Walt Disney World and Disneyland park music is available on official album CDs and via MP3 download, leaked original source recordings, and on-site live recordings. Park music has become incredibly popular as it is one way people can relive their vacations and instantly transport themselves back to their “happy places” in Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
A lot of effort goes into creating the music heard in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Most people are familiar with the big-name attraction themes, like those from ‘it’s a small world’ and Haunted Mansion. Many of these songs were penned by the Sherman Brothers, two of the most significant people in the history of Disney. Other music heard in the parks is far less famous, but resonates with us just as strongly. Off the top of your head, you may not have any idea what music plays in the ‘background’ of Tomorrowland or the Innoventions breezeways. However, I’ll bet if you download and play those tracks, you would instantly recognize them. That’s what I found when I first started “collecting” Disney theme park music, and I have so much now that despite having it play for several hours each day, I can go an entire week without playing the same track twice!
Fortunately for fans, unlike Disney parks book collecting, music collecting is a relatively inexpensive hobby. In fact, it can even be free! I keep all of my music in digital form, so unlike books, it also doesn’t take up any physical space. This primer will get you started on the road to having an excellent collection of music from the Disney theme parks.
Note that this is a primer for those new to the sometimes intimidating world of Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme park music. If you’re an experienced torrenter with every official album in your collection, this article probably won’t do you much good.
Over the years, Disney has put out a lot of official albums, some of which covered the entirety of Walt Disney World or Disneyland, and some of which have been narrowly focused on specific lands, attractions, or events. In recent years, we haven’t seen an update of the double-disc official park albums that used to be updated yearly, but we have seen some Disneyland-specific albums for both Cars Land and Carthay Circle…which are obviously much more narrowly focused than a resort-wide album. It’ll be interesting to see Disney’s strategy with these albums going forward. For now, here are some of my favorite albums. Most of these are out of print and are now only available through through the resale market.
The ones that are still available in the parks you can usually order through Walt Disney World Mail-Order (407-363-6200) or Disneyland DelivEARS ((800) 362-4533) for the in-park price plus shipping. I reflect what the in-park price is below. Feel free to correct prices/availability in the comments.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World Official 2006 Album: Where Magic Lives – This 2-disc album consists of tracks from various attractions around Walt Disney World, and it gets a lot of play in our household. From about 1997 until 2007, this album was re-released each year, with minor changes. “Four Parks, One World” is the 2007 CD, which is still available in the parks. While this CD is still mostly current, it’s definitely due for an update. This 2006 CD is only around $15 on Amazon, and is definitely a must-own.
Disney Epcot Soundtrack – Tapestry of Dreams CD – This is a great CD, primarily for the Tapestry of Dreams soundtrack and the songs used during Epcot’s Millennium Celebration. Reflections of Earth is also present, but it’s an abridged version. To my knowledge, this still sells at Walt Disney World (despite Tapestry of Dreams no longer running). I believe the price is $15-20, but I’m not sure. Regardless, it’s cheaper on Amazon.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom CD – This soothing 1998 release reminds me of the “sounds of nature” type music people use to go to sleep. I can recognize some of it from the park, but not all of it (but we’re not big Disney’s Animal Kingdom fans). To my knowledge, this CD is not sold in the park anymore.
Disneyland/Walt Disney World Fantasmic! CD – This CD contains both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland versions of the show, and is a fairly pricey CD via the secondary market. If you’re only a Walt Disney World fan, this is the version to get (since the versions do differ a decent amount), but everyone else should get the much cheaper Disneyland edition, which also includes the Main Street Electrical Parade. This may still be available in the park (someone can share whether it is in the comments and I’ll update this).
Walt Disney World Holiday Wishes CD – Music from the Holiday Wishes! fireworks (I LOVE the music to this show) and the surprisingly catchy Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think this CD is still available at Walt Disney World (if so, it likely sells for $15-20).
Disney SpectroMagic Music CD – The soundtrack from the now seemingly “extinct” SpectroMagic parade. Unfortunately, the entire CD is just the one 14-minute long track of the parade, which is too bad since instrumental versions of the songs do exist. Still, one of my most played tracks in iTunes!
Disney Magic Kingdom Event Party Music CD – One of my favorite Walt Disney World CDs, this is sadly not available on Amazon right now. It features music from the short-lived Pirate & Princess Parties, Dream Along with Mickey, and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This is another one that I think is still available at Walt Disney World for around $15-20.
Candlelight Processional – One of my less-favorite CDs, this just feels like regular choir Christmas music to me. I guess I don’t have much of an attachment to Candlelight Processional. I list it because it’s really cheap on the secondary market at $10 for a digital download or a few bucks for the CD. It’s still sold at Walt Disney World for approximately $15-20.
