Sunday, July 6, 2008

Disneyland Musings - Volume 1 - "Your Attention Please!"

The melodic recorded call of the conductor rings out from Main Street Station, Disneyland USA: "Your attention please! The Disneyland Limited now arriving from a trip around Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. Passengers will stand by to board."

Jack Wagner's voice haunts my memories of the Park. It echoes from my earliest trip, unseen and beckoning. As I walked through the tunnel onto Main Street, I would hear that call time and again. Over the years, the recording has changed a bit, but it has still retained its tone and essential content. For most folk, Jack Wagner's is the first voice they hear of the many thousands recorded and calling to them from inside the berm. For those of us who have been to the Park hundreds and hundreds of times (if not more) it is as familiar as a favorite t-shirt. Its call rings through the years, at once present and distant. It is another one of those billion little details that makes Disneyland so utterly unique in our dark universe. I do not think anyone can adequately sum up the overall scope and span of Disneyland's architecture, design, ambiance and terroir. Like any work of art, each observer experiences it from their own perspective and takes away their own interpretation.

All I know is that I spent many, many hours and days sweeping Main Street and "Your attention please!" is ever present in the soundtrack of my recollection of those times. Since so many things about Disneyland were absolutely intended by its designers, it is probably no accident that one of the things you first hear upon entering the Park is an invitation, a call, to embark on a tour of the Magic Kingdom. I guess in a way it is like the Park itself is speaking the words to its guests: "Your Attention Please! You are now leaving your world and entering mine!"

On quiet nights while working unload on the Jungle Cruise, the call from the Main Street station would float in over the treetops of the Jungle. I found myself stopping and soaking it up on those occasions. It always happened on slow nights and between boats. The Jungle sounds were always present, along with the trickle of water and the organ piping in from the Swiss Family Treehouse. Amidst all that, alone on the dock in relative quietude, the far off call would come. It was faint but certain. Like the pinpoint glint of a distant lighthouse. Even as a cast member of several years and a lifetime Disneyland goer, the call seemed fresh and new. Somewhere inside part of me responded, yes! Where do I board?!

So here's to Walt! Here's to Jack Wagner! Here's to Disneyland! A simple toast of thanks for inviting us in and sharing some real magic with each of along the way. Many happy returns!

"Last call! Booooooaard!"

(My sincere thanks to for the classic photo of the west tunnel main entrance at the top of this post).


Andy said...

Wonderfully put! Jack Wagner's voice is one that brings back memories for so many... I can only imagine what it would be like to hear it over at the Jungle Cruise late at night...

Mike said...

The West Side of the Park was a LOT quieter in 1987 than it ever has been since. Fantasmic has forever changed the nighttime landscape. No Mark Twain cruising slowly around the bend, its decks sparkling with white lights. No Dixieland Jazz wafting down the streets of New Orleans Square from the small stage at Cafe Orleans. Even the train whistle and the steam get drowned out by the Fantasmic show. Alas, I imagine the moments are much rarer when one can hear the call from the Main Street station: "Your Attention Please!" I have tried to give a flavor of how I experienced those moments.