November 30, 2012

The Nemo Subs at Night

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Disneyland Subs Monorail
I love to visit the Submarine Lagoon at night. At the entry to Finding Nemo, the clean lines of the neon mixed with the activity of the Monorail Station above bring back good memories of  classic "World on the Move" Tomorrowland.
Disneyland Submarine Lagoon night Finding Nemo subs monorail
Plus, the walk along the lagoon's edge is a joy. Even the "Mine, mine" cries of the Seagulls on a nearby buoy seem calming after sundown. This is usually a good place to stop, take in the beauty of the evening and make plans for the rest of the night.

If you happen to be ready to head back to one of the resort hotels or the parking tram, the Monorail comes in most handy at this moment to shave off a lot of walking time. It's a good way to avoid the post-fireworks/Fantasmic crowds on Main Street, too.

November 29, 2012

Mr. Toad's Experimental Fireplace

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland entry front Toad Hall doors
Disneyland's Fantasyland dark rides have received tweaks and improvements from time to time, even after their extensive 1983 remodeling. The first noticeable change after the summer of 1983 was the abandonment of an interesting but problematic special effect on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland loading interior mural Toad Hall
Ever since the opening of New Fantasyland, the last part of the ride's queue has been great fun. Upon entering Toad Hall and encountering the foreshadowing tapestry, you hear jolly music -- and a distinct CRASHING sound which repeats every fifteen seconds or so.

As you near the boarding area, you see the source of the noise as you watch the departing motorcars disappear through library doors -- only to immediately crash back out through the room's fireplace.

The effect (done with scrim, animation and fiber optic embers scattering across the floor) is a hoot to watch -- but it's not quite what the Imagineers tried to achieve in 1983.

Going through my old photos, I remembered I'd taken a shot of the original fireplace effect.

November 28, 2012

Rare Characters From 1983's Flights of Fantasy

In a recent post we watched the giant Fantasia brooms march by, and now we're taking a look at some more rarely-seen characters who grabbed the spotlight in Disneyland's 1983 Flights of Fantasy parade. We've got a dozen photos today, starting with the best armored oddballs ever:
The Trumpeter, Hippo Knight and Rhino Guards from Robin Hood show up! Check out the rhino on the far right menacing the crowd.
Disney Heffalumps Woozles Disneyland Flights Fantasy Parade
Heffalumps and Woozles. Hide the honey!

November 27, 2012

Strange Things 5: More Great Offbeat Disney Tunes

Welcome back to Strange Things, an ongoing search for offbeat, unusual Disney tunes. The rules: the tracks should be obscure, rarely played, or performed in unexpected ways -- and available on iTunes or Amazon MP3. Today we've got Groucho Marx, pirates and more!

Let's start off with one of the best overlooked Disney songs ever, and a seasonal gem:

Once Upon a Wintertime Disney music Melody Time
Album: Christine Davis & Family - Love Came Down.

I was surprised to find that this wonderful holiday song from Melody Time (the sequence with the young lovers, the horse-drawn sleigh and the cracking river ice) is only represented by a single recording on iTunes. Fortunately, it's a good one.

I'm not a big fan of electronic effects in ballads, but it works very well here. Mark Davis's relaxed vocals keep the song's folksy charm intact throughout this modern interpretation of a classic. Well done.

Next up: one of my all-time favorite finds on iTunes:

November 26, 2012

Once There Was a PeopleMover (with Fish Heads & Crumbs)

People Mover Tracks Rocket Rods Disneyland Tomorrowland
The abandoned tracks twist above Disneyland's Tomorrowland, serving no purpose except as a nighttime lighting fixture for the area's entry strip. Once there was a PeopleMover ride bustling along that wonderful elevated roadway. Why it went away, and what happened to its much-hyped  and ill-fated replacement remains one of Disneyland's saddest tales. It's clearly time to move on, tear those old tracks down and have fun imagining the possibilities for Tomorrowland's future.

