Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Magic At Home-Listening to Disney Park Music

One of my favorite things about visiting the Disney Parks is listening to the attraction and atmospheric music.  Nearly everywhere you go there are hidden speakers playing loops of wonderful music to help keep you in the "Disney mood".  Whether you're walking down Main Street USA listening to the Aviation Rag or walking through the queue of the Pirates of the Caribbean listening to the awesome scores of the Pirates films franchise and Yo Ho, Yo Ho A Pirate's Life For Me, you are surrounded by music.  This music fits whatever portion of the parks you are in perfectly and helps you escape into the moment.  When you hear Jerry Goldsmith's wonderful score to Soarin' you are no longer on a ride, you ARE flying.

Unfortunately vacation can't last forever but you can help recapture the magic by listening to the music at home.  There are numerous ways to do this.

At one time finding Disney park music online was extremely difficult but no longer.  These days there are literally more sources for park audio than you can count.  If you are sitting in front of your computer simply go to to start.  Search for Disney music and you'll see more stations available than you'll have time to listen to.  Don't want to sign up for Live365 (even the free option)?  Then you've still got a number of terrific websites dedicated to Disney audio. is usually my first stop.  It's been going for 10 years now and there are now (I believe) 5 different channels all playing high quality Disney park audio.  Another great option is Sorcerer Radio.  It's been around for a long time as well and has a great variety of music.  A few others to try out: Studios Central Radio - dedicated to Hollywood Studios music, Subsonic Radio - a multi-channel Disney music source, & D-Cot - a free community where users share their Disney music.  This is just scratching the surface, but these stations alone are a great start to finding music at home.

If you're on the go there are many apps for you iPhone, iPad, Android that can keep you streaming away from home.  MouseWorldRadio, Subsonic, & Studios Central Radio all have excellent apps available for free and there's also Shoutcast, LastFM, and Pandora.  These aren't specifically apps for Disney audio but searching their channels will get you lots of Disney music options. 

There may come a time when you want to collect music for yourself rather than stream it.  I totally understand that desire to own it for yourself but be aware Disney has been...stingy with the content it's made available.  Of course there's the numerous CDs of audio sold at the theme parks, and I highly recommend them, but when you consider the hours and hours of music played throughout their parks it seems as if Disney is missing out on a gold mine.  If they packaged and sold their entire catalog of music they'd be...well even more rich.  However, I'd be broke so maybe its for the best.  

Check iTunes, Amazon, eBay and you will occasionally find other park music for purchase.  Otherwise, your best bet is Google and/or Youtube.  Anything can be found on Google but there is a question of legality.  You can find music available for download but if it's available for free it's likely illegal.  I avoid these sites and instead head to Youtube.  Type in Haunted Mansion and not only will you find uploads featuring attraction audio but often you get to go for a virtual ride as well.

One last link I strongly recommend if you are intent, (like me), on collecting park audio.  Parktunes is a wonderful website created by the prolific Ricky Brigante, the guy behind the terrific Inside the Magic podcast.  Parktunes is an exhaustive listing of the audio available at all the parks with purchase links if that music is commercially available.

Hopefully this list of sources gets you started on the right path whether you are looking for streaming music or a home collection.  Believe me you'll never find it all, but what a great way to recapture the Disney magic at home!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Park News - Richard Petty Driving Experience Changes

The Richard Petty Driving Experience just announced a change in their driving options. (See link for full details). Basically you can now drive there without having to operate a manual transmission. This is good news for those of you (like me) who travel to Disney with a spouse who insists on doing everything together. I can drive a clutch, but my wife can't. Every time I suggested the Richard Petty Driving Experience I was told "no" because she wants to do everything together. Sadly, she never learned to use a clutch. Well with today's announcement guess what we'll be doing on our next trip?

This is good news and an option I've been hoping for for some time now!

Recapturing the Disney Magic At Home

One of the few detriments to living in the Rocky Mountain region is being so far from a Disney theme park.  Disneyland in Anaheim is 2 hours away by plane while Disney World in Orlando (my personal favorite) is 4 hours away.  Add to that the high cost of flights and the limited vacation time I have at work and you can understand why I get to the parks much less frequently then I would like to.

Because of this I've often tried to find ways to keep the magic alive at home.  Of course there's podcasts, youtube, social media, all of which I use regularly, but I wanted something more.  For me that something more is my monorail set.  We've all seen these sets.  They're in all the parks and resort gift shops as well as Downtown Disney.  When I first began visiting the Disney parks as an adult I found myself becoming fascinated with these things.  Not only did you have the monorail itself which is an HO Scale battery operated monorail with a decent length of track, but there were many accessories to this set.  Some accessories like the Astro Orbiter set and the Mad Tea Cups set attach to the monorail line and activate when the monorail goes by.  Others like the Tree of Life and Spaceship Earth are more stand-alone and they fit with the monorail set but are there just for "atmosphere".

At one time Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney in Orlando had an outstanding display for all the monorail toys.  It had all the accessories as well as several monorails zooming around and between them.  That, I think, is was finally got me hooked.  Of course I fought the urge for a couple of years saying that it was an expensive toy for kids, but the more I went to Disney parks, the more my inner child took over.  Long story short I bought a monorail and have subsequently been working to collect all the accessories.  Unfortunately Disney has retired most of the accessories so I'm paying much more from sites like eBay than I would have if I just got it when I first wanted it.  I think the moral of the story is to give in to your inner child.

The set has now taken over my home to the extent that I finished my basement to make what I call "The Happiest Room on Earth", my Disney room.  I'm just getting started on the layout but a funny thing is happening.  As I plan the layout in a room full of Disney attraction posters, collectibles, and streaming Disney park audio, (thank you MouseWorldRadio), I'm finding that the inner child joy I feel when I'm at the parks is creeping into me at home.  That feeling is to me what Disney is all about.  That feeling of happiness and contentment.  That feeling of being a kid again.  I've got a long way to go on the monorail set.  I'm going to build an enormous table for the set and build all of Magic Kingdom including the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Seven Seas Lagoon that proceeds it.  But the project can go on for years and I'll be quite happy because I've found a way to get the Disney magic at home, and that's all I really wanted to begin with.

My Monorail Collection

Happiest Room on Earth