Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Disney World Monorail Voices

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 12, 2009

Comments (12)

Walt Disney World Monorail at EpcotHave you ever been on the Walt Disney World or on the Disneyland Monorail System?

When David was away on business presenting at a conference in January, he happened to stay at a Walt Disney World resort and ride on the famous "Monorail". His experience inspired me to dig a bit deeper into the voices, past and present, of Disney's Monorail.

There's a lot of good information here but what I'm missing are your memories!

If you have anything you'd like to share about the monorails at Disney or are simply curious to learn more, read on!

Disney's Monorail

I asked a number of people to share just about anything they could think of regarding the monorail and the voices on it. Elli TheKingofBroadway referred to this Wikipedia listing about the Disney World Monorail System, as did Caryn Clark, which I've quoted a paragraph or so from below:

"The Disney monorail system uses a set of pre-recorded announcements to instruct and entertain passengers.

Prior to departure, a recorded announcement asks guests to 'please stand clear of the doors; por favor manténganse se alejado de las puertas.' One of the most known phrases within the resort, it was recorded by Jack Wagner (1925-1995), who was known as 'the Voice of Disneyland.'

Disney employee Matt Hanson replaced Jack Wagner. Hanson is still (as of 2004 at any rate) with the Walt Disney Company.

During the system's early years, the trains featured Wagner's narration of the sights and scenery along the way, as well as information on special events, the resort, and the monorail system itself. Since that time, other announcers have provided these narrations, yet the 'stand clear' announcement remains in Wagner's voice. This is at least partially due to the fact that the audio for the doors is generated via a separate system than that for the rest of the narrations."

Disney monorail works will often refer to these recordings as "spiels".

You can hear Jack Wagner's Disney Monorail voice recordings here.

While we're on the topic, voice talent Alex Verde, has performed one of the voices on the Disneyland Monorail.

Disney Monorail Voices : For The Record

There wasn't a lot of information out there about the voices specifically, but with some help, I stumbled upon a thread of discussion at a site called Hidden Mickeys that explores little known, fun facts about the theme parks.

I thought you might find this comment particularly interesting as it gives you some background on how Jack Wagner recorded the voice overs as well as other intriguing details.

Statement made by Jack Bohannan on Hidden Mickeys

I would like to set the record straight on the voice. Throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's the voice heard on all Disney monorails, as well as most all the voiceover work for all the parks was the legendary "Voice of Disney", Jack Wagner.

I have had the privilege of working with him many times through the years.

One interesting side note is that Jack's home in Southern California was one of the first uses for a direct audio link from a remote recording studio. It was put in by Disney in the 70's and connected a voiceover booth in his home to Studio D at Disneyland in Anaheim. He frequently would receive last minute calls for special events and was able to just walk over to the booth and "beam" it directly to the park. Anyhow, with the amount of work that Florida was generating after Epcot and the Studios opened, plus the fact that Jack wanted to head towards retiring sometime, other voice talent was sought out locally in Florida.

There have been several people used in voiceover work since then, one of them being Kevin Miles, who is one of the original members of the Voices of Liberty at Epcot, and can still be heard there daily. Kevin recorded the monorail voiceovers after the Grand Floridian was built, and his voice was still there until the 25th Anniversary rolled around, when it was updated by one of the new voiceover talents.

The amount of voiceover work at the parks now is astronomical, and it is shared by a couple of people who have "the voice", including Kevin. Interestingly enough, though, Jack's voice can still be heard welcoming everyone to Orlando on the monorails at the airport terminals.

Tom Bohannan, quote from the HiddenMickeys.org site, added July 25, 1997.

Like Father, Like Son

When looking for more information about Jack Wagner, I came across a Jack Wagner tribute that included this tidbit about his son, Mike Wagner:

"Born in 1953, Mike is almost as 'enthusiastic' about Disney as his dad. Although his profession is radio broadcasting, he still would make Voice Overs for the Disney Theme Parks (he also did the V.O. narration for the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Forever kiosks).

Many visitors and cast members call him the 'voice of Disneyland Paris'.