Younger Disneyland fans often ask about those old tracks. It's the duty of PeopleMover pros to pass along their knowledge to these eager learners. And it's important to get the facts straight. And avoid fibbing. And...hey, look, it's Fish Heads and Crumbs...
Fish Heads Crumbs Disneyland Comic Peoplemover Rocket Walrus
Fish Heads Crumbs Disneyland Comic Peoplemover Rocket Walrus

November 25, 2012

Phineas & Ferb Keep Summer Alive at DCA

Phineas Ferb Danc Party Disney California Adventure costumes
Christmas draws near, but in the world of Phineas & Ferb, every day is summer -- even though they've added a bit of Holiday music to their Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party. Here we see them dancing away their cares (backed by a chorus of helpful Fireside Girls) at the edge of Paradise Pier.
Phineas Ferb Danc Party Disney California Adventure costumes
Phineas (in the striped shirt) looks almost frog-like from the front, which is why he's rarely seen from that angle in the TV show. All things considered, however, the characters translate to walk-around costumes surprisingly well.

It's still startling to see these two at first. Aren't they a bit tall to be ten-year-olds? Yes. Yes they are. The performers do such a great job of bringing the stepbrothers to life, however, that children buy into the fantasy instantly, and it only takes slightly longer for the adults in the crowd to get caught up in the fun.

The Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party, which has been a hit since the day it launched, must be an exhausting workout for the characters. I imagine they embrace the cooler days of fall and winter as a welcome relief after dancing through the show several times a day during the blazing heat of summer.

November 24, 2012

Reviewing Disney's Competition: Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians

Dreamworks Rise Guardians movie review Santa Frost animated
Dreamworks has produced two films that make me wish Disney would buy the company just so their amazing fantasy worlds could take form in the parks. The first was the outstanding How to Train Your Dragon. The second, just released, is Rise of the Guardians.

Directed by Peter Ramsey and based on a series of children's novels by William Joyce, the film offers a daring and playful twist on holiday legends. It also continues a welcome trend started by Dragon: another Dreamworks film mercifully free of pop culture jokes and bathroom humor.
The plot in a nutshell: Pitch Black (the Boogeyman) is tired of being ignored while childhood's assigned guardians North (Santa), Bunnymund (Easter Bunny), Tooth (Tooth Fairy) and Sandy (the Sandman) get all the love and attention. Having discovered how to corrupt Sandman's creations into nightmare creatures, Pitch sets out to destroy the Guardians by sabotaging their hard work. If children stop believing, the Guardians lose all their magic and the ability to interact with the human world. The threat is so severe that the Man in the Moon (never seen, but a respected sage to all the legendary characters) selects -- for the first time in centuries -- a new candidate to join the ranks of the Guardians: Jack Frost. But the freewheeling, responsibility-shirking Frost doesn't want to join.
It plays out like a cross between The Avengers and every Rankin/Bass holiday special you ever watched as a child -- and that's exactly why I love this movie. I always enjoy seeing different interpretations of holiday legends, and this one's a lulu.

Disney, of course, has a legacy of creating interesting takes on holiday settings, from the Silly Symphony Santa's Workshop to the Tim Allen Santa Clause trilogy to the terrific Prep & Landing specials. This Dreamworks extravaganza presents an entirely new universe where the Easter Bunny is a six-foot tall boomerang-hurling Australian and the Tooth Fairy commands an army  of hummingbird-like fairies to do her "field work."

November 23, 2012

The Rocket Jets: Tomorrowland 1983

Rocket Jets Disneyland Tomorrowland old 1983 spinning ride
Soaring high above Tomorrowland aboard the Rocket Jets was an early-morning tradition in my family (we always rode right after Space Mountain), and a spectacular thrill I miss dearly. Riding the gantry elevator to the ride's third-story platform atop the PeopleMover station was an adventure in itself.
Rocket Jets Disneyland Tomorrowland old 1983 spinning ride Matterhorn
I'm sure the Imagineers had the best intentions when they closed the ride and reinvented it as the ground-level Astro Orbitor. The newer experience, however, pales in comparison to the views and exhilarating heights of the Rocket Jets.

