Have you ever been enjoying time at the Walt Disney World Resort and thought to yourself “that voice sounds so familiar?” Well, odds are you have, because there are voice actors throughout the history of the Disney Parks who have provided their talents numerous times for different attractions and experiences.
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These voice actors have incredible talent and unforgettable voices, so much so that after reading about what characters they play, you might even be able to clearly hear their voices in your heads! From spooky attractions and familiar narrators to a voice that has jumped a few generations, let’s check out some of the familiar voices that Guests might recognize from the Disney Parks!
One of the most well-known voice actors to have worked with the Walt Disney Company over the years is Thurl Ravenscroft, a man whose voice can be heard in numerous locations throughout the Disney Parks as well as in other pop culture examples. His voice is deep and distinctive, making it a great choice for powerful and confident characters in many different scenarios.
Thurl Ravenscroft’s voice is not only recognizable for his dialogue, but also his singing as he is fond belting out tunes in several attractions throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. He can be heard at the Haunted Mansion as Uncle Theodore, one of the singing busts in the graveyard, Pirates of the Caribbean in the burning seaside scene belting out “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” and at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room where he stars as Fritz, the German bird who sings and helps to host the show.
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Other attractions that feature Thurl Ravenscroft’s voice are Country Bear Jamboree where he star as Buff, the large bison hanging on the wall and the Mark Twain Riverboat in Disneyland where he is the first mate. In addition, he can also be heard singing “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” on the radio every holiday season and also as the voice of Tony the Tiger from original ads and cartoons. Guests can also spot a tribute to him with the name “Ravenscroft” engraved on the organ in the outdoor interactive graveyard found at the Haunted Mansion!
Another very talented voice actor who can be heard in numerous Disney cartoons as well as experiences throughout the Walt Disney World Resort is Paul Frees. He began his career with the Walt Disney Company as the voice of Professor Ludwig von Drake in a series of cartoons featured on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color and continued his work with the company on the Disney Parks level.
Paul Frees is most recognizable from the Disney Parks as the voice of the disembodied Ghost Host who guides Guests on their journey throughout the Haunted Mansion. He can also be heard as the disembodied voice warning that “dead men tell no tales” as well as the voice of the famous Auctioneer on Pirates of the Caribbean. He had also previously been heard as the narrator of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the extinct Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
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Continuing with the trend of recognizable voices that can be found in the Haunted Mansion, a favorite character of many Guests features the same voice as some other recognizable Disney villains. Madame Leota is the iconic physic whose head can be found eerily floating in his crystal ball in the séance room, and her voice is provided by legendary voice actress Eleanor Audley.
It makes perfect sense that when the Imagineers were looking for a powerful and slightly sinister voice for Madame Leota that they would turn to Eleanor Audley. She had previously worked with the Walt Disney Company providing her voice talents for famous villains Lady Tremaine from Cinderella and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.
Another familiar voice found at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is that of Jose played by Wally Boag, a voice and stage actor who had a lengthy career with the Walt Disney Company. In addition to many bit parts in films throughout the years, Boag also performed at The Golden Horseshoe Review for many years in Disneyland before moving to the Walt Disney World Resort where he performed in the Diamond Horseshoe Review.
Wally Boag also can be credited for discovering Julie Andrews as he pulled her onto the stage at a show in London to perform with him when she was a girl and she amaze the crowd and actually became a part of the show. Julie Andrews obviously went on to have an amazing career with roles including Mary Poppins, but it is amazing to think that the voice of Jose from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress has gone through many changes over the years since it debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, but one familiar voice has remained present throughout all that time. Rex Allen was originally part of the attraction as the voice of John the father when it first debuted in the 1960s, and his deep and familiar drawl was already familiar from a lengthy career as a cowboy and Western star.
In 1993, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress underwent an update where Rex Allen was replaced as the voice of the father by Jean Shepherd whose own voice is recognizable to Guests as that of the narrator from A Christmas Story. Thankfully, Rex Allen’s legacy with the attraction was kept alive as he was instead asked to voice the grandfather instead, so his iconic voice can still be heard belting out “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” to this day!
Tom Hanks & Tim Allen
The final two recognizable names on the list are those of pop culture favorites Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. The two actors have obviously had incredible careers with roles including Forest Gump and Apollo 13 and Home Improvement and The Santa Claus respectively, but it is the Toy Story franchise that has brought their voices to the Disney Parks.
Guests who spend time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort can hear Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear throughout various audio in parades and cavalcades, on attractions like Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania (as well as Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland), and throughout Toy Story Land in general.