Music Enlivens the Magical Tales in ‘World of Color’

Filed in: Disney California Adventure

A Dynamic Soundtrack of Beloved Melodies Brings Humor, Adventure and Romance to the Show

“I cannot think of the pictorial story without thinking about the complimentary music that will fulfill it.” – Walt Disney

ANAHEIM, Calif. – From tender melodies to menacing crescendos, the music in “World of Color” will transport guests into a series of hit movies from Disney and Disney•Pixar, creating a spectacular soundtrack for the new, nighttime water show at Disney California Adventure park.  Each sequence in the show – funny, romantic, dramatic or scary – is supported by familiar music associated with the films and their popular characters, including Buzz Lightyear, the Little Mermaid, Simba and the jovial Genie from “Aladdin.”

With unique fountain and lighting technologies, “World of Color” projects tales that are told with a magical blend of water, color and fire.  The music was arranged and orchestrated to support those stories with the intensity and emotion worthy of a major motion picture soundtrack. 

For guests viewing the show, the music will be as spectacular, in its own way, as the impressive fountains and colorful lighting effects.  The “World of Color” soundtrack uses a world-class, state-of-the-art sound system with more than 100 speakers and 48 tracks of show audio. 

The score includes both new compositions and new arrangements of classic melodies from beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films.  It was composed and arranged by Mark Hammond, a veteran musician and producer who has worked with artists ranging from Whitney Houston and Michael Bolton to Mitchel Musso and Selena Gomez.  Hammond also performed all the electronic elements on the soundtrack – synthesizers, keyboards and drums.  Orchestrations for the 100-piece orchestra were created by another veteran professional, David Hamilton (music director for Shania Twain, among others), who also conducted the orchestra and contributed to the arrangements.
  • The “World of Color” score was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.  In addition to the orchestra, the soundtrack features more than 100 voices – soloists and choir – and parts for guitar, drums and synthesizer.
  • The 100-piece orchestra that recorded the score included 60 strings, 15 brass, a dozen woodwinds and a harp, plus guitar, percussion, keyboards and synthesizers.  Bruce Healey, senior music director/producer, Disney Entertainment Productions, called it “a privilege to be able to work with the best musicians and in the best recording studio – Abbey Road – in London.”
  • The show begins and ends with the original theme from Walt Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color” television show, with 20 minutes of music in between.  The theme was written by Disney legends Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman.  The Sherman Brothers recently received the highest Disneyland honor – their names on a Main Street, U.S.A. window – on March 11, 2010.


Musically the show progresses through a series of storytelling arcs:
  • Setting the mood for the “Color” sequence are versions of the original “Wonderful World of Color” theme, which leads into a water-themed dive into the world of Ariel and “The Little Mermaid,” with songs from the movie.
  • While under the sea, guests also encounter Crush the turtle from “Finding Nemo” and learn some whale-speak from Marlin and Dory.  This segues into…
  • An underwater encounter with the whales from the “Pines of Rome” sequence from “Fantasia 2000,” which leads guests, in turn, into other new worlds: Wall-E and his world of the future and the whimsical playroom world of “Toy Story,” where Buzz Lightyear takes flight.  Before they know it, guests are suddenly aloft with Carl’s balloon-buoyed house from “Up” and flying over “A Whole New World” with Aladdin and Jasmine.  They are joined by the playful genie who sings “Friend Like Me.”
  • The “Firebird Suite” from “Fantasia 2000″ underscores a vision of forest greenery, introducing Pocahontas and her signature songs “Just Around the Riverbend” and “The Colors of the Wind.”
  • Floating on an airborne leaf, Heimlich the caterpillar from “A Bug’s Life” greets us, to the accompaniment of “The Time of Your Life.”  The narrative then moves into a gathering storm.  ”Little April Showers” (from “Bambi”) builds into the seagoing thunder of “Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me” and the motion picture theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
  • The storm grows more menacing, carrying “World of Color” into a “Fears” sequence, punctuated by the return of “The Firebird,” the appearance of the demonic Chernabog from “Night on Bald Mountain” (“Fantasia”), “Hellfire” (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”) and a harrowing sequence from “The Lion King.”
  • The tender melody of “So Close” (from Walt Disney Pictures’ “Enchanted”) gives guests a transition from “Fears” into some of the best-loved scenes of romance and family from classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films.  The transformational power of love is demonstrated in the climactic musical sequence from “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • Finally, a kaleidoscope of Disney and Disney•Pixar scenes leads us back to “The Wonderful World of Color” and the show’s finale.
  • Like the animation sequences of “World of Color,” the score of the show takes familiar material and incorporates imaginative new musical arrangements and orchestration.  It’s classic Disney magic taken to whole new levels of sight and sound.


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WOC MUSIC 5-11-10