Disneyland Resort Official Album – Happiest Homecoming on Earth – This 2005 album for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary has some great tracks on it, my favorite of which is the “Remember… Dreams Come True!” soundtrack. Unfortunately, this album now fetches slightly higher prices on the secondary market (~$25-35), but it’s well worth the price.
The Official Album: Disneyland/Walt Disney World – This predates the Walt Disney World Official Albums and despite having tracks from both coasts, it’s Disneyland-heavy, with the highlight here being music from the shortlived “Light Magic” parade. It also has Illuminations, Fantasmic (only the closing), Fantasy in the Sky, and the Main Street Electrical Parade (among other things), so it’s a good way to get a sampling of the top parks music from both coasts.
Disney’s California Adventure 2001 Album – This CD filled with many “extinct” Disney’s California Adventure tracks is a fun, out of print CD that for some reason Amazon indicates is becoming available for download on March 12, 2013. You can buy the physical CD right now for around $20, or wait for the $8 MP3 release.
Musical History of Disneyland (W/Book) – This originally sold for $99 at Disneyland, and was produced in a limited edition run of 5,000. It now sells for nearly double that price on the secondary market. This 6-CD set is for serious Disneyland fans, as many of the tracks are of a historical nature or are simply tracks in which casual listeners won’t have a ton of interest. The set also includes an interesting book on Disneyland music. If you’re a serious Disneyland fan, this is a must-own. If not, instead pick up the 2-disc set.
The Circle Sessions (The Music of Carthay Circle) – This 2012 release captures the jazzy feel of Carthay Circle Restaurant beautifully, but is a bit of a letdown in that it doesn’t have all of the music found in the restaurant. Still, well worth the $8 digital album download price on Amazon. This album is available at Disneyland Resort for $14.98.
The Music Of Cars Land CD – This is a great CD of music from Cars Land, especially the Junkyard Jamboree and Radiator Springs Racers ride-through tracks. I do wish it had the awesome background loop that played in Cars Land, but it’s still a solid album. It’s way overpriced on the secondary market, as you can purchase it for $14.98 at Disneyland Resort.
Story & Song From the Haunted Mansion – This isn’t one I’d personally recommend, but Haunted Mansion fans might enjoy the campy story and history of this 1969 album (reprinted as a CD), narrated by Thurl Ravenscroft. Not bad for only $8.
Walt Disney and the 1964 World’s Fair – Not really a Disneyland CD, but this 5-disc set that includes some script readings is great for buffs of Walt Disney history. Lots of Carousel of Progress, Mr. Lincoln, and ‘it’s a small world’ on this set.
Unofficial is a bit of a misnomer, as these tracks are actually what is actually played in the parks; they’re just available through unofficial channels. Two sites that are the go-to resources for content that isn’t available via official releases are Mousebits.com and MagicMusic.net. The latter is a great place to chat about playlists and to see listings of tracks that make up certain background music (BGM) loops, which is a great resource to use for purchasing tracks from iTunes. The former is a torrent site (instructions on torrenting via Mousebits) where you can download commercially unavailable Disney Parks music. Be aware that Mousebits operates, legally speaking, in a manner best summarized by its site owner here. I regularly use Mousebits and feel ethically and legally comfortable doing so (although some commercially available stuff does slip through the cracks), but you may not feel the same way.
Both sites have a lot of knowledgeable and helpful members who are well-versed in parks music. However, despite how superficially simple parks music may seem, it can be quite complicated. If you do register over at either site, please spend some time learning the lay of the land before asking questions.
Here are some of my favorite loops containing commercially available music that are listed on MagicMusic.net:
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Loop – This is my all-time FAVORITE Christmas loop at Walt Disney World, and is by far my most played loop at Christmas (I used Audacity to combine all of the songs into a loop). I highly recommend buying the songs/albums used to create this loop!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Loops – I still have yet to assemble these loops (too much work!), but I hope to make a recording of a couple of them someday. Besides the MNSSHP Adventureland loop, I love hard ticket BGM loops!
Tomorrowland – One of my favorite loops is the current Tomorrowland (1994-present) BGM, which reminds me of nights spent riding the TTA while gazing at the neon marquees. There’s also the pre-1994 loop, which a lot of people actually prefer over the current loop.
Illuminations Pre-show Music – The music leading up to Illuminations sets a great mood for the show, and this music most reminds me of sitting in Japan with my tripod set up, waiting for the show to start. Good times.
Tower of Terror BGM Loop – As mentioned in the blog post listing the tracks, recreating your own Tower of Terror loop doesn’t do the actual BGM justice due to processing used on the tracks. This BGM is absolutely classic and (to my knowledge) isn’t available on Mousebits, so you’ll have to find it elsewhere.
Soarin’ Over California Queue – Who doesn’t love the Soarin’ queue music? The score here is incredible, and there aren’t too many tracks, so it’s pretty easy to put together.
