The music at the WDS - a first review (quiet long)


Hi there,

there have been already two posts about CDs and possible release dates (one with the anniversary song the other one about a WDS-CD) but none so far regarding the music you can actually hear in the Walt Disney Studios in the Disneyland Resort Paris. As the coverage of the grand opening event is coming along fine on the website I'm a member of (take a look for new shots of Roy Disney and certainly of the ceremonies and events too - more photos and the missing three parts will be added today and in the coming two days) I thought I take a minute or two to write a short review of the music used in the WDS.

As I was quiet busy during my visits so far I did not have the time to sit down and listen for a longer time to the background music loops. What I can say so far is that there are different ones for the different areas Frontlot, Animation Courtyard, Production Courtyard and Backlot. All of them consist of instrumental recordings only which are taken directly from the soundtracks of movies (e.g. Armageddon in the Backlot area, Zorro on the Frontlot, and a lot of other more or less well known stuff). The loops do really sound great 8they do have a wonderful sound system) but the editing is great too. As far as a CD-release is concerned I doubt it as most of the material is available on soundtrack CDs already anyway and the WDS do use a lot of material from non-Disney movies too here - that is with the exception of the music for the Animation Courtyard. The music really sets the atmopshere wonderful and it must be a pleasure to sit down and just listen to the loops. But even if you walk through the area the music is far more obvious than in the Disneyland Park next door.

Studio 1: (a kind of Main Street in a big soundstage) it has its own musical loop which is stopped when a musical live performance takes place inside the soundstage - and there are plenty of them. A huge orchestra (big band style) on a large balcony, a brass band of Keystone Cops and a small Jazz Band (plus some non musical streetmosphere acts during which teh music is just reduced in volume a bit). In style the musical loop here and the material performed by the live bands is similiar to the Frontlot stuff, so famous scores or instrumental renditions of famous movie songs.

Art of Animation: similiar to the DCA attraction so not really atttraction-music but some background music - exception: a short clip of highlights of Disney animation (as seen during the Disney MGM animation tour) which features a hgreat mix of famous musical cues from Disney.

Carpets over Agrabah: instrumental versions of music / score from Aladdin as background plus some non-Menken material to lengthen the loop (e.g. "Arabian Bazar" by G.F.Narholz)

Animagique: the blacklight show has Donald looking for good ideas for a new animated movie in the film vault where animated Disney classics come to alive (Sleeping Beauty, Lion King, Jungle Book, Dumbo, Pinocchio, ...). It features its own theme song called "Animagique" by P.Lurye which is terrible in the version sung by the children's chorus (maybe due to the fact that it is a 30-second loop with the lyrics "la, la, la, la, la - Animagique!" but quiet nice in the version heared during the finale of the show. It is a good song but not nearly something to remember (well one can't forget the children's chorus version - but I wouldn't say this is because one has to love it). So overall rating of the song: OK but not really great. The music for the scenes are modern style rerecordings of the famous songs / tunes from the movies that come alive, if you ask me a bit to modern. A bit less disco-beat could have helped a lot, especially in the JungleBook/LionKing section. Not looking at the terrible show itself its musical side is OK to good but not more.

Walt Disney Television Studios: not really its own music but only some background music using stuff from the Disney Channels in Europe.

Studio Tram Tour featuring the Catastrophe Canyon: in some sections of the tour background music in the style of an instrumental score of a movie (possible as the whole tour is guided via TV-screens with prerecorded spiels), but this score is as fast forgotten as heared (if one notices it all). Thes core does not use original material but sintead some old movie material according to what I was told (e.g. "Americana out West" by L. Blank).

Armageddon: this one does have a dramatic score in the main room (where guests are inside the space station MIR when a meteor shower hits it). This one is very dramatic but seldom noticed as the effects (fire, a broken air look, ...) are quiet loud. But: it works well in enhancing the atmosphere. I don't know the composer or wether it is based on the actual movie score, but it has been at least edited (I think: composed) especially for the attraction as it goes in sync with all the effects.

Rock'n'Roller: the same music as in the US-version

Stunt Show: this one does have an instrumental score during the stunts which seems to have been written or edited especially for the stunts. Quiet impressive if heared during the show but too fast forgotten (but then it does not sound as if it was intended to be a true classic anyway).

As you might have noticed I didn't mention one important attraction: Cinemagique (which might be imported to one of the US-parks in the future). From a musical point of view this is the real highlight of the WDS. The attraction is basically a movie with some minor in-theater-effects (which tie in neatly with the movie and enhance the experience without stealing its limelight). Guests are welcomed in the theatre by a usherette which telsl you to turn off your pagers, mobile phones, ... and to enjoy the journey through the history of film. But when a scene like from one of the really old soundless black-and-white movies starts suddenly the mobile phone of a guests rings and he runs up on stage to escape the security. There he is transported into the movie where he jumps from scene to scene through the history of movie and all its different genres (from back and white non talking to talking to color to wide screen to western to musical to adventure to SF to catastrophe films to medieval stories to horror to animated to fantasy ...). Really the best attraction of the park (I have seen it nearly 10 times so far and still love it - and I never thought Iw ould say that of a movie!). To come back to the musical part of the movie: it has a score by Bruce Broughton which makes use of the different musical styles that were used and which certainly also makes uses of famous themes (as during the Star Wars scenes) but which always keeps its originality. Really great. I hope they include this on the CD they plan to release in late spring.

So this is everything I can say so far - besides the fact that they are working on a parade which is set to premiere on the 1st of June and which will have its own soundtrack too.