Guests can still enjoy an elevated rocket spin on Walt Disney World's Astro Oribter and Tokyo Disneyland's Starjets. Whatever the future holds for Disneyland's Tomorrowland, I hope the thrill of flying far above ground level returns in some form. Tomorrowland used to be all about looking up toward the skies. The land's been grounded for far too long.

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to Disney Fans Everywhere!

Mickey Minnie Thanksgiving Turkey Brownies Disney centerpiece
Happy Thanksgiving! We don't usually post recipes on Mouse Troop, but I'd like to share my secret for these delicious Turkey Brownies:

1. Drive to local market's bakery section.
2. Slide debit card.
3, Transport Turkey Brownies home.

I am a disaster in the kitchen. If I'd tried to create the above little turkeys on my own, each and every one would've turned out like this:
Brownie cartoon Thanksgiving Turkey bad  burnt cooking disaster
I'm the guy who's always assigned "chips and soda" for office parties.

Have a great Holiday, everyone!

November 21, 2012

Pinocchio's Daring Journey in 1983

Pinocchio's Daring Journey opened in Disneyland as part of the massive Fantasyland remodel in 1983. Then and now, guests encounter a bit of foreshadowing as they enter the queue and pass this deceptive, cheerful poster for Stromboli's show.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey dark ride Disneyland Stromboli
The above image is from this past summer, but all the following photos are from my family's first trip to "New Fantasyland" in the summer of 1983.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey dark ride Disneyland Stromboli
Ride vehicles designed to look hand-carved by Geppetto begin the journey by entering Stromboli's Theater. Guests have about two seconds to watch Pinocchio on stage before veering to the right as "Something Goes Terribly Wrong."

November 20, 2012

Strange Things 4: More Offbeat (and Epic!) Disney Tunes

Welcome to another crazy off-ramp on the Disney Music Highway! We've got banjos, dragons, Mickey Rooney as Pinocchio and amazing park music...but our first pick actually makes Disney history!
Epic Mickey 2 Strange Things Offbeat Disney Music soundtrack
Album: Epic Mickey 2

Mickey and Oswald perform in a song together for the first time! Sure, they only get one line each (most of this song is performed by the Mad Doctor), but -- What a cool little moment in animation history! Spoiler alert: the lyrics give away the game's ending.

You don't need to play the games to enjoy the music of the Epic Mickey world; Jim Dooley wrote fun, atmospheric scores for both the games, and part 2 has the additional kick of being a semi-musical. With track titles like "Skeleton Dance" and "Autopia Exploration," this album's going to make a lot of Disney fans smile.

And now, Dragon meets Steel Drums...

November 19, 2012

Flo's Brioche French Toast (plus Fish Heads & Crumbs)

Brioche French Toast Flo's V8 Cafe Cars Land Disney Adventure
It's not the prettiest meal on the planet, but I do love the Brioche French Toast at Flo's V8 Cafe In Cars Land. It really tastes more like dense, warm banana bread, and it's topped with salted caramel sauce and cold bananas. The combination of hot, cold, sweet and salty makes it sort of like the breakfast equivalent of a tin roof sundae...if that makes any sense at all. Have some milk handy before you tackle this super-filling joy brick.

I never noticed before, but the bananas sort of resemble walrus tusks. And, yes, that was the worst segue to a comic strip ever...

Fish Heads Crumbs Disney Comic Brioche Toast Flo's walrus

November 18, 2012

Star Trader Shopping: A Tomorrowland Tradition

Star Trader shop store Tomorrowland Disneyland neon Mickey
This animated spacewalking neon Mickey has charmed Tomorrowland night shoppers for decades. With an area overhaul on the drawing boards, now may be a good time to take a fond look at current icons, because -- especially in light of Disney's Lucasfilm purchase -- anything in Tomorrowland could change in the near future. And I have to admit, I've got a soft spot in my heart for The Star Trader shop.

