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By Carol Garcia
Like many people who just love Disney theme parks, I look for ways to recreate the feeling of being in the parks when I am at home. I could purchase Disney trinkets to remind me of the trip. We have T-shirts and toys, scrapbook supplies and endless photos, including one gem of my daughter and I with looks of terror on her first ride on the Rock-n-Rollercoaster.
But still, there was something missing. The feeling of actually being in the parks wasn’t there. Short of bolting dolls to the floor and playing “it’s a small world” over and over again, there had to be a way to create the feeling of the parks. And then I realized, maybe we were on to something. No, not the dolls, but the music.
It started with a simple Disney Mania CD. Then there were compilations of music from various Disney movies. The music of some animated features to which I never really paid attention became tunes I’d sing in my head (and thankfully not out loud for those who have had the misfortune to hear me sing).
Finally, I discovered park music. Listening to Grim Grinning Ghosts isn’t like being on the ride, but it sure can bring a smile to my face. Although It’s a Small World does get a little repetitive while on the ride, it can make doing dishes a little brighter. And my children where thrilled when they were able to actually ride the Disneyland ride and understand where the Casy Jr. song on the CD came from.
A couple of years ago, Disney released some great CDs dedicated to park music. There is the Disneyland Park, the Official Album, the Walt Disney World Official Album and the giant A Musical History of Disneyland, among others. If you can’t make it to the parks to find your CD of choice, there are always sites like www.amazon.com that sell them.
Now of course my quest for Disney music didn’t stop there. Who knew that the Illuminations CD would actually help me get through a workout? I could simply close my eyes and pretend I was walking the World Showcase rather than getting no where on the elliptical machine in the health club. (Caution – we don’t actually endorse using these machines with your eyes closed, perhaps a small photo would be a safer choice for the balance challenged among us.)
Finally there is my secret fix. Alright, maybe it isn’t a secret, but I don’t exactly go telling my non-Disney-loving friends about it. After my family goes to bed and I am up trying to catch up on TheMouseForLess posts or searching out some information for an upcoming trip, I faithfully listen to Live365 (www.live365.com).
Here I have found a wealth of Disney related radio stations to curb my appetite for Disney music. I have my favorites, too. I prefer to listen to the music from the parks. Somehow listening to entrance music from Epcot helps melt away the stress of another day. And if I’m lucky, I might even catch the hour long compilation of Wilderness Lodge music, a resort that hold a special place in the hearts of all members of my family.
Dinner parties with family can sometimes have a Disney lullabies CD in the background. (No, lullabies aren’t made for babies, are they??) A quiet evening at home is more relaxing with some soft jazz, Disney style. The Dave Brubeck Quartet has a great CD, “Dave Digs Disney” that is perfect grown-up Disney music. And a side effect, although unintended, is that my children’s friends can be amazed that I have a Princess soundtrack just waiting for them while they dress up in old princess Halloween costumes.
So I have found my escape. My ability to capture just a bit of the magic we feel when we travel to Disney lies, at least in part, with the music. It isn’t the trinkets or the toys. It isn’t even the photos. No matter how much I love those, I can’t ever seem to get them organized. But by turning on “my Disney music,” I can remember vividly sitting in front of the Living Seas in a quiet evening at Epcot, talking with my daughter who is getting so grown up. I can listen to the monorail speech yet again and try to teach my son how to say it in English and Spanish. Even my youngest daughter remembers how much she likes the Tiki Room and how much she wants to go back when she hears the song.
This is how we bring the magic home, what brings our memories of happy family time back, and what keeps us longing to go back to Disney World. The music. And no dolls’ feet were harmed in the process.