Funny to note, that the former french Park Management thought his voice would be too 'American' and rejected his offer to make the voice-overs. In 1995 Jay Smith would ask him again and Mike agreed.

Unfortunately Mike left Disneyland Paris on January 28th 2000, and became the director of the french radio station 'Nostalgie La Legende'.

In DLP Mike Wagner can still be heard as an announcer for parades like Imaginations Parade and Wonderful World of Disney Parade."

You can hear Mike Wagner's Disney recordings here.

Do You Have Memories of the Monorail or Trivia You'd Like to Share?

Did you grow up hearing these voices? Do you have something else you'd like to add to this conversation?

Leave a comment!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

Image via castevens12's photostream on Flickr.com, Some Rights Reserved under Creative Commons

Related Topics: announcements, booth, broadcasting, Disney, French, Jack Wagner, Matt Hanson, Monorail, radio, spiels, voice over, Walt Disney World


Comments


    I had to ride the monorail 4 or 5 times a day when down there for business one year. I came back repeating the door-closing announcement like a mantra. I've been doing it ever since. Heck, I even have an official park T-shirt with the monorail and the spanish-portion of the announcement printed on it!

    Posted by:
    • Michael Amaral
    • May 12, 2009 12:34 PM

      We always wondered about that. We spent a week at Disney one year and by the end of the first day, we were chanting that monorail announcement like it was a mantra!

      thanks for digging that up!

      CC

      Posted by:
      • ccpetersen
      • May 12, 2009 2:11 PM

        Hi Stephanie,

        Yes, Alex is a good friend and also you could be interested to know that Bill Rogers has been the "voice" of Disneyland for many years now, doing all the in-park announces, and special shows. When I lived in OC, I did all the announces for Disney's California Adventure. Many of them still play in the park. Disney doesn't like for folks to advertise these talents, as it takes away from the "magic" of the experience.

        Debbie

        Posted by:

          A little bit of trivia. I am the voice that trains the Disney monorail "conductors". I have been fortunate to voice a large amount of the training courses for employees at Disney theme parks. I'm always impressed with the thoroughness of the Disney training. Its a kick voicing the tracks that train the people who bring so much fun to the rest of us.

          David K. Jones

          Posted by:

            I worked at Walt Disney World for a number of years and although I was never an official voice of Disney, as a castmember, it was my job to announce many of the shows and tours. I believe with all the video cameras that are there, to some I am a Disney voice. If you read my bio, you will see that at one point I almost became one of those voices. I hope that someday this will be true.
            Jay Thompson

            Posted by:

              Stephanie:

              Enjoyed today's info on the "voices" of the Disney trams.

              Having lived in Orlando since 1971 when Disney World opened, I remember attending the official ribbon cutting of Disney's MGM studios with Bob Hope as the guest speaker. All the dignitaries
              were seated on a flatbed truck out in the middle of nowhere. It was a great occasion until an afternoon thunderstorm broke up the festivities.

              Once the MGM studios opened I had the pleasure of recording there and creating the voice of the Riverboat Captain for the Frontier Land paddle wheeler. The track is still being used even today. A day at a Disney park whether recording a voice-
              over or just taking in the "Magic," is still an exciting occasion.

              Other theme park voices I've recorded include Universal Studios' Men-In-Black and Six Flags Batman and Robin attraction.

              Have a Great Day,

              Bob

              Posted by:
              • Bob Noble
              • May 14, 2009 9:21 AM

                Stephanie,

                Thanks for touching on this topic today. Wow! Being born and raised in Southern California--and having the thrill of living the Disneyland experience many times since the early-60s up to present date--I have marveled at the fantastic sounds of the park--in particular, the priceless and timeless voice of one man, specifically, that of the great voice-actor and gentleman, Mr. Paul Frees.

                Yea, I realize that your focus is specifically on Disneyland's and Walt Disney World's monorail voice-overs, but one simply can not even begin to speak about the "voices of Disney" without first mentioning Mr. Frees.

