The domestic Disney Parks are at a time of massive expansion and reimagining. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Pixar Pier, the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, the Ratatouille attraction, it seems as if the list could go on and on. Don’t get me wrong, these investments are great, and to certain degrees I am excited for all of them. There is one small detail that concerns me, though. With the addition of attractions based solely on Disney’s intellectual property, there likely isn’t going to be any need for new ride music that is exclusive to the attraction. I know this sounds petty — and hell, it probably is — but some of my favorite Disney songs aren’t the ones you find in the classic films, but in the soundtracks you can only hear on the theme park attractions.
Iconic songs like “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)”, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, and “Grim Grinning Ghosts” largely define the attractions they are hosted in. When an attraction is based on a movie, for the sake of good theming and immersion the only thing that makes sense is to have a song or two from the movie.
Xavier Atencio and the Sherman Brothers created songs that have lasted generations. There are remarkable musicians out there today that could be creating the next generation of theme park attraction music, but unfortunately, they really won’t have that opportunity because almost everything is themed around the movies. If Disney doesn’t want to go out and find all new talent to create the theme park music, then they can take note of the Sherman Brothers who, in addition to creating theme park music, also were the songwriters for many Disney films like Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats. Disney could use songwriters that are working on Disney and Pixar films and implement their skill set into the theme parks.
There are thousands, if not millions, of moving parts in a Disney theme park attraction. Everything must be synchronized flawlessly in order for it to work. Some attractions have music from their film counterparts that work well, but nothing can fit as seamlessly as a song written specifically for the ride itself.
I may be alone in my thinking, but I wanted to use this editorial as a means of my own venting. Don’t get me wrong either, I am still very excited about the upcoming attractions, but I am just saddened by the lack of non-intellectual property based attractions.