song they had written, "It's a world of laughter, a world of tears..."

"We sang the thing for 10 minutes!" Richard Sherman recalls.

"It's a Small World" may be the best known song ever written for a theme park ride, followed by "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me," from "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Both reflect how Disney has used music to set the mood and enhance the storytelling that distinguishes its rides. For the most part, the music goes unremembered. But in very rare cases, such as "Small World," it becomes the main attraction.

The Sherman brothers wrote at least three songs for Disney parks, including the jolly calypso sung by robotic birds in "The Enchanted Tiki Room" and the optimistic "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" for the General Electric Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The newest Disney theme park tune debuts this week when Disneyland unveils its reinvented "Space Mountain" in Tomorrowland. The pulsating rock music, complete with horns and strings, was composed by Michael Giacchino, best known for his score from the Pixar Animation Studios hit "The Incredibles."

Richard Sherman and Giacchino met each other for the first time recently at the headquarters of Walt Disney Imagineering, which designs and builds Disney theme parks. They had a lively discussion about writing music for rides.

The process, the two agreed, is much like writing scores for films.

"We are just extending storytelling. The story is everything. The ride is the movie," said Sherman, 77, who co-wrote the movie scores for "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang" with his brother.

Giacchino, 37, was signed for a "three coaster deal," to compose new themes for the "Space Mountain" attractions in California, Tokyo and Paris.

"Tomorrowland to me has always been just this idealistic look at what the future is, and I think in many ways we've lost that as a society," he said. "So I wanted the music to have some sort of nostalgic feel to it, to be up-tempo, like the vision of the future from the '50s."

Giacchino embarked on a whirlwind roller coaster tour, landing in Paris, driving to the park and riding that version of "Space Mountain" 18 times in a row. The coaster, with its two inversion loops and catapult launch, is more of a thrill ride than its cousins at other Disney parks.

Then he flew to Tokyo and rode that coaster over two days. Giacchino listened to different tunes on his iPod, everything from ballet to techno pop, to find the right feel for his compositions.

Following in the footsteps of composers such as the Sherman brothers proved a bit daunting for Giacchino. He was also intimidated by knowing his song would play for a very long time.

"Hopefully they don't rip it out in a year because they hate it," he said.


Active Member
Thanks for that article. I find this interesting though.

"Giacchino, 37, was signed for a "three coaster deal," to compose new themes for the "Space Mountain" attractions in California, Tokyo and Paris."

So, that means that Tokyo Disneyland's Space Mountain will either get updated like the Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland versions, or it will at least get a score for the first time ever.