The Disney Theme-Park Background Music Bracket -- Round One, Day One
Get ready to listen to the lands.
Well, friends, spring has sprung. We’ve moved out of March, the Major League Baseball season has arrived, the former president has been indicted, my Twitter checkmark is (or may be?) gone, and the temperatures (at least in Arizona) are rising precariously.
And of course, because I couldn’t stop myself (you knew that I couldn’t), it’s time for another bracket. This time, my eyes are not going to be quite as big as my stomach, or something like that. No supersize option, and it is potentially a bit more esoteric than some of our past ones. The title already gave away the ghost, but in case you skimmed past it, I’ll say it here.
The new bracket starts today. 64 seeds. The Disney Theme-Park Background Music Bracket.
The…background music bracket?
What does that mean, exactly?
We’re moving into the world of song and dance, my friend. But mostly instrumental music. So…OK, neither song nor dance. Music, though.
What does background music entail, though?
Basically any music you can hear at the Disney theme parks, though for the purposes of this 64-seed bracket, we’ll be sticking to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.
Not quite (though it can count). It can be music you hear in or around a ride or its queue (AKA its line for those of you not in the know), or in a land such as Adventureland or Fantasyland, or a hotel, or a restaurant, a nighttime show, or the like. Anywhere and anytime within the parks.
It’s very all-encompassing and very esoteric.
You know what I’m going to ask. I haven’t been to the Disney theme parks. Should I really be voting in this one?
Allow me to brag briefly: over the weekend, I had the great fortune (along with a few hundred other folks in the Phoenix metro area) to watch the brilliant Alan Menken perform live. It’s a one-man show (kind of?) in which Menken walks through his illustrious career, most of which (but not all) is of course through Disney. He performed songs from 24 different films, TV series, and Broadway shows, and it was amazing. And it reminded me how much of the music we’re voting on here (not all, to be clear) may live in the theme parks, but exists in other media first.
I mean, hell, as I type these words, I’m listening to background music from an art exhibit at the Disneyland Resort, and the music is literally the Indiana Jones fanfare.
Should you vote in this? If you like the music of Walt Disney Pictures films alone, I would say you’re more than equipped to do so.
How am I going to vote in this one?
Well, that’s simple enough. Though Disney rarely these days releases background music (I don’t know why, since there are enough dedicated fans of the music of the parks that they could make a killing), some intrepid folks have gone above and beyond in capturing the audio so that we can listen to it.
Whose websites do I have to travel to, then?
Slow your roll. As you scroll through each matchup, you’ll find the audio for each background loop or ride music or whatever embedded in the posts.
I do want to highlight a few valuable resources that have made it possible to link here.
DisneyChris.com — This is a truly exhaustive website with more than 25 chapters’ worth of thousands of tracks throughout the history of the Disneyland Resort.
Sounds of the Disneyland Resort — Similarly exhaustive, slightly more streamlined in its design, this is a bit more of a modern version of the same music.
This immense set of music, as captured via Twitter thread by Nathan Hartman, encompasses all of the Disney resorts, continental and international.
So, the idea is to vote on whichever music I like more?
In short, yes. I’ll do my usual “Here’s what I like, dislike, etc.” thing, and you’ll vote based on the tracks. Some of them are long, but feel free to vote on the vibe you hear within a couple minutes’ worth of those tracks. No one’s making you listen to the whole thing. (But you should, because it’s good, relaxing music.)
(1) Moonlight Time in Old Hawaii vs. (16) Swisskapolka: Our first matchup begins in Adventureland. “Moonlight Time in Old Hawaii” is a 36-minute album orchestrated by George Bruns, whose name you may recognize if you recall 60s-era animated films such as The Jungle Book, on which he served as composer. Full disclosure: “Moonlight Time in Old Hawaii” is pretty much my single favorite piece of Disney background music, as many of its tracks have been heard through Adventureland over the years.
“Swisskapolka”, which is part of the Swiss Family Treehouse, is perfectly fine for what it is (a 2-minute polka number), but the slinky and seductive sounds of “Moonlight Time” are some of my favorites related to Disney music. It gets my vote easily.
Moonlight Time in Old Hawaii
(8) Soarin’ queue loop vs. (9) Disney Springs — The Landing loop: I’ve had to make some choices here, because while some of you may be unaware, others are no doubt aware that some areas or sections of the resorts have lots of different music tracks from which to choose. For example, there are daytime and nighttime versions of background music at certain portions of Disney Springs, leaving aside areas like The Landing. (But 64 seeds means some tracks or background loops had to be kicked to the aural curb.)
Soarin’, on the other hand, has the one overall loop comprised of music from films either about aviation or whose soundtracks just…sound rousing. (I believe you may hear a snatch or two of music from Father of the Bride, as proof of the latter.) And Soarin’ gets my vote here, at a certain point, I just get won over with that musical vibe.
Disney Springs — The Landing
(4) Muppet*Vision 3D Courtyard loop vs. (13) DCA Animation Building loop: What you’ll notice when you click Play on the Muppet*Vision 3D Courtyard loop is that it’s instrumental versions of songs from Muppet movies. I mention that because each background loop is different. Sometimes, as is the case with the Animation Building loop, you’ll hear the songs themselves straight from the movies. Often, whatever you’re hearing is lyric-free, even if it’s from a song you know.
All this said, using the instrumental versions can be risky: it’s not better than the original thing. But in this case, the instrumental version wins me over (even though nothing compares to the true “Rainbow Connection”). I vote for the Muppets.
Muppet*Vision 3D Courtyard
DCA Animation Building
(5) The Tropical Hideaway loop (daytime) vs. (12) Grizzly Peak Airfield loop: I have noted before that the Tropical Hideaway, a counter-service restaurant (AKA a restaurant at which you do not make reservations) adjoining the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, is one of the best places in the entire resort. If I could sit here all day and just people-watch, I would. And part of why I would do that is to listen to the wonderful background music. The daytime loop is my preferred track (there is a separate nighttime loop with entirely different music), and as much as I like the similar-to-Soarin’ loop at Grizzly Peak Airfield, it’s the Hideaway for me.
Tropical Hideaway - Daytime
Grizzly Peak Airfield