You might not realize the hold that Disney has on your five senses until you return home from your magical vacation. Disney’s approach to creating unforgettable memories doesn’t begin and end with the phenomenal rides and attractions. They want to help seal these memories with pleasant scents that instantly elicit nostalgia (see our Top 10 Disney Smells), one-of-a-kind tastes so tantalizing and unique that you immediately associate them with Disney (think Dole Whip), and sights so awe-inspiring that they could only have been dreamed up inside the genius minds of Disney Imagineers (think Cinderella’s Castle). But it doesn’t stop there! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a noise and immediately think, “DISNEY!” as they have a powerful grip on my sense of sound. Next time you find yourself at Walt Disney World, stop and take a moment to simply LISTEN. Truly let yourself appreciate the invisible phenomena of Disney sounds. We’ve tuned our ears in to these uniquely-Disney sounds and created a list of our ten favorites. Do your ears prick up when you hear these like ours do?
10. Boat Horns
Whether it’s from the water taxis or ferryboats, the unmistakable call of the boat horn reminds other water vehicles that they are approaching. These boat routes are all over Disney property, and the boats are almost an attraction in themselves. You can find them transporting guests to and from their favorite theme park (except Animal Kingdom), and many resorts offer boat transportation as well (even to Downtown Disney from Old Key West or Saratoga Springs). You can also hear this jolly sound inside the gates of Magic Kingdom from the Liberty Square Riverboat, though it sounds more like a steam whistle than horn. So what is it about this happy signal that gets me giddy? Whether I hear the distant call from afar or experience it up close as a passenger, it serves as a constant reminder that I am at the happiest place on earth!
9. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster 3-2-1 Countdown
Nothing gets the adrenaline coursing through my body quite like this ride does, and just THINKING about the opening countdown before you shoot off from zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds gets my heart racing like crazy. This thrill ride is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, and I simply love it! Not only are Aerosmith’s songs music to my ears while I zoom along the tracks, but Steve Tyler’s voice as he shouts the countdown just before it begins makes my nerves dance with excitement. I know as soon as he gets to “ONE” and the green light flashes, I’m taking off on the ride of my life!
Featuring nightly shows, nothing “snaps, crackles and pops” quite like Walt Disney World’s fireworks. These explosions of color and sound complete your magical day at the theme parks, offering such brilliant light to the night sky that you can’t help but be fully captivated by them. The sight alone is magnificent but the sound sensations are what keeps me fully alert and engaged during these spectacles. Whether experiencing Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom, Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios, or Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, you will hear a unique soundtrack that follows along perfectly to the boom and pop of the bursting fireworks. Added to that, the actual explosions are so powerful you can actually FEEL it!
7. Soarin’ Soundtrack
If this isn’t the most comforting, most beautifully orchestrated piece of music on Disney property, I’m not sure what is! This soundtrack is so subtlety powerful with strong crescendos of melodic notes, that I am convinced it encourages feelings of elation and joy with everyone who’s had the pleasure of experiencing this magnificent attraction. I don’t know what it is about this musical piece, but my heart feels like it’s going to explode with excitement when I listen to it. If you need a little reminder of the incredibly distinctive tune, simply search it out on Youtube and you’ll instantly be transported back to your last Epcot visit.
You might not be fully conscious of it, but think back to the last time you rode the monorail at Disney. There is that “bing bong” sound before the doors glide open with a SWOOSH of air. These noises are also present when each “car” of the monorail closes its two doors, ending with the final “clunk-clunk” sound. In addition to that, the whoosh of sound as it zooms by above you is also incredibly and wonderfully familiar. These sounds are just so distinctly Disney, and they make my heart happy!
5. Disney Transportation Spiels
Throughout the years, millions of Walt Disney World visitors have heard various voices broadcasting through the speakers inside Disney buses and monorails, providing important information and announcing different stops and landmarks. The only unchanged voice in all this time belongs to Jack Wagner when he speaks these famous lines inside the monorail, “Please Stand Clear of the Doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas.” The phrase has become so popular and recognizable that it spawned a whole line of Disney t-shirts! And who doesn’t love hearing the classic phrase, “Welcome aboard the Walt Disney World express monorail, your highway in the sky to the Magic Kingdom.”? The buses also have these fun and informative announcements, and for a diehard Disney fanatic like myself, just hearing these voices makes me all kinds of excited as we approach our Disney destination. Though the voices have changed a handful of times since they began, all of them sound so alike that you might not even recognize the difference. Perhaps this is why it still holds that warm and fuzzy nostalgic appeal, because it always sounds so cheerily familiar.
4. Thrill Ride Screams
There are a two of these that TRULY stand out to me—The Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror screams. Sure, people hoot and holler on many of the Disney rides, but I think these two in particular make me smile the most. It’s probably because you don’t have to be on the ride itself to hear it, and you can hear the screams from a good distance away as you approach them. Any passerby can enjoy watching and listening as guests experience these ultimate adrenaline rushes. When that log boat appears from the top of the mountain and cradles that tipping point I just know SOMEONE is going to give a loud squeal of excitement as it barrels downwards. And when those doors open at the Tower’s top, giving the riders a bird’s eye view of Hollywood Studios, it is ALWAYS followed by ear-piercing shrieks as the elevator makes its stomach-dropping plummet. You can’t help but grin, especially if you’ve experienced these attractions yourself and screamed right along with everyone else!
3. Howling Wolf—Haunted Mansion
You can hear this eerie howling if you are even remotely in the vicinity of The Haunted Mansion ride at Magic Kingdom. Goosebumps will speckle your skin and shivers of wicked glee will be provoked at this classic noise. A foolish mortal I may be, but I will always delight in this spooky howl!
2. “Welcome Home.”
*Sigh* I just love hearing the Disney cast members greet me with these two words every single time I return to a Disney Resort. After all, you ARE home here (at least that’s what my heart tells me when I go!) and will be reminded the minute you arrive at the resort. This is the sound every Disney fanatic can’t WAIT to hear when we drive through the Walt Disney World archway and onto Disney property!
1. Magic Kingdom Train Whistle
The Walt Disney World Railroad Station is the first thing you’ll set your eyes on when you enter the Magic Kingdom, so why shouldn’t the first thing you hear be the steam train’s iconic whistle? As the wheels chug along the tracks that border the theme park, the unmistakable call of the whistle can be heard all over the park’s property (and even at nearby Disney Resorts!). Feelings of joy and elation are associated with this sound as it immediately resurrects wonderful Magic Kingdom memories. As a train enthusiast, Walt Disney purposed to share his love of the steam powered locomotives by incorporating working railroads at his theme parks. There is now a train system at every Disney park around the world, so it is no wonder that the whimsical call of the steam train’s whistle lands at our number one spot!
What are your favorite Disney sounds? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook!
Homesick for Disney? Start planning your next trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.