MuppetVision 3D Christmas Loop – I love the BGM around MuppetVision, especially at Christmas when it’s pulled from a few classic Muppets’ Christmas albums. The good news here is that you probably already own these albums, and if you don’t…you should!
Lights of Winter Loop – If you miss the Lights of Winter as much as me, it may not be the best of ideas to assemble this loop. I still enjoy listening to it, and hope one day the lights will dance to it again at Epcot.
Here are some of my favorite torrents on Mousebits:
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World Forever Project – I’m listing this first because it’s probably the best place to start if you want to build a collection. Personally, it’s not my favorite torrent because it breaks loops down track-by-track, and I prefer listening to them as single (longer) tracks. Also, it’s in loseless “flac” format, so you’ll need to know how to deal with those files.
Disney’s Magical Express Loop – I’m not entirely sure this is the audio still used on DME, but it’s a great mix of instrumental favorites. I listen to Disney music (quietly) at my office, so scores and instrumental renditions are perfect for me.
Magic Kingdom Entrance Loop – This is a great loop that always reminds me of late nights photographing the Main Street Train Station. It’s also played at the TTC, so if you spend a lot of time there for some reason, you’ll recognize it from there, too!
Frontierland BGM Loop – This is a nice, relaxing loop featuring the twangy sounds of Frontierland. Reminds me of wandering along the pathway by the Rivers of America late at night.
TTiiMM’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth Mix – This is the full show of Illuminations, with sound from the fireworks. I’ve heard the Illuminations score without fireworks, and I really prefer it this way, as it puts me in the moment more. This is one of my top 5 most-played tracks in iTunes! If you want the full effect of a night in Epcot, check out “An Evening in Epcot,” which also includes the Illuminations pre-show and post-show music. I’m really digging this 68 minute track, lately!
Innoventions BGM – Epcot has some of the best BGM loops, and my current favorite of these is the Innoventions loop. It has a distinct sound, and I find it really relaxing.
Epcot Main Entrance BGMs – There are a lot of files in this torrent. If, like me, you want the entire loop as a single file, the tracks to download here are Kirky’s 2006 noise reduced recording (current BGM) and 1982 Complete Loop Version 1 – HQ. There’s also a 2001 loop you may want. These are easy to spot, as they’re the three longest tracks in torrent. If you want individual tracks only, download everything but the three tracks I listed. These scores are beautiful.
World Showcase Loops – Serious collectors would probably cringe at this, since there’s a lot of low quality and incomplete stuff here, but for casual listeners like me, this collection of World Showcase loops is great. If only I could snack on some School Bread while listening at the office!
Martin’s EPCOT 25th Anniversary Megamix – Martin, best known for his excellent tribute videos (which are all available for download on Mousebits or streaming on his website), put together a fun mix of audio covering the first 25 years of EPCOT Center. A lot of effort was put into this, and it shows.
Fantasmic Area Music – My favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios tracks are no longer available on Mousebits, but this is a good one. I’m pretty sure it’s not completely current, but it will still be pretty recognizable to Fantasmic fans. First track is the only one you need to download if you want the complete loop.
Expedition Everest Queue BGM – I don’t have nearly the emotional attachment to Animal Kingdom music as I do the other parks, but this is my favorite Animal Kingdom track (other than the park entrance BGM).
Disneyland Forever Project – Since there isn’t as much Disneyland music out there in unofficial channels (at least on Mousebits), this collection is essential. Selective downloading is key here, as there’s a lot in this 4+ GB collection that you probably won’t want. There are a lot of gems, though, so make sure you grab those!
Disneyland Esplanade BGM Loop – My favorite loop from Disneyland, this is a lot like the Magic Kingdom entrance area loop in idea, but far better due to its tracks. Features instrumental versions of some great land and attraction music.
Rivers of America BGM Loop – This is what plays near the water in New Orleans Square, but not actually within New Orleans Square. Obviously two very different sounds.
Paradise Pier Boardwalk BGM Loop – I’m not sure if all of this music is still used–I heard a rumor that it was being replaced and I don’t always pay attention to the Paradise Pier loops–but it’s an excellent loop.
Overall, Disney theme park music is quite the rabbit hole. Once you get hooked on it, you will find yourself with much less hard drive space and will thirst after rare albums and tracks. Fair warning, as that’s definitely where you’ll head once you graduate from this beginner’s guide and start gaining more knowledge of what’s out there. Before you start purchasing and/or downloading, if you’re worried about spending a lot of time or money obsessing over this new hobby, now is the time to turn back! Streaming online radio stations like MouseWorldRadio are a great alternative to downloading your own music, so you might want to consider that before going all in!
What are your favorite Walt Disney World or Disneyland albums, music tracks, or loops? Share your favorites, along with links to their listings in the comments! If you’re new to Disney music collecting, share which albums you’re getting or which BGM loops you’re downloading. If you have any other questions, ask below.