November 17, 2012

The Forever CDs: Disney's All-Time Best Souvenirs

Disneyland Forever Walt Disney World CDs discs kiosks system
In the late 1990's, Disney introduced a new concept in merchandising at the parks: Disneyland Forever and Walt Disney World Forever. Fans could scarcely believe the good news; Disney was opening the vaults and allowing guests to choose their favorite park music on touch-screen kiosks, and then burn their own CDs. To Disney fans, this was a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket moment.
Disneyland Forever Walt Disney World CDs discs kiosks system
Across the country, die-hard park fans bumped up their vacations, called in sick to work, and began scouring the internet for lists of available tracks. So much treasure to choose from!

It was all so much fun. For the next several months, whenever a co-worker or friend would mention they were headed to Disneyland, I'd beg them to do me one tiny favor, then hand them a list of music and a twenty dollar bill. Before I even set foot in the park again, I'd gotten the biggies: all the available Pirates, Mansion and Tiki Room tracks.

A very nice internet friend volunteered to obtain my requested WDW tracks and mailed the disc to me without charging anything over the cost. 'Cause Disney fans tend to be awesome.
Disneyland Forever Walt Disney World CDs discs kiosks system
My little collection -- I know some fans got every single track.
And when I finally got down to Disneyland in person, I was ready. Boy, was I ready. For those of us on a tight budget, the fun -- and frustration -- was in deciding which of the tracks were most important. At about $20 for each disc of ten tracks, the Forever CDs weren't cheap, and thirty second sound effect clips cost the same as eight minute ride narrations. Like many fans, I stood there at the kiosks, checking my list, creating and ordering CDs until I ran out of cash.
Disneyland Forever Walt Disney World CDs discs kiosks system
A typically eclectic track list
The Forever kiosks were wonderful while they lasted, but the system had its flaws. The sound files were all over the map in terms of sound quality and volume level. The system broke down a lot. And--in the end--the process of creating and ordering a CD was too time-consuming and confusing for the average park goer. Fans loved it, but most guests ignored it. Sadly, the most wonderful souvenir system to ever grace the parks disappeared.

In the years that followed, of course, the cultural landscape changed. Sharing music became easier than ever, iTunes and Internet Radio became more and more prominent, and Disney themselves, with the help of great producers like Randy Thornton, turned out some amazing park soundtracks. The release of the 6-Disc Musical History of Disneyland made, for the first time, a comprehensive collection of park music and attraction ride-throughs easily available to consumers. Recent CD releases such as Finding Nemo: the Musical and Cars Land show that Disney seems to be more aware of the public's desire to take the music and ride soundtracks home.

Disneyland Forever Walt Disney World CDs discs kiosks system
The Inside Cover Dedication on each DL Forever CD
In this age of digital downloads, there seems to be no reason why Disney can't bring an updated Forever System online. They could set up an expansive and wondrous online store for purchasing park music and attraction sound files. The question is, do they want to?

They should, and they should make the purchasing an event in itself. They could offer the best-quality recordings and give purchasers club points for each download to be used toward obtaining limited-release collectibles.

Disney's current top brass certainly seem to have their eyes on the future. I just hope they don't forget to bring the treasures of the past along, and use today's technology to revive a great idea.

November 16, 2012

March of the Brooms: 1983's Flights of Fantasy

Fantasia Brooms Disneyland Flights of Fantasy Parade 1983
To celebrate Disneylands 1983 opening of New Fantasyland, the park rolled out Flights of Fantasy, a massive parade highlighted by inflated balloon-like floats and characters. The most memorable moment, by far, was the march of the Fantasia Brooms.
Fantasia Brooms Disneyland Flights of Fantasy Parade 1983
They just kept on coming! These huge inflated costumes must have given their operators/performers quite a workout as they marched nonstop along the entire route
Fantasia Brooms Disneyland Flights of Fantasy Parade 1983
And there they go. I felt sorry for that second broom from the left; he looked like he'd thrown his back out.

