Tomorrow’s child, gathering gifts from our past
Tomorrow’s child, shaping a world that will last
Holding a spark as we embark on a great journey
Together we’re learning to reach for hope and desire
Building a world to inspire
Charting a brand new way
For the Future World is born today!
Do you remember that song? It’s just one song of the many that have shaped the history and the celebration of the human spirit that is a signature of Disney’s Epcot. If you’re like me, I’m certain that snippets of Epcot/EPCOT Center’s music occasionally run through your mind—“Canada, my Canada, you’re a lifetime journey for the traveler,” “America, spread your golden wings,” and everyone’s favorite, “Let’s listen to the land we all love, nature’s plan will shine above.”
Whether it be the music of Future World or World Showcase, the music you hear within the parks and attractions help set the atmosphere and enhance the reality. Some music, such as the lively instrumental arrangement you hear on the Gran Fiesta Tour, are written by Disney Imagineers specifically for the attraction. Other music, such as the background music that is played inside the main area of The Land pavilion are instrumentals from popular films.
Let’s take a tour of the music of Disney’s Epcot! The sounds that set the mood as you wander through the park and create a lifetime of memories of Walt Disney World.
Starting with Future World, two of the more memorable background tracks that can be heard are the Main Entrance “Legacy” Loop and Papillion (On the Wings of Butterflies) by American composer David Arkenstone. Every 15 minutes in Innoventions Plaza, the Fountain of Nations will entertain with a magnificent water show that is synchronized to a variety of soundtracks. Soundtracks include the theme from The Rocketeer, The Rescuers Down Under, and Standing in Motion by Yanni.
Moving on to Future World attractions, there are many beloved tracks from extinct attractions that we will always remember. Who can forget the Colander Combo singing Veggie, Veggie, Fruit, Fruit at the Kitchen Kabaret in The Land? The Universe of Energy featured two popular tracks—Energy You Make the World Go Round and the Universe of Energy. And what about the New Horizons Medley from the Horizons attraction. Ahhh, the memories!
Two of my personal favorites currently in Future World are the relaxing instrumental loop that can be heard at the Seas with Nemo and Friends and the ever-popular One Little Spark from Journey Into Imagination with Figment. When I need a break from the heat, I usually head to the Sunshine Seasons seating area in The Land just to hear the music! The music loop includes tracks from Out of Africa, The Horse Whisperer, My Dog Skip, and several other noted films.
At Epcot’s World Showcase, the music sets the stage and represents the culture of the participating nations. Beyond the lively performances by Epcot’s talented musicians, there are background music loops that change as you visit each World Showcase nation. Let us not forget the music from World Showcase attractions—past and present. Do you remember El Rio del Tiempo at the Mexico Pavilion? Maelstrom at the Norway Pavilion did not have a music track, but there was subtle music, with a variety of troll-ish sounds! Over the falls!
At the Norway Pavilion, the loop includes music ranging from orchestral instrumentals to folk music, such as Olaf Sørli. If you enjoy oom-pah, polka, and like to let loose with a yodel, you’ll be right at home at the Germany Pavilion listening to the Chromatic Polka and Hi Lee Hi Lo. Traveling to the China and Japan Pavilions, the background music celebrates the sounds and instruments that are unique to the music and culture of China and Japan. Though Mariachi Cobre are popular performers at the Mexico Pavilion, the background music provides a pleasant blend of marimba and folk music.
The American Adventure Pavilion presents music that represents the values and traditions of the American spirit, such as My Old Kentucky Home and Just a Song at Twilight. Traveling to our European neighbors at the Italy and France Pavilions, the background loops share songs that are quintessential for those countries. Songs, such as Frère Jacques, La Vie En Rose, A Di La, and O Sole Mio. At the Morocco Pavilion the ambience will make you feel as if you are strolling through a busy market place with roosters crowing, cows mooing, and traditional music playing. Lastly at the Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions, the music covers the breadth of provinces and territories of those countries.
As an longtime Walt Disney World fan, I remember the Epcot Marching Band and the bagpipe players at the United Kingdom from the 1980s. To this day, when I walk through Disney’s Epcot, I think of those happy sounds and all the sounds that have shaped my memories. The history of sound at Disney’s Epcot is rich and extensive and will continue to change as Walt Disney World evolves to share new and exciting experiences. Though many of our favorites are gone, the background and attraction music we love will live on in our memories.
Do you have a favorite World Showcase or Future World song? Let us know!
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
To learn more about Kathy and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.