Disney Parks the world over are renowned havens for where to find a profuse and versatile ensemble of all your favorite iconic characters from Disney films and entertainment. While traditional Meet and Greets are great for autographs, and photos with the familiar friends you grew up watching while visiting a Disney theme Park or Resort location, do remember that not all beloved Disney characters are costumed characters walking about.
Through the years, Disney has also introduced a whole slew of original Disney Park characters exclusive to a specific Park, Themed Land, or location. What’s more, many of these beloved characters aren’t ones you can meet, but rather animatronic marvels to be admired from afar. The birds from the noted attraction Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, which can be found at both Disneyland Resort as well as at Walt Disney World, serve as perhaps the best example, but there have, of course, been several others along the way.
Over at Walt Disney World Resort, on location at Tomorrowland within Magic Kingdom Park, there is an exceptional extraterrestrial animatronic musical performer worth getting to know a little better. An out-of-this-world organist who is always quick with a joke, it’s somewhat surprising that Sonny Eclipse isn’t more widely recognized or utilized by Disney. Perhaps it is because he’s instead a longtime performer at the quick-service dining venue Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café instead of a headlining act with his own themed attraction.
Whatever the reason, Sonny Eclipse is well worth learning more about. So here are a couple of fun and interesting facts to take note of about Cosmic Ray’s one and only Sonny Eclipse.
A Longtime Staple at Cosmic Ray’s
Sonny Eclipse may come from a distant planet and all, but he’s a loyal performer at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café and hasn’t missed a day of work since he started back in 1995. It was following the 1994 Tomorrowland refurbishment that Disney decided to premier this lovable alien animatronic character at Magic Kingdom Park, providing an elaborate backstory and many dimensions to his development as a performer. Late longtime vocalist singer Kal David was the voice behind Sonny Eclipse and former Imagineer Kevin Rafferty, in collaboration with noted composer George Wilkins co-created the music.
Sonny’s Character Background
As can be expected, Disney has devised a rather clever backstory for Sonny Eclipse, which he makes a point to comment on while performing for folks at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. Sonny is originally from the planet of Zork and hails from his hometown of Yew Nork City. As he tells it, Yew Nork is a “topsy-turvy town where the subways are up, and the streets are down.”
Lounge Singer/Stand-Up Comedian
While Sonny Eclipse’s official job title is that of a lounge singer, anyone who listens to his performances knows that he’s also a pretty funny guy, serving also as a stand-up comedian of sorts between his musical sets.
Throughout his tenure as an intergalactic performer, Sonny has appeared at venues all around the Milky Way Galaxy. But as he explains it, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is the place he enjoys most of all. And his personal opinion of Earth is that it is the most beautiful planet of all when viewed from outer space.
Disney has not mapped out a fully detailed summary or official storyline about Sonny’s family or personal life, but given the tidbits he both speaks and sings about, it can be assumed that he has a wife who has six eyes and 12 nostrils. His mother-in-law is described as being large, green, and makes her home in the Yew Nork harbor. The Walt Disney Company has also verified that Officer Zzzzyxxx, who is featured in Tokyo Disneyland Resort’s Star Tours attraction, is, in fact, the cousin of Sonny Eclipse. The two animatronic characters were even created using the very same mold, after all.
Original Hit Songs
Sonny Eclipse leads ongoing 27-minute sets, much to the delight of diners who are fortunate enough to be onsite at Cosmic Ray’s while he is active. All of his songs are original works, created by composer George Wilkins, who has also been the notable brainchild behind several other Disney theme park compilations over the years. Sonny Eclipse’s most contested hits include his theme song “My Name is Sonny Eclipse,” “Out in Space,” “Hello Space Angels,” “Gravity Blues,” “Starlight Soup and Salad,” “Bright Little Star,” “Planetary Boogie,” and “ew Nork, Yew Nor.”.
The Other Band Members
While it may appear that Sonny Eclipse is a solo performer, he’s no one-man act. Three invisible backup singers known as the Space Angels accompany each and every one of his performances. And while the charming trio is never seen, they can always be heard loud and clear and have been faithfully by Sonny’s side ever since joining up with him back on Mars many years ago when Sonny’s former band members ended up being no-shows.
Another noted friend of Sonny’s is his agent, Johnny Jupiter. Audiences never actually get to see Johnny but he can be heard over the speaker announcing Sonny.
That Awesome Astro Organ
Sonny’s instrument of choice is his one and only Astro Organ, which he purchased long ago in a pawn shop back in Yew Nork. What he describes as an “out-of-this-world” instrument, the Astro Organ, features a glowing keyboard and sometimes proves to have a mind of its own.
Friends of Mickey and the Gang
Even though Sonny Eclipse has never appeared in a Mickey Mouse short or in any other Disney film or television-specific feature, he is counted among the many extended friends of Mickey Mouse and the Gang. They apparently became pretty well acquainted once when Donald and Goofy stopped by Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café while searching for Pluto. His referenctoout Mickey Mouse being a star with a tail also confirms the two are on friendly terms.
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Sonny Eclipse continues to be a devoted performer at Cosmic Ray’s and makes the dining experience all the more enjoyable. It’s like having live entertainment (sort of) in the form of a most unconventional novelty Disney attraction worth checking out.