This parade contained many unusual elements and rarely-seen characters, and I caught some of them on my little Kodak disc camera. More Flights of Fantasy coming soon!

November 15, 2012

Golden Zephyr: A Relaxing Flight Above Paradise Pier

Golden Zephyr Disney California Adventure Paradise Pier swing ride
On your next trip to Disney California Adventure, take a few minutes to enjoy one of the park's original -- and often overlooked -- attractions: The Golden Zephyr in Paradise Pier.

The ride garnered a pile of resentment when DCA first opened, as its simplicity seemed to symbolize the insulting, cost-cutting mindset that clouded the park's early years. The situation's changed, now that DCA can finally boast a solid roster of great attractions; suddenly there's a welcome spot for the Zephyr's basic, old-fashioned charms.

Adam and Andrew of the Disney Hipster Blog noted the ride's connection to England's Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The historic, low-tech atmosphere of Golden Zephyr gives the ride an unexpected bit of depth, as you really are experiencing a sensation from the amusement industry's past.

The ride is a charming, easy-going thrill, swinging you out over the walkway and the waters of Paradise Bay. The views are wonderful, the loading and unloading spiels provide some fun period character acting, and -- simple as it is -- this is a unique form of swing ride that most guests have not experienced before.

I have to admit, I was one of the many who resented Golden Zephyr's simplicity when it first opened. Now, I actually hope it never leaves.

November 14, 2012

The Alice Caterpillars: Best Ride Vehicles Ever?

Alice Wonderland caterpillar caterpillars ride vehicle Disneyland
Hop in before he changes his mind!
When it comes to picking my favorite ride vehicles at Disneyland, one top choice leaps (or crawls) straight (or in a zig-zagging pattern) to mind; the Alice in Wonderland caterpillars.
Alice Wonderland caterpillar caterpillars ride vehicle Disneyland
The caterpillars seem to merely "tolerate" our presence
They're a work of art -- wonderful little sculptures full of personality, giving off a heap of attitude.
Alice Wonderland caterpillar caterpillars ride vehicle Disneyland
Down the rabbit hole
They're fun from every angle, too, and are as delightful to watch as they are to ride. Even with the temporary fences in place on the upper level (can't wait for the upcoming fix), their in-and-out zig-zagging turns the ride's exterior into one big, wonderful kinetic work of art.
Alice Wonderland caterpillar caterpillars ride vehicle Disneyland
Before the safety fences
Surprisingly, there are only two other rides in Disneyland Park with character vehicles: Dumbo and Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin. Both are great, but they can't top a journey to Wonderland.

November 13, 2012

Strange Things 3: Yet More Offbeat Disney Tunes

Welcome to Volume 3 of our collection of some of the wildest and/or most unexpectedly awesome Disney song interpretations on the face of the Earth! Let's not waste any time; this first pick is the greatest twist on a Disney tune I've ever heard...
Ron Sorin I've Got No Strings Disney music track
Album: Ron Sorin and the Blue Coast Band - Lake City

I don't usually associate a rocking blues harmonica and honky-tonk piano with Geppetto's runaway puppet, but Ron Sorin & crew are on fire in this rollicking instrumental piece that barrels along with so much energy and fun that 3 minutes seem to go by in the blink of an eye.

Tale Spin Disney Music Track Peter Kleine Schaars
Album: The Best of Peter Kleine Schaars

Peter Kleine Schaars is a Dutch trombonist who has performed with and conducted several military bands. As you can see from this album cover, he's performed works by the Beatles, Phil Collins and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Of course, all I care about here is that Mr. Schaars led a military band through an epic rendition of the Tale Spin theme...and it's a wonderfully different take on a television classic.

