Part of what makes a vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort such an incredibly experience is the opportunity for Guests to be fully immersed in their surroundings, including through music. Guests who stop to listen to the music throughout the Disney Parks will hear memorable and catchy tunes of all different genres, and chances are many of them were written by the iconic Sherman Brothers.
Robert and Richard Sherman were born in the 1920s in New York City and were inspired to write music and lyrics by their father, songwriter Al Sherman. The brothers both grew up playing multiple instruments and both served in World War II, but it wasn’t until after the war in the early 1950s that they began collaborating together on original music.
Not long after, Robert founded Music World Corporation, a music publishing company, and they began to collaborate with Annette Funicello, who helped them land their first top ten hit with “Tall Paul.” After that hit, the Sherman Brother’s career quickly grew, ultimately leading them to a long collaborative relationship with the Walt Disney Company in film, television, and the Disney Parks, as well as other beloved projects like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
RELATED: The Music of Disney Attractions
The brothers continued to work together until Robert’s death in 2012, and their lengthy career resulted in some of the most beloved music of all time, much of which can be heard in various locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort today. While some songs are specific to certain areas in the Disney Parks, others are from beloved Disney films and can be heard instrumentally as background music such as “I Wan’na Be Like You” from The Jungle Book, “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” from The Aristocats, and “Step In Time” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins.
In addition to these beloved songs by the Sherman Brothers, there are also countless other songs that have been present in the Disney Parks that are no longer heard today, including “Magic Journeys” and “Makin’ Memories” from EPCOT. Let’s take a look at just some of the Sherman Brother’s music that can still be heard throughout the Disney Parks today and pay homage to the lasting legacy that the duo will always have in the Walt Disney Company.
“It’s A Small World (After All)”
One of the first collaborations that the Sherman Brothers had with the Disney Parks technically began with the 1964 New York World’s Fair, when Walt Disney teamed up with PepsiCo and UNICEF to create a ride that celebrated the unity of children around the world. This collaboration resulted in the beloved “it’s a small world” attraction that Guests know today, and a version of the attraction can be found in every Disney Parks location throughout the world.
The Sherman Brothers were tasked with creating a song that captured the message of “it’s a small world,” which proved to be more complicated than it sounded when early versions ended up being a loud mess when sung in different languages in the same attraction. This led to the very simple lyrics that Guests know and love today that could easily be translated into various languages to showcase unity and joy.
“There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”
The Sherman Brothers were also tasked with writing a song for the attraction being created in collaboration with General Electric for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The attraction ultimately developed into the iconic Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress that can be found today in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, and the brothers penned the classic “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”
Guests who visit Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress today can hear the song as well as watch a short television clip in the loading area that shows the Sherman Brothers singing the classic songs at a piano with Walt Disney looking on. From 1974 through 1981, the attraction used the song “The Best Time of Your Life” by the Sherman Brothers, and several bars of the chorus can be heard intermittently in the background music of Tomorrowland.
“The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room”
Also in the Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, a beloved attraction that was a project driven by Walt himself, which features a chorus of tropical birds, tikis, and flowers serenading Guests from the rafters up above. The Sherman Brothers wrote the popular song “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” which showcases their use of catchy tempos, simple lyrics, and comical lines to capture Guests’ attention and keep them humming along long after the attraction has ended.
RELATED: Familiar Voices of the Disney Parks
“One Little Spark”
One of the most beloved songs by the Sherman Brothers that was written a little later in their established career with the Walt Disney Company is “One Little Spark” from Journey into Imagination with Figment in EPCOT’s World Nature. The song debuted with the original version of the attraction in 1983 and could continue to be heard until 1998 when a second version was introduced.
This second version was missing everyone’s favorite purple dragon Figment, and shortly after in 2002, the attraction reopened with the return of “One Little Spark.” The upbeat song that shares the joys of imagination in simple language is sung every day by Figment and Dr. Nigel Channing, and instrumental versions can be heard all around the Imagination Pavilion.
RELATED: Our Favorite Disney Parks Characters
Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom features an instrumental score of various songs from popular culture and Disney films that evoke the charm and Americana of a small town at the turn of the century. One song that can be heard in the area’s background loop is “Flitterin’” which was composed by the Sherman Brothers and features a jaunty charm that Guests are sure to find themselves humming along to.
“Winnie the Pooh” and More
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland recreates the story of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which was released in 1968 and featured several songs by the Sherman Brothers. The attraction today follows the same storyline and uses the same beloved songs that the duo wrote including “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers,” “Heffalumps and Woozles,” and “The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down.” Essentially the entire attraction is set to classics by the Sherman Brothers and instrumental versions of the songs can be heard throughout the queue as well.