Top 10 Lists

Top Ten Disney Parks Songs

Music plays a big part in Disney Parks.  Songs can elevate attractions, shows and lands from average to memorable.  Throughout the years, Disney Parks have featured a number of original (or rarely known) songs that have become iconic.  I have quite a few favorites, and I’m sure even more that slipped my mind, which brings us to today’s post.

As with most topics, music is extremely objective.  There is so much variety in music than tastes are hardly ever the same.  With that said, most Disney music is either pop-based, a bit old-fashioned, or ballads.  There are other genres that are played, especially when it comes to parades, but those are the three overarching genres.  I’m not particularly drawn to these genres but the environment, setting and nostalgia is powerful making these songs enjoyable for me.

Country Bear band

As with most top-ten lists, there has to be some criteria.  Aside from these just being my favorite Disney Park songs, I will also judge them by how essential they are to their show, attraction or land.  On top of that, I’ll also consider how well they fit their setting and the popularity they have in the Disney Parks community.  I was also trying to keep the list to original or unknown songs.  Essentially, these songs had to be best known from the Disney Parks and not movies.  Full soundtracks were not considered.  Enough with all this boring stuff, let’s get to some honorable mentions and then the top-ten list.

Blood on the Saddle (Country Bear Jamboree) – This is a personal choice as I’m guessing it wouldn’t end up on most other lists.  I love Country Bear Jamboree and this is the part of the show that makes me laugh the most.  Now, Blood on the Saddle is not an original Disney song and, frankly, unlike anything else on the list.  That is what keeps the song from the top ten but I think the song makes Country Bear Jamboree even more memorable.

Hana Duniani (Kilimanjaro Safaris) – Another personal favorite, Hana Duniani is no longer (or at least not very often) played during Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Back when it was, a snippet of this song (start the link at 1:40) was played as the truck went through the savanna.  This perfectly fit the setting and made for a beautiful moment.  Unfortunately, the song never reached the status that some other songs on this list did.

Giraffe savannah safari AK

Baroque Hoedown (Main Street Electrical Parade) – The entire Main Street Electrical Parade soundtrack deserves credit for being very different from the standard theme park fare.  When the parade debuted it was very different, as well, so the music fit.  Baroque Hoedown is my favorite song from that soundtrack and narrowly misses being on that list.

Wishes! – Another song from Disney’s recent history, the final song in Wishes! is still one of the most nostalgic and memorable songs in a fireworks show I can remember.  The music is a typical ballad but the lyrics along with the different singers, specifically the children’s choir, made for a wonderful ending to the show.

Wishes blue gold

10. Boo to You – Okay, I kind of cheated here.  This is a full soundtrack but I’m mainly thinking of the song’s chorus “Boo to you, and you, and you… Happy Halloween.”  It is as simple as it gets lyrically, but also as catchy as it gets.  The amount of joy the song boasts completely encapsulates those Halloween party nights.

9. Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow – A Sherman brothers classic, Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is most notably featured in Carousel of Progress.  The song was also featured in Innoventions in Disneyland and Horizons at Epcot.  With a chorus that will be stuck in your head all day, Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is joyful and optimistic fitting Tomorrowland perfectly.  This is also one of the most popular attraction songs Disney has ever made.

Carousel of Progress MK night

8. We Go On (Illuminations: Reflections of Earth) – This is a beautiful song and another fireworks finale ballad.  We Go On is an optimistic and beautiful look at the human race.  With a more powerful backing track than most of Disney’s nighttime spectaculars, the song fills up the lagoon where Illuminations is shown.  I also love walking around World Showcase at night after the show when We Go On’s cousin plays you out.  I guess what I’m getting at is Epcot has a beautiful song to match the World Showcase scene.  The music matches the hope that Epcot represents.

Illuminations lights

7. Enchanted Tiki Room – Few songs from the early 60’s are remembered to this day.  That’s when Enchanted Tiki Room debuted.  Just thinking of the attraction immediately puts the chorus in your head.  The titular song is enjoyable, if not bordering on annoying, and simple.  Tie-ins to Polynesian culture is apparent through the music.  Where the song really excels is through the wordplay in the lyrics.  A true Disney classic and again written by the Sherman brothers.

6. Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me (Pirates of the Caribbean) – Written by George Bruns and Xavier Atencio, Yo Ho debuted with Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean in 1967.  While not as elaborate as some attraction songs this one had a difficult task much like the attraction – making something frightening, dark and humorous.  This song encompasses the attraction and is catchy.  It’s gone to even further fame thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Pirates Jack Sparrow

5. Fantasmic! theme – As far as classic Disney Park theme’s go, this is as recognizable as it gets.  Starting off with a whimsical tone and an echoing “Imagination” the song sets the mood of a dream.  Before long the score launches into a catchy, ascending tune fit for a hero – Mickey Mouse.  While Disney hardly ever fails in music matching the moods of the show, this takes it to another level.  Mickey conducting the water and fireworks to the music puts an even greater emphasis on the wonderful score.

Sinbads on the whale TDS

4. Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage – Few songs compliment it’s attractions scenes like Sinbad’s original song that plays throughout the whole ride.  The music transcends the lyrics, which are obviously in Japanese.  I didn’t know any of them until right before updating this post.  The melody is transcendent to the point where it goes the story of our triumphant hero across even while being in a different language.  For the record, the lyrics are beautiful as well even when translated.  Here they are:

“Lift yourself to the heavens and fly on the breeze
Steer straight to the horizon and seek the new seas!
Life’s awaiting you out there and if you sail true
You will find a priceless treasure waiting too!

Life is the greatest adventure
There is no map, there’s no chart
But if you seek life’s great treasure
Follow the compass of your heart.”

IASW Cowboy Indian

3. It’s a Small World – Guess who wrote this 1963 classic?  That’s right, the Sherman brothers.  Is the song somewhat annoying and never-ending?  Sure.  But, it’s the most popular Disney Parks song there is and, again, perfectly encompasses the attraction.  While you may just be sick of the melody, the lyrics are timeless and needed to be heard more and more everyday.  Here they are:

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share
That it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small, small world”

2. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (Splash Mountain) – Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah is the perfect song for Splash Mountain’s beautiful finale.  A great chorus of characters booming the melody as guests slowly cruise by makes for an amazing experience.  This is also catchy and probably my favorite Disney Parks song in total.  Where this loses points is that it was not written specifically for the attraction but for the little-seen film, Song of the South.  This was really a toss-up between this and number one.

Splash mt. night

1. Grim Grinning Ghosts (Haunted Mansion) – Certain songs make attractions but most aren’t often played throughout the entire ride.  Grim Grinning Ghosts fits that bill and does so by speeding up and slowing down it’s melody to fit the scene.  Just like Yo Ho, Grim Grinning Ghosts has to feel both spooky and fun.  This song nails the mood.  Fittingly, the same lyricist wrote both Yo Ho and Grim Grinning Ghosts – Xavier Atencio.  Buddy Baker composed the song and I would imagine came up with the idea of speeding up/slowing down the melody.  The lyrics are a blast.  The melody modulates between minor keys, and has a great deal of dissonance.  Of all the songs on this list, I think Grim Grinning Ghosts is the most creative and artistic.  That’s why it lands at number one.

Haunted Mansion night

What is your favorite Disney Parks song?  What did I get wrong on my list?  Let us know in the comments.  If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog via email or WordPress and like our social media pages.  You can find all of those things on the right side of this page.  Thank you very much for reading, we appreciate it!

– Andrew

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