Top Five Disney Animated Movie Soundtracks

I’m very happy to say that my good Disney friend Andrew Carrieri is back with a great post on one of my favorite ways to add a little Disney to my day – Disney music!  (Andrew can usually be found as a contributing writer at The Mouse For Less and on Twitter @AndrewCfran)

Top Five Disney Animated Movie Soundtracks

Andrew Carrieri

Disney animation is legendary. Through 2014, the company has released fifty-four full length animated movies, which feature classic characters, unforgettable moments, and amazing music. The latter element is the subject of this post. Below, I will list my top five soundtracks among these animated flicks and provide reasons for my choices. You may very well disagree with my selections. If such is the case, don’t just “let it go”! Sound off with your opinions in the comments! After all, there’s plenty of music to go around.

Fifth-best Soundtrack: Oliver and Company (1988). Huey Lewis’s “Once Upon a Time in New York City” and Billy Joel’s “Why Should I Worry?” are two of my favorite Disney songs, in part because of my New York bias. As a Long Islander, I’ll gravitate towards anything that features Joel, one of our top celebrities.

Fourth-best Soundtrack: Hercules (1997). From a depth standpoint, I think Hercules has the most underrated soundtrack in Disney history. With upbeat Gospel music (“The Gospel Truth”), songs of despair (“I Won’t Say I’m in Love”), and one of the most epic numbers in animation history (“Go the Distance”), Hercules’ soundtrack brings it all. Hercules

As a general note, I typically prefer the popular version of Disney songs to the in-film rendition where applicable. Here, I find Michael Bolton’s rendition of “Go the Distance” during the end credits superior to Robert Bart’s performance in the movie proper.

Third-best Soundtrack: Pinocchio (1940). Disney’s second animated feature may not have as many great songs as some of its counterparts, but it gets bonus points for “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which is undoubtedly my favorite song from any Disney movie. I am known to tear up whenever I hear it played, usually at the start of Disney movies with the “Walt Disney Pictures” logo.Pinocchio

Second-best Soundtrack: Aladdin (1992). “A Whole New World” is one of my favorite Disney songs, and the film’s other numbers are anything but shabby. Whereas some movies feature songs that are solid in the moment but otherwise forgettable, Aladdin has a plethora of memorable numbers. “Arabian Nights,” “Friend Like Me,” and “Prince Ali” are extremely enjoyable tunes in their own right.Aladdin

Best Soundtrack: The Lion King (1994). What is the best song in The Lion King? Now, that is an easy question! It is “Circle of Life.” On second thought, it is “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”! Or, maybe it is “Hakuna Matata”? Umm, maybe this question is not so easy after all.The-Lion-King

Suffice to say, in my opinion, The Lion King features the greatest and most complete soundtrack in Disney history. All the songs are catchy, and they bring different vibes to the table. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “The Circle of Life” are beautiful and sentimental, “Hakuna Matata” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” are whimsical, and “Be Prepared” is foreboding.

As an aside, while I usually prefer the popular versions of Disney movie songs to the in-film versions, I find the in-film rendition of “The Circle of Life” superior to the Elton John version, which is still excellent. The song provides an exhilarating commencement to the film.

Well, that’s my list! Feel free to share your favorite Disney soundtracks in the comments!

Disney CD Set: The Music Behind the Magic

This week’s Saturdays With Nick takes us once more to an item in Nick’s amazingly fantastic collection of all things Disney.  How I would love to get my eyes (and ears) on this in person!

Disney CD Set: The Music Behind the Magic


by: Nick

Released in 1994 by Walt Disney Records, “The Music Behind the Magic: The Musical Artistry of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice” is a four CD set highlighting the creative evolution behind the music of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.
The set includes demos, tape recordings, final recordings, and unreleased master recordings of some of the most beloved music in Disney history.

The book and CD case are both cloth bound.


The word genius gets tossed around waaaay too often these days when it comes to music.
If you want to hear musical genius unfold before your ears, one needs only to listen to these CDs.

The first 2 discs show how 2 men, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, in my humble and honest opinion, saved the Walt Disney Company. The impression I get is The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast were written around the lyrics to these songs.
The third disc shows how amazingly fortuitous it was that they found Tim Rice to help complete the music for Aladdin after Howard Ashman’s untimely passing. Rice’s lyrics meld seamlessly in with Ashman’s.
Some of my favorite material from this set is hearing Ashman and Menken’s Little Mermaid Demos. It’s just amazing to hear Ashman do different character voices. The standout for me being his Ursula.
This set also comes with a wonderful book that looks at this creative period in the rejuvenation of Walt Disney’s animation department.


Track Listing, on Amazon.

You can read all about Nick, his wife, Barbie, and their passion for all things (and places) Disney: Disney Musings Blog / Disney Musings on Twitter / Disney Musings on Instagram / Disney Musings on Facebook

Vintage Vinyl – Disney’s Christmas Surprises

This week’s installment of “Saturday’s With Nick” details a great Disney holiday album.  As a side note – he may claim he doesn’t know where the album came from, but I know it was a gift to Nick from his wife, Barbie.  (Nick ought to do a better job of remembering important details like that or Santa might just decide to bring him a lump of coal instead of Disney gifts!)

