Have 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!
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 mantÃ©nganse 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!
Image via castevens12’s photostream on Flickr.com, Some Rights Reserved under Creative Commons