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Ruminations: Make that Disneyland music to go, please!

Ruminations: Make that Disneyland music to go, please!

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Right back to opening day, there have been live musical performances that have become guest favorites. As you might expect, those favorite run through all kinds of musical genres too. But the problem with a live performance is that as much as we enjoy it, taking those sounds home with us is a bit of challenge. But there are ways that we have to overcome the obstacle.

Let me state for the record, that while I definitely appreciate how technology has advanced to the point where it makes enjoyment of these musical performances easier, I personally do not condone the practice of unauthorized or unlicensed recording, reproduction and distribution - especially file sharing.

Disney has a great history of making recordings of various events at Disneyland available to consumers. From the 1950's into the 1990's, vinyl albums and singles were the media of choice. There were plenty of folks who took home recordings of some of their favorite attractions and events. My own record cabinet (now there is an anachronism) has its fair share of them, even if they are in storage. How many of you have that 45-rpm record of "It's A Small World"?
With the advent of the tape cassette in the 1970's, some of those records found themselves new life on a new media. I know that I made many a trip down the I-5 listening to cassettes of Disneyland music.

But it was the explosion of Compact Discs that is one of the bigger chapters in this saga. Discs of musical highlights from the various parks usually have included soundtracks from attractions as well as some recordings of on-stage performances. Two favorites of mine seem to have made the cut on almost every disc in this category. The first (and the only legitimate recording I can find of this group) is the Royal Street Bachelors with their rendition of the Gershwin standard "Swanee." The second is the Disneyland Band with the favorite "Mickey Mouse Club March." Just hearing a little bit of either one makes me feel like I am there. 

And that is what appeals to us about these recordings. Call it you very own time machine, if you will. Pop one in your CD player or onto that iPod playlist and you can travel right back to that favorite performance.

But, for some of you, I can hear the question. How do we find these discs? Well, I have the answers.

First and foremost, you can always remember to look for an album of your favorite musicians when you are at the Park. For example, there are discs available at various locations for the Side Street Strutters, the River Rascals, Rod Miller and Alan Thompson, The Dapper Dans and more. These discs feature some of the best performances of these artists. Likely, that favorite melody is on one of these discs.

The most convenient location I have found is the 20th Century Music Shop on Main Street. They carry every compact disc found on sale at Disneyland. If they don't have one in stock, it is a safe bet that they can tell you where it is at another merchandise location.

Now while we're here, don't forget that this is also where you can find many classic Disneyland musical performances available for purchase on-demand. Check out the interactive kiosks for samples of the selection. But don't forget to ask the Cast Member at the counter for a look through the binder of on-demand discs. You'll find such classic albums as "Meet Me Down On Main Street" by the Mellowmen (with favorite Thurl Ravenscroft) or how about an entire performance of the "Golden Horseshoe Review" with Betty Taylor, Donald Novis and Wally Boag? Don't forget classic attraction soundtracks, they have those as well. "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" and "The Enchanted Tiki Room" were two I had to have. Plenty of other vintage Disney records, too. How about "Hawaiiannette" with Annette brining her own touch to island favorites? Another seldom seen gem in the Sherman Brothers "Tinpanorama" with more songs by some great Disneyland performers. I'm somewhat partial to Paul Frees, as he gives us the "Rutabaga Rag."

If you forgot to pick one of these discs up on that last visit, there are a couple of ways to remedy that situation. First - Disneyland Delivears (the Disneyland mail order department) is only a quick phone call away at 1-800-362-4533 or 1-714-781-4236. Expect to pay standard charges for shipping of items. There are also several web sites that offer shopping services for Disneyland merchandise. They can also get you a copy of that disc. However, you should note that they either charge a price that includes their service or there is a fee in addition to the purchase price. They also collect appropriate sales taxes and charge standard shipping fees.

There are three more options to consider. Amazon offers many of these discs for sale - either new or used. Often these are through their affiliate program (with which I have had good luck, so far). EBay also is a good place to look for these discs. Whether someone is thinning their collection or sharing an extra disc brought home with them, you might find an occasion bargain.

eBay is another place you might find the product of Disneyland's first experiment in on demand audio. For several years, there were locations where you could mix your own favorites disc of all kinds of Disneyland tracks with music and sound from all around the "Happiest Place On Earth". While that may be gone, may a disc went home with guests and I have seen a fair number for sale from time to time on eBay.

Finally, don't overlook iTunes! One great example of this is the Firehouse Five Plus Two and their album At Disneyland with tracks taken from a series of performances at the Golden Horseshoe. The whole album on sale for only Seven dollars and Ninety-Two cents! How can you beat that? I also found another album by an artist I have very fond memories of listening to on many a late night at the French Market in New Orleans Square. Teddy Buckner had a regular band of All-Stars that played classic Dixieland Jazz there. On iTunes, I found his album, A Salute To Louis Armstrong for the usual iTunes price of $9.99. Even Armstrong's album, Disney Songs The Satchmo Way is available as a partial album on iTunes (and I've also seen it on sale at Disneyland as well).

And if you don't have iTunes yet, why not? It has always been free and still is, whether you have a PC or a Mac...

With all of these options and the release of the big six-disc set at Disneyland this summer, if you're as into music from the Park as I am, I think you're set for a while. There is plenty of music from your favorite performers to keep you more than occupied. Just try not to go broke or hurt yourself picking it all up at the same time.

So when is that next trip to Anaheim? I think I hear another compact disc calling my name...

The true measure of the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina continues to unfold. All of the staff of Jim Hill Media shares in the hope that all of the survivors will soon all be safe and able to resume some semblance of a normal life.

Earlier this year, you all generously helped out by supporting the efforts toward relief of the victims of the Tsunami. If you can see your way to doing so again, the victims of Hurricane Katrina now face many of the same daily challenges for basic necessities. Even though this happened closer to home, the need is every bit as real and as serious. Consider a donation to the American Red Cross if you can. Every bit helps, even more now...

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