Voices of the Disney Parksby Karl Buiter, staff writer
by Karl Buiter. Video by Steven Ng.
Brian Nefsky, Casting Director at Walt Disney Imagineering, hosted the 2013 D23 Expo "Voices of the Disney Parks" presentation with voiceover actors Peter Renaday, BJ Ward, Stephen Stanton, Fabio Rodriguez, Mark Silverman, Chris Edgerly, Yeni Alvarez, Corey Burton, Camille Dixon, and Bill Rogers. Together, they perform many of the voices heard in Disney theme parks around the world.
The Panel is introduced. MousePlanet Video.
Peter Renaday's "Your attention please..." announcement for trains entering Main Street Station may be the first voice you hear as you enter Disneyland. Peter, born Pierre L. Renoudet, got his start in the Disney Art / Props department in 1959 working on paint touchups and signs for Disneyland. He hoped to someday meet Walt when he joined Disney; ironically it happened that the first person he saw at Disney was Walt exiting the Animation Building. He became part of an employee actors group called the Disney Players. He soon was noticed and began performing small voiceover roles.
By the late 1960s, he was credited as Pilot in Lt Robin Crusoe U.S.N. and the Policeman on Bridge in The Love Bug under his birthname initials P. L. Renoudet. Since then, Peter Renaday has had a long career performing voiceover work for animated film, television, and video games.
We hear him introduced here in featured clips from the Astro-Orbiter safety message and as Henry in the Country Bear Jamboree. Later in the program, Peter reads a passage in the voice of Abraham Lincoln.
BJ Ward got her start working for several of the Disney composers, including the Sherman Brothers and George Wilkins. Brian Nefsky introduced BJ with a clip of her singing "Burrow's Lament" as Mother Rabbit in the perilous climb up Splash Mountain. Her voiceover credits extend 30 years with roles on Smurfs; as Scarlett on several animated G.I. Joe television series; Betty Ross on The Incredible Hulk; Betty Jean Bricker on The Flintstone Kids, and later, as Betty on several Flintstone movies; Iris the Computer on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest; and Winnie the Woodpecker on The New Woody Woodpecker Show.
You can hear her performing messages on several Disney attractions including Spaceship Earth, "its a small world," and Magic Kingdom's Peter Pan's Flight.
During the session, she reprised her role as Mother in Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress.
Stephen Stanton was introduced as the voice of Lord Henry Mystic in Disneyland Hong Kong's Mystic Manor. He also is the newest voice on the Mark Twain. Asked about his start in voiceover, Stephen explained, "I really got involved in doing voiceover just by listening to cartoons as a kid and imitating all the voices; and then working in animation studios and volunteering anytime they needed a scratchtrack, and it just kinda evolved into that."
His voiceover credits include dozens of video game voiceover roles and more recently television roles as Admiral Tarkin on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Jimmy Stringer on Hero Factory; and several roles on Robot Chicken and Mad.
Stephen Stanton played opposite BJ Ward as Rex in a reading from Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress.
Performances by the Panel. MousePlanet Video.
Fabio Rodriguez was discovered by Bill Rogers. As Fabio explained "I was working on an industrial video for Xerox and then when I was finished he (motioning to Bill) was in the next door - he had a studio over there - and he said I heard your voice doing that thing, wouldnt you like to audition for a Disney voice inside the Park?" Fabio performs many of the Spanish messages heard throughout the park including The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
He proudly related a story when on his first visit to Disneyland in 1972 he heard Bill Rogers Main Street announcement. Exactly thirty years later, in the very same place with his wife and son, he heard his Spanish voiceover immediately after Bill's English version.
Fabio performed his voiceover for Pirates of the Caribbean during the session.
Mark Silverman carries the tradition of Rod Serlings famous voice in The Twilight Zone. Mark was obsessed with taping and imitating television voices as a kid "Everything I heard I wanted to talk like I didnt know why I just thought it would be fun someday. So I started imitating my teachers which they didnt like, so I just got into voiceover from that."
You'll hear Mark Silverman perform his role in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Chris Edgerly was introduced as the voice of Timothy the Mouse on Dumbo's Flying Circus. Chris performed stand-up comedy for 10 years before getting into professional voiceover work. His resume has an extensive collection of video game voiceover work; more recently has performed voiceover as Gobber in Dragons: Riders of Berk; Gyro Gearloose in Duck Tales Remastered; and various voices on The Simpsons.
During the session, he reprised his role as Scuttle on The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure attraction.
Yeni Alvarez provides many of the messages on Disney attractions, including voiceover for Alice in Wonderland, Flik's Flyers, Tuck and Roll's Drive'Em Buggies, Jumpin' Jellyfish, Gadget's Go Coaster, and "its a small world". She got her start taking a animation seminar at Walt Disney Imagineering. During the seminar, Brian Nefsky entered the room for introductions and heard her audition tape playing in the background. He looked at her and said, "That's great Spanish, you have a Disney voice."
During the session, Yeni performed the Disney Parking Tram message in Spanish.
Corey Burton was introduced with a brief clip of him performing the Ghost Host introduction for The Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired Haunted Mansion Holiday. He got his start at Disney performing Hans Conreid's voice likeness for a school slide film. As he explained "They were looking for the voice of Hans Conreid, who played Captain Hook for the Peter Pan film, but Hans Conreid was out of town. Now the great voice actor Daws Butler, who I happened to know, knew I did a very good likeness of Hans Conreid's voice, had me audition for this slide film." Fourty years later, he still performs Hans Conreid's voice, along with voiceovers for many Disney attractions.
Cory performed the voice of the Barrel Poop Pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean.
A collection of classic Disney Park voiceover performances by the panel. MousePlanet Video.
Camille Dixon performed many of the current park announcements for Disney California Adventure. For the past several years her husband Bill Rogers has been the voice of Disney California Adventure. But just a week before the official opening of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, Bill got a phone call from his Disney contacts, who said, "You know how we're opening Cars Land and Buena Vista Street next week? What's Camille doing?"
During the session, Camille performed the Electronica message for the Tron: Legacy movie sneak-peak in the voice of the Tron Siren.
Bill Rogers needs no introduction as "The Voice of Disneyland" since 1991. He also performs announcements in several other parks including Tokyo Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. In his work with Buena Vista Special Events, he has been the World Premiere live announcer for Disney / Touchstone Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Pirates of the Caribbean. During the D23 Expo, Bill offered his voiceover talent recording personalized telephone greetings for attendees.
During the session, Bill performed what Brian Nefsky thought was the hardest copy—the Disneyland announcement for the Main Street Electrical Parade. The voiceover, "Each parade unit sets its own musical atmosphere by interweaving synchronized electronically synthesized familiar Disney melodies with the continuous electrical parade theme and electro-synthe-matic musical sound" never sounded better.