Swingtips Grim Grinning Ghosts Disney music track
Album: The Swingtips - Roswell

Let's acknowledge one thing up front: nothing can beat the great Thurl Ravenscroft's unforgettable performance of the original.

The Swingtips can't match Ravenscroft's voice, but their take on the mansion's signature tune is the most fun alternate version recorded to date.Colorful and imaginatively arranged, the best part comes during the instrumental middle section, as you hear various ghosts from the attraction discuss or reenact their gruesome final "mortal" moments that landed them in the mansion.

November 12, 2012

It's a Quaint World After All (Plus Fish Heads & Crumbs)

Disneyland Resort Signpost sign signs downtown directional
Standing on the esplanade between Disneyland and Disney Calfornia Adventure (and right on the very border of Downtown Disney) we can gaze up at this signpost and realize that we don't need any further directions. There's no way to get lost. Everything is right here.

There's never been a place that crams so many wonderful and varied experiences into such a small space as Disneyland Resort. West coasters tend to adore the advantages and energy of such a tightly packed vacation land just as folks who grew up with Walt Disney World love their resort's vast spaces and breathing room.

Have you ever introduced a cross-country friend or relative to "your" resort when they're accustomed to the other one? It can be an eye-opening experience. And that's our excuse for a segue into this week's Fish Heads & Crumbs...
Fish Heads Crumbs Disneyland comic walrus Plunk nephew
Click to Enlarge

November 11, 2012

Disney's Favorite Way to Bump Off a Villain

Maleficent dragon parade float balloon Flights Fantasy Disneyland
Quick: What's Disney's favorite way of killing off an animated baddie?

Not all Disney villains die, of course. Some are imprisoned and some (mainly in the comedies) are merely humiliated. Then there's Pinocchio, a very dark film in which five major villains get off with no punishment at all -- because the message of Pinocchio is watch out!

When Disney storytellers do kill off a creep, however, they've definitely got one preferred method. Let's take a look at the list of all the Disney animated villain death scenes:

November 10, 2012

Six Flags from a Disney Fan's Perspective

Superman Ulitmate Flight Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
As my group approached the gates of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, I innocently said, "Let's ride Superman. It looks fun." I would soon regret those words...
Giraffe statue Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
I usually save all my theme park funds for Disneyland, but I was fortunate enough to be invited to an off-season private event at Discovery Kingdom in Northern California with friends and family. I'd never visited DK before, and I'm not a Six Flags fan. I was heading for a day of surprises.

November 9, 2012

Fantasyland at Night

Mad Tea Party Disneyland Teacups night spinning lanterns
Disneyland's Fantasyland takes on a unique energy late at night. Because much of it's blocked off during fireworks (as the castle hosts some of the pyrotechnics), the last hours of park operation find the area bustling with relaxed, tired-but-happy guests trying to get in one last ride on a childhood favorite before closing time.

November 8, 2012

Mater Waffles at Flo's

Tow Mater Waffles Flo's V8 Cafe Cars Land Carsland Disney
Mickey pancakes will always be a classic, but the Mater Waffles at Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land are my new favorite smiling breakfast food.

They're listed as a kid's menu item, but one glance around at breakfast reveals just as many adults enjoying these crazy little specials-of-the-house, and no wonder; for $5.99 you get waffles, bacon, fruit and a beverage. It's just the right amount of food to get you energized for a day in the parks.

My other favorite breakfasts in Cars Land are Flo's Brioche French Toast (which tastes a lot like banana bread with hot caramel sauce) for $6.99 and the Bacon Scramble bread cone at the Cozy Cone Motel for $5.49. These give you more food for your dollar, but don't include a beverage.

And, of course, neither of those items make you laugh the moment they're set down in front of you. Mater waffles win!

November 7, 2012

Rare & Retired Characters: Talespin Baloo & Don Karnage

Talespin Baloo Don Karnage Disneyland Disney Afternoon Avenue
Remember Talespin? It had an odd premise (Jungle Book meets Casablanca with a little bit of Cheers and lot of Jules Verne), but turned out to be a great family adventure series. Its best episodes (anything involving the Sky Pirates, ghosts or thawed-out WWI pilots) are still remembered by fans as some of the most entertaining television Disney's ever produced.

