When you step inside a Disney park, you are prepared to see a host of Disney stars from the voiceless “fur characters” – Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, the seven dwarves, and the most recent Disney movie characters like Olaf and Baymax; to a parade of “face characters” like the Disney Princesses – Tiana, Snow White, Cinderella, Elsa and Anna, and even Captain Jack Sparrow and Maleficent.
But aside from “atmosphere characters” who engage or interact with the park’s guests, the voices you hear around the park (from the moment you enter to the background ride narrations) also help make the park experience memorable as they set the mood in the different rides and attractions.
So who are some of the voices behind Disney theme park rides and attractions?
Bill Rogers is The Voice of Disneyland for almost 15 years. He succeeded Jack Wagner since 1991, recording various PA announcements throughout the park. He has also done PA announcements for Walt Disney World and the Tokyo Disney Resort as well. His wife Camille Dixon is also part of the Disney family as the voice of Disney California Adventure.
Pete Renaday has done voice over acting roles in various Disney specials and films, but he is most famous for lending his voice to the park’s characters Henry and Max in Country Bear Jamboree. The other attractions where you would hear Renaday include Walt Disney World’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as Captain Nemo, The Hall of Presidents as Abraham Lincoln (1994-2008), as the narrator for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and also the narrator for The Walt Disney Story .
Corey Gregg Burton is another Disney park luminary. As a voice actor he provided voice for several Disney animated characters, as well as characters for numerous Star Wars projects (including Count Dooku, Cad Bane and Ziro the Hutt) and other cartoons. At the park, he plays the Ghost Host introduction for The Nightmare Before Christmas inspired Haunted Mansion Holiday. He also provided a lot of Paul Frees-like for Disneyland Park – like in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction as the pirate guide and Pooped Pirate, he is Grumpy on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction, and almost every voice in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Fans would have a chance to meet Pete Renaday and Corey Burton personally along with another Disney voice actor Mark Silverman in the upcoming Halloween convention ScareLA. In the Disembodied Spirits: Voice Over Experts, Brady MacDonald from the LA Times will have a chat with the three Disney voice talents about their experience in the industry.
Academy award winning actress Dame Judi Dench, best known for role as M in the James Bond films from 1995 to 2012 is also featured in some of Disney’s attractions – she has voiced Mrs. Calloway in Home on the Range, and is the current narrator of Spaceship Earth. She also has a voice cameo as a Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, playing the role of the wealthy woman.
We all know Phylicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, but did you know that she also plays the Dino Institute’s motherly Dr. Marsh, who prepares visitors for their journey on the Time Rovers. Joining Rashad in Dino Institute is another familiar television face, Wallace Langham. Langham is David Hodges, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’s lab technician. In the Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur attraction though, Langham is the mischievous Dr. Seeker.
Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser, M.D. and of course How I Met Your Mother fame, shares his voice as the current host of the California Screamin’ attraction at Disney California Adventure. He also made guest appearances on Take Two with Phineas and Ferb and in the Disney film The Muppets (2011).
There are a lot more familiar actors both on-screen and off screen, who have played a role or more in various Disney attractions, so the next time you visit The Happiest Place on Earth, listen out for the many park voices and make a guessing game out it… enjoy!