Vintage Vinyl:  Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Christmas Surprises LP Album

By: Nick

I’ve no idea where I picked up this Mickey Mouse Christmas Surprises record album, but it’s in pretty good shape. An “Official Mickey Mouse Club” Disneyland Record from 1958.

If the terrific illustration on the cover isn’t enough to grab your attention, I don’t know what is!
Who knew Bambi could fly?! That’s a surprise.

What are other surprises does this record hold?
Other surprises are how unusual the song selections are on this collection.

Side one:

1. From All Of Us to All of You Jiminy Cricket & Mickey Mouse

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Ever. So great start!

2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye FaithfulLudwig Mousensky & The All Mouse Choir

Then it gets weird. This is an odd one. Very Chipmunk, but not as charming or coherent.

3. T’was the Night Before Christmas Jiminy Cricket

Back on track, one of my favorite stories told by one of my favorite characters

4. Fantasyland, Story Book TreeCamarta Chorus & Orchestra

So sweet, your teeth may hurt after listening.

5. Winter Wonderland Instrumental by Ludwig Mousensky & The All Mouse Symphony

Tolerable instrumental

Side 2:

6. Jingle BellsLudwig Mousensky & The All Mouse Choir

Essentially, the Chipmunks singing Jingle Bells. I like it!

7. Adventureland, Jungle TreeCamarta Chorus & Orchestra

If you are familiar with the Enchanted Tiki Room, this seems to be the same group of singers singing about finding the Christmas tree for, or maybe in, Adventureland. Very unusual, and the lyrics are a bit difficult to follow, so I always lose the thread of the story midway through.

8. Jingle BonesWitches 3 and Friends

I’m a fan of Hallowthanksmas, but this Halloween/Christmas mash-up is too much for even me. Just straight up trippy.

9. Kris Kringle Jimmy Cricket

I really enjoy this one. It makes me wish they’d just released a full album of Jiminy Cricket doing Christmas Carols

10. Tomorrowland, Futuristic Christmas TreeCamarta Chorus & Orchestra

A standard that takes a weird and incomprehensible turn in the middle.

This album is a surprisingly bipolar collection of songs, but worth a listen if you come across it for a reasonable price. And if you have a turntable, of course!

Add a Little Disney to Your Day

Disney Mug CollectionIf you’ve accidentally stumbled upon this website and you don’t happen to be a True Blue Disney Fan, just click the back button now…you won’t understand this post.  You just won’t get it.  Unless you love Disney in a nearly irrational way, unless you pine for a Disney park from the time you leave – and count the days – until the time you return, the details that follow may seem foreign, obsessive, strange or silly even.  So…not a huge Disney fan?  Again, this post is not for you…just go.

Still here?  I’m talking to you now.  My dear Disney-loving brothers and sisters, YOU!   You understand me.  You sympathize with the main plight of my existence – I adore all things Disney and there’s no vacation in the world as good as a Disney one.  Surrounding ourselves with reminders of our happiest Disney days is essential – it’s what keeps us going day to day, right?  You understand, don’t you?

I’ve put together a list of some of the things I do to add a little Disney to my day.  What I want to know is this:  How many items on my list are also part of your daily Disney life and…what’s on your list that isn’t on mine?  Here we go:IMG_2115

1.  Start the day with coffee (sometimes tea or cocoa) – in a Disney mug!

2. Listen to the two P’s of Disney – Podcasts and Playlists.  My daily commute is about 35-40 minutes each way.  Plenty of time to enjoy a couple of podcast episodes or belt out a few Disney show tunes as I’m cruising down the highway.

3. Adorn the car with a Disney antenna topper.  I have a collection and like to rotate them out depending on the season.  Spotting my car in a parking lot always makes me smile.

Nemo Antenna Topper4. Disney casual wear.  I work in an office where business attire is required, but on the weekends, you’ll find me in my “Peace, Love, Mickey” shirt or my Avengers tee.  I’ll probably be sporting a Disney cap as well.

5. Disney accessories – Tinkerbell watch, Disney pin, Magic Band – all appropriate accessories for work or play!

6. Watch – Disney movies, TV shows, documentaries, YouTube videos of attractions – doesn’t matter to me – they all make me happy.  I’m seriously addicted to ABC’s Once Upon a Time.  Don’t judge.

7. Connect – Disney Twitter friends, Disney Facebook pages, Disney discussion boards/forums, Pinterest, Instagram – thousands of other Disney geeks just like me!  Nice folks, too.

8. Cook – I love trying out recipes from my favorite Disney restaurants.  Nothing like delicious 'Ohana Cheesy Potatoes in Process 1smells and tastes to trigger great dining memories and recreate the magic at home.

9. Read – Disney books, articles, blog posts, attraction and restaurant reviews, park news, touring strategies, you name it.

10. Talk Disney! – I’m lucky enough to have a spouse and offspring who love Disney as much as I do.  Conversations around plans for our next trip(s) and what Disney movie will next open in theaters is a daily occurrence.  (I’m also fortunate to have some Disney addicted friends and coworkers.)

Disney Dog Henry Jones, JuniorBonus – I love our Disney dog, Henry Jones, Junior.  Junior’s the best, most patient, tolerant member of the family who will never visit a Disney park, but embraces his family’s love of Disney just the same.

Now it’s your turn…how do you add a little Disney to your day?