In 1991, Disneyland guests could meet "Higher for Hire" cargo pilot Baloo and sky pirate Don Karnage on Disney Afternoon Avenue, located near It's a Small World. Both character costumes were amazingly well-done.

After meeting the ace pilots, guests could take a ride through Gummi Glen on the re-themed Motorboat cruise, try out the Rescue Ranger Raceway (Fantasyland Autopia) or pose for photos in front in plywood replicas of key locations from Ducktales. Mickey's Toontown was two years away, but Afternoon Avenue served as a very pleasant temporary stand-in.

November 6, 2012

Strange Things 2: More Great Offbeat Disney Music

Welcome back to another plunge into the world of unusual, off-the-wall Disney recordings. These are all fun, top-notch tracks--sometimes historic, sometimes obscure, sometimes simply sung or performed in unexpected ways. All are on iTunes -- you just gotta know where to look!

Freddie Dreamers Disneyland Unbirthday Song album offbeat
Album: Freddie and the Dreamers in Disneyland

Oh, heck, yeah! Early-60's pop with zany humor and energy. If you like one track, you'll love the whole album -- a non-typical assortment including everything from The Ugly Bug Ball to The Ballad of Dick Turpin (from the rarely seen Disney film The Legend of Young Dick Turpin).

Dodgy Disney Age Believing Bedknobs Broomsticks offbeat album
Album: So Far on 3 Wheels:Dodgy on the Radio

Here's a unique take on a Sherman Brothers classic! Dodgy was a terrific British Power-Pop group, and they gave this Oscar-nominated Bedknobs & Broomsticks song a rough-edged, small-club rock band twist. Here's what I like most about it: if you close your eyes, it's easy to imagine the four vultures from Jungle Book belting this out.
Alan Dale I'm Late White Rabbit Disney offbeat music album
Track: I'M LATE
Album: Alan Dale: The Very Best of

Baritone 50's crooner Dale gives the White Rabbit a gruff edge and adds an Italian accent that turns the piece into a truly fun character performance.

And, man, the guy deserves a better album cover.

Dutch Disney Andre Van Duin Bibbidi Disney offbeat songs
Album: Animal Crackers

Andre Van Duin's Dutch interpretation of the Fairy Godmother song sounds even more whimsical than the original. I'm determined to learn this piece phonetically, syllable-by-syllable!

Ray Noble Bud My Favorite Dream Disney offbeat music song
Album: Bud Noble -- The Music of Ray Noble/In the Noble Manner

I don't mind a straightforward, easy-listening track on this list when it covers a seldom-performed great Disney song, and here British bandleader/arranger Ray Noble does a beautiful job on one of Disney's best hidden treasures.

"My Favorite Dream" is the Harp's wistful ballad from the Mickey & the Beanstalk half of the film Fun & Fancy Free. There's another track from the same film on this album: "My, What a Happy Day." It's not quite as good, but well worth adding to your Disney collection.

iTunes has this album classified as "New Age." Pffffff--really, iTunes?

Next, we have a soundtrack from a 90's Disney fantasy film most people have, sadly, never heard of.

Tall Tale Disney soundtrack Pecos Bill Paul Bunyan John Henry
Album: Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill

This story of a boy trying to save his father's farm with the aid of Pecos Bill, John Henry and Paul Bunyan (with Babe the Blue Ox) deserved a better fate at the box office. At any rate, Randy Edelman's terrific, sweeping score is available to enjoy, and if you're a film music fan, you should check out the beautiful opening theme.

I love each and every one of the above tracks, and highly recommend them for anyone looking beyond hit singles to fill out their Disney playlists. There's a lot more to be discovered on iTunes and Amazon. Mouse Troop will be highlighting more offbeat Disney music soon!