                Here's a great "Disney legends" link I dug up during some quick research about the humble beginnings of Mr. Frees and his relationship with the Disney people:

                http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Paul+Frees

                Then, here's some rather interesting bio' info' I picked up from this site, as well as concerning Mr. Frees' work on the one-season TV show that aired in 1967 and called, "Mr. Terrific:"

                Mr. Terrific had a theme song, but it was more of narration set to background music, thanks to veteran cartoon voice over artist Paul Frees:

                A scientist both wise and bold/Set out to cure the common cold
                Instead he found a power pill/Which he said most certainly will
                Change a lamb into a lion/Like an eagle he’ll be flyin’
                Solid steel will be like putty/It’ll work on anybody
                Then it was found this power pill/Made the strongest man quite ill
                So the secret search began/To find the one and only man
                Who can take this power pill specific/And turn into the most prolific, terrific, Mr. Terrific!
                What they found made them squeamish/For only Stanley Beemish
                A weak and droopy daffodil/Can take this potent power pill
                That sent him soaring through the skies/Fighting foes and fighting spies
                When he took the pill specific/He became the most prolific, Hydrolific,
                MR. TERRIFIC!

                Frees began working for Disney dubbing voices for television and features, including narration for the "Man in Space" series (1954), "From Aesop to Hans Christian Andersen" (1955), the "Boys of the Western Sea" serial (1956-57), "The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca" (1958), Tonka (1958), "Tales of Texas John Slaughter" (1958), The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), "Moochie of Pop Warner Football" (1960), The Ballad of Hector, the Stowaway Dog (1964), and The Monkey's Uncle (1965). For The Ugly Dachshund (1966) he looped the voice of "Eddie" entirely, since actor Richard Wessel had passed away after the completion of principal photography.

                Most famously, Frees comic Germanic accent and free-wheeling improvisational ability brought personality and popularity to Donald Duck's nutty Uncle, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, who was introduced on "An Adventure in Color" (1961) and subsequently became a frequent host of the Sunday night television institution, as well as a star of Disneyland Records.

                For the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, Frees was the sonorous narrator of the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln pre-show at the Illinois Pavilion. For Disneyland, he provided the dramatic "you are there" narration for Adventure Thru Inner Space. Some of his most memorable voice performances are still playing today at Disney Parks: Frees is the "Ghost Host" in the Haunted Mansion, and many of the varied Pirates of the Caribbean.

                Frees was active until his death from heart failure on November 2, 1986, in Tiburon, California. He was 66 years old.

                When asked if he ever had reason to resent the relative anonymity of his art form, Frees replied, "Sometimes, yes. But it's nothing I can't overcome when I look at the bank balance."

                Rick J. Radecki

                Posted by:
                • Rick J. Radecki
                • May 14, 2009 9:24 AM

                  Stephanie--as a "new kid on the block" For various uses at the park and for the Ice Shows I was the voice of Doc' of the 7 Dwarves -i.e. Please keep your hands inside the car-etc--and for shows at the park in Ca. A lovely gig-and memory. Del Roy---aka Methusaleh. Just trying to get started with Voices.com.!!

                  Posted by:
                  • Del Roy
                  • May 14, 2009 9:28 AM

                    Great Blog! 'The Voice of Disneyland' - now that is impressive!

                    -Jason

                    Posted by:

                      I had forgotten this, but the monorail system at Disney World was one of the first times I heard Spanish alongside English in an announcement like that. I am from Illinois and while there are Spanish speaking people there, there aren't too many recorded announcements going on. I now live in the Bay Area, using BART every day and I find it odd that they still use each individual conductor to inform passengers of the current station. As well, the one door closing announcement is only in English. And the computerized voices in the stations informing of train arrival times are only in English.

                      Posted by:
                      • Dan
                      • August 23, 2009 4:26 PM

                        The current voice for the past 5 years on the Walt Disney World Monorail and all bus transportation at Walt Disney World and Disney's Magical Express from OIA and LAX is Joe Hursh!

                        Enjoy your stay in The Magic Kingdom!

                        Posted by:

                          the Englis/Spanish Monorail doors spiel can also be heard on the Monorail at Orlando Int'l Airport

                          Posted by:
                          • Danny Eyheralde
                          • March 12, 2011 1:28 AM

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