The Music of Magic Kingdom

by | Apr 24, 2023 | Walt Disney World

The music of Magic Kingdom immediately immerses you in the magic of the theme parks. Here’s why music is such an important part of the Walt Disney World experience.

Picture walking up to the gates of Walt Disney World and tapping your MagicBand. The light turns green, and you walk through the tunnel. You close your eyes, take a breath, and are transported from 2023 Orlando, Florida, to a quaint town at the turn of the century. You are entirely engulfed by the people, buildings, and smells wafting out of Main Street Confectionery. This feeling can only be described as if you’re in a movie, and like any great film, as you start your adventure, you are guided by a soundtrack that makes you the main character. How does Disney do this? Well, let’s take a stroll down Main Street, U.S.A., together, shall we?

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Music Transports You Into the World of Magic Kingdom

Early Morning Magic empty main street usa

Photo by Judd Helms

Entering the park, you walk under a sign reading, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” It couldn’t be more the truth. As a young boy, Walt Disney lived in Marceline, Missouri, and though his time in Marceline was brief, he always loved and admired the small town that served as an inspiration for Main Street, U.S.A.

The soundtrack of Main Street plays such an integral part in the Walt Disney World experience. You are met with music written by greats, such as Irving Berlin,  as well as soundtracks from movies like Hello, Dolly, or even the occasional modern song like “Married Life” from Up.  

Music is studied and applied in the medical and science fields because it affects humans (and, frankly, all mammals) in so many ways! It can trigger a memory and relieve pain. But in this instance, Disney is not only using music as a tool but as a storytelling device. If we close our eyes and can’t see any of the architecture or horse-drawn carriages, we are still fully immersed in the world that has been built around us.

Of course, we don’t live in 1910 Marceline, Missouri, but we certainly can feel like we’ve stepped back there for a moment as we pass The Dapper Dans singing “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” while eating corn dog nuggets. Though we may have never been to this place before, we know exactly where we are.

Different Music for Different Parts of Magic Kingdom

The bridge leading to Adventureland at Disney's Magic Kingdom

Photo by Judd Helms

Main Street, U.S.A., isn’t the only time Disney uses specific music to transport us to a different time or place. In fact, it’s a massive part of your Disney World experience. Different music is everywhere, all around, at all times. And, subconsciously, we might not even be aware. Much like Main Street, U.S.A., each land and attraction features its own soundtrack to blend seamlessly as you pass through the different lands of Magic Kingdom.

Adventureland features the sounds of percussion, flutes, and fiddles to give you the feeling you’re about to become a swashbuckling pirate or be serenaded by tropical birds. Frontierland and its chorus of guitars playing songs such as Davy Crockett and Shenandoah put you in the Wild West. Fantasyland puts you in the fairytales using the music of your favorite Disney animated films, making you wish that maybe one day your prince will come or maybe with a little pixie dust, you’ll fly out a window over London straight onto Neverland.

And Tomorrowland transports you to a time and place that we have yet to explore. 1987! I’m joking! But Tomorrowland and its futuristic soundtrack of synthesizers take us to a time where we are racing in the grid or taking a tour of what tomorrow holds on the Peoplemover. The way Disney marries music to its lands and attractions is not only a technical and innovative feat but also one that makes the guest experience fully immersive and powerful. 

Walt Disney World is a place like no other. Using a soundtrack is a small detail that most people wouldn’t think twice about, but the specificity and detail that goes into the music of Disney parks are so important because it doesn’t just provide us with something nice to listen to but puts us in the middle of the story. So remember the next time you are walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., to listen with your ears and your heart as you are truly transported to a world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy — just like the sign says.

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Posts by Ken McGraw

Ken McGraw is an actor and writer based out of Brooklyn, NY. He is a WDW Annual Pass holder and can be seen playing AL from AL’s Toy Barn on the Disney+ series “Pixar in Real Life”. If you can read this, thank the Phonecians. For more adventures follow along @BrooklynParkHoppers.

Authored by
Ken McGraw

Ken McGraw is an actor and writer based out of Brooklyn, NY. He is a WDW Annual Pass holder and can be seen playing AL from AL’s Toy Barn on the Disney+ series “Pixar in Real Life”. If you can read this, thank the Phonecians. For more adventures follow along @BrooklynParkHoppers.
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