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Ruminations: What's on your iPod, Disneyland?

Ruminations: What's on your iPod, Disneyland?

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Got to hand it to the folks at Apple. The iPod in all of it's incarnations has changed how and when people listen to music. Before this gem came along, the big revolution was in 1979 with Sony and its Walkman tape cassette player. At the smallest, it could fit into a purse or a coat pocket and allow as much portability as you could fit on one side of a cassette tape. 60 minutes, if you took you chance with the thinner 120 minute version.

But on my visit to Disneyland in early December, I noted a new and interesting trend -- guests inside the parks listening to iPods.

Think about a visit to Disneyland and all of the time taken to provide the various music being played, setting the mood along your way as you travel from land to land. What kind of experience do you have if you're listening to something else? I doubt that all these people were listening to the official Disneyland podcast -- fine as they are and well worth your time to download. More than likely, the audio is the favorite playlist of the moment. Could be anything from Bach to boogie to Beyoncé and anywhere in between.

And this wasn't something I saw isolated to a specific generation, either. I saw folks of all ages with the standard Apple little white wires running from their ears to pockets, etc. Something for folks in Anaheim, Burbank and Glendale to take notice of, perhaps?

Now there were two people I particularly noticed listening to their iPods. Disneyland Cast Members, yet. Okay, so they were actually sharing that music with the rest of us. It was these folks on duty as DJ's at Club Buzz in Tomorrowland.

Photo by Roger Colton

Note the set-up here. The DJ's have headsets and iPods connected to wireless transmitters on their belts. Pretty cool. Safe in those blue Speck ToughSkin cases, that's plenty of music to choose from for these two Cast Members to keep things lively. I know some people for whom this kind of gig would be a dream come true!

Meanwhile, out and about the Disneyland resort, a couple of guest favorites have some new albums coming out soon. Piano player Alan Thompson Jr. has "Flight of Hands" now available online at only $10.00 from CD Baby (as they call themselves, "a little CD store with the best new independent music.")

You might recall that Alan started out in the Park playing four-hand piano with Rod Miller on an occasional basis. Their disc, "Four-Hand Piano," continues to be a guest favorite. Since that was recorded, Alan has taken on a somewhat regular gig as one of the piano players at the Coca Cola Refreshment Corner and the Plaza Pavilion.

His style is extremely energetic. And while he may play some old favorites, that style is certainly unique. Rather than simply playing one song at a time, Alan manages to weave melodies together in some wonderfully intricate medleys. One great example, on the new disc, is "Ain't Misbehavin' and In The Mood." Mixing the rhythms of Fats Waller and Glenn Miller isn't something that normally comes to mind, but Alan's performance just makes it seem so natural.

Call it youthful exuberance, but all of the energy he brings to performing a set seems to have just the right attraction for music lovers of all ages. I've seen everyone from the ages three to twenty three to forty three to seventy three swinging with the beat, tapping their toes all gathered around to listen in to the sounds Alan brings forth.

Alan Thompson Jr. performing on a cold December
night at Disneyland's Plaza Pavilion
Photo by Roger Colton

If you don't have a copy of Rod's disc, "Ragtime," CD Baby has a deal on it as well at only $12.99.

Another favorite of many guests is electronic violinist Drew Tretick. He has two items to share that you might be interested in. First, his much anticipated film album with the London Symphony Orchestra is scheduled for release in 2006. Drew collaborated with Bob Krogstad (arranger for Michael Crawford, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, and others) and recorded with the LSO at Abbey Road directly following the recording of Star Wars with John Williams.

And second, Drew's music has been used for the Champions On Ice Olympic tour. It is currently in the skating program of Viktoria Borzenkova and Andrei Chuvilaev for the 2006 Olympics. Drew's version of Con Te Partiro (Time To Say Goodbye) has been used by Olympic Champion skaters, including Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze who tied with Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. It is also being used by the top contenders in the Russian Nationals skating competitions.

Thanks to Drew, we have some of his discs to share with you. So, in the tradition of radio station promotions, the sixth, ninth and twelfth e-mails that with I receive the subject, "I Want A Drew Tretick CD", will each get one for free.

 "Thanks to everyone who asked for one of Drew Tretick's discs.  They're all gone for now!"

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