My Disney Top 5 - Walt Disney World Musical Moments

by Chris Barry, contributing writer

I’m a music person. Let’s get that out of the way right from the start. I still pay for music all the time, much to the shock of my high school students who steal everything from the Internet, but that’s a whole other argument. I attend numerous concerts each year. To me, there’s nothing like experiencing live music. At last count, I’ve seen the Grateful Dead and their various members and offshoot projects at least 150 times and probably more. I grew up with a musician in the house playing everything from “Smoke on the Water” to Bach. Suffice it to say, my life is incomplete without a soundtrack.

So too would my “Disney life” be without music. Incomplete. Imagine The Lion King without “Circle of Life.” How about the opening moments of Pinocchio without Jiminy Cricket singing “When You Wish Upon a Star?” Impossible. Watch Jack Sparrow cavorting across the screen without Hans Zimmer’s amazing swashbuckling score. Inconceivable. Disney has had a rich and wonderful history of music, both in the films and in their parks. The music completes the picture and indeed ends up meaning an awful lot to an awful lot of people, yours truly certainly included.

Spending as much time in the Walt Disney World parks as I have, the music of the parks has come to mean a lot to me. It sets the mood and carries you through the attractions and the adventures you experience when you are drunk on Disney magic.

So, on that note—sorry, couldn’t resist— I give you my top 5 Walt Disney World Music Moments.

5 – Peter Pan’s Flight – Queue Music

Think of a wonderful thought…. Photo by Chris Barry.

Peter Pan is my favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom for its simplicity and classic vibe. It makes me feel like a kid again, instantly, every time. It’s usually the first thing we head to on our first day at Disney World. When I’m waiting in the queue, pointing out that Hidden Mickey on the tree trunk to the kids, my wife on my arm, listening to the instrumental version of “You Can Fly,” I’m in a very happy place.

4 – Biergarten Restaurant, Germany Pavilion at Epcot.

"Willkommen in Deutschland." Photo by Chris Barry.

What a hoot! My wife is 150% German and watching her enjoy the authentic oom-pah band at this great restaurant will always warm my heart. She grew up with this music all her life and it instantly makes her feel at home. I challenge you to not enjoy yourself eating some bratwurst, drinking one of those huge beers and listening to these guys. Until we make it to Oktoberfest in Munich, this will have to suffice, and it does more than just suffice. It’s as authentic as you can get and a total blast to experience.

3 – Illuminations Pre-show Music, Epcot

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Photo By Chris Barry.

Before you say it, I love the actual music during Illuminations. It gets me every time, all the way through to the finale. The same should be said for the Christmas version. It’s wonderful. However, I think the 30 minutes of music that leads up to Illuminations is really the best part of the show. With those giant torches lit, World Showcase is bathed in a unique light, not to mention heat. The mix of world music that plays leading into the show itself completely sets the mood. The eclectic mix of Peruvian, English and Spanish music, among others creates a mood of anticipation and builds you up for the spectacle you are about to witness.

2 – Spectromagic

"On this magic night…." MousePlanet file photo by Brian Bennett.

The music for this amazing nighttime parade at The Magic Kingdom is everything that Disney music should be. It’s grand. It’s classic. It’s heartwarming. Please excuse the cliché, but it’s just purely magical. Intertwined seamlessly with Disney classics like “Part of Your World,” “Once Upon a Dream” and “When You Wish Upon a Star,” it’s got everything a Disney fan wants in a soundtrack. Pair it with the glittering lights, your favorite characters, and a spot in front of Cinderella’s castle and you’ll see and hear what I mean. I want to be there right now just writing these words.

1 – “When You Wish Upon a Star” – Magic Kingdom Main Entrance

"…your dreams come true." Photo by Chris Barry.

According to, there are 29 songs played in a loop at the Magic Kingdom entrance. All the biggies are there; “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “The Mickey Mouse Club March,” “Be Our Guest,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and other favorites. That said, I swear to you somehow whenever I’m walking out of the Magic Kingdom for the last time of our trip, I hear Jiminy singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.” I turn to my wife and I say, “There it is…again! It’s like…they know I’m leaving.” She of course, humors me and in her most loving yet sarcastic manner says, “Right sweetie…it’s just for you.” Of course, she’s right, but I won’t give in. It is just for me. I hear it all the time and as corny as it sounds it’s my favorite place saying goodbye to me. It’s always bittersweet to leave the Magic Kingdom after a magical visit, but Jiminy always singing when I leave (humor me…please) reassures me that my dreams can come true and I’ll be back soon.

There you go, just 5 of many, many musical moments at the Happiest Place on Earth, a place chockfull of magical music. It’s hard to leave out “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from The Haunted Mansion, “One Little Spark” from Journey into Imagination, all of Wishes, "Circle of Life" from the Festival of the Lion King and yes one of my true favorites, “it’s a small world” but I had to pick and choose. I’m sure you all have your own and I’d love to hear about them.

If you haven’t appreciated the music at Disney World or Disneyland, then I think you’re missing out on half of the magic. Next time you’re there, close your eyes and let your ears do the work. You won’t be disappointed.

That's My Disney Top 5 for today. What's yours? Click on the "Discuss this article on MousePad" link below and share your list!