Disneyland entertainment in 1996.


Disneyland Band on May 26, 1996.

If you visited Disneyland in 1996, you might have caught some of these acts. Some are still performing, like the Disneyland Band. You’d still find them giving concerts on Main Street, marching to the castle, or performing on the Mark Twain, though today’s incarnation is a much more hip and edgy high energy group compared to the traditional band of yesterland.

There is also still a ragtime piano player at Coca-Cola Corner. In the 1990s, it was Rod Miller. He was loved by the entire internet.

Rod Miller on August 12, 1996.


The mobile piano, on May 21, 1996.

You might even catch some mobile piano playing before a parade. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but I wonder how you remember to play ragtime and steer and peddle at the same time!

And I wonder what happened to this contraption…

The Tomorrowland Terrace stage was (and still is?) used for live music, but I think I took this picture because of the security guy that was there keeping an eye on those rowdy teenagers.

Tomorrowland Terrace music on August 12, 1996.

The Bayou Brass Band was a longtime favorite of New Orleans Square. You could even buy their CDs in the park.

The song that stood out the most to me was their version of Lowrider by the group War.

They added so much to the atmosphere of the area, and they were apparently an outside band just hired to perform there (unlike other offerings that are created in-house and don’t have official members).

There was also a (thankfully) short-lived fad of percussion groups, likely inspired by the success of the show Stomp around this time. Disneyland had their own mini-version. Percussionists, dressed as custodial staff, would be pushing around trash cans. They would gather and do a short drum performance. I used to see them in Tomorrowland all the time, so I was calling them the “Tomorrowland Trash-It Authority” (in reference to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at Magic Kingdom in Florida). But, as I look through my old photos, I see they were not restricted to that land. Here they are on Main Street U.S.A.:

August 15, 1996.

And it wasn’t just the lanes that could be alive with entertainment. Did you ever catch the “radio broadcast” from the rooftops in Adventureland?

May 23, 1996.

KNGO radio… Congo! And they were dressed like area cast members.

And lastly, who remembers Lagniappe the mime?

Lagniappe on August 18, 1996.

Lagniappe was a fan favorite and you’d find him interacting with guests and riding his unicycle throughout New Orleans Square. Disneyland eventually let him go, and the internet was very sad. If you miss him, you can drop by his page at the Mark Wenzel website. I had plans to interview Mr. Wenzel on my Park Hopping Podcast many years ago, but never got around to it. It would have been fun to hear the mime speak.

Until next time…

The Spirit of Pocahontas in 1996.

Just down from it’s a small world was the Fantasyland Theater, home of The Spirit of Pocahontas. (Be sure to see the Yesterland article for all the details.)

The Spirit of Pocahontas on August 15, 1996.

This was one of the stage shows that was also replicated at Walt Disney World. Their version was at the Disney/MGM Studios, though it doesn’t look like I have any photos of it. It was Huntchback of Notre Dame by the time I took photos there. Regardless, I think I preferred the Disneyland version since it made use of a trap door in the stage to let characters “appear” rather than having them run on/off stage.

But I digress.

The theater, back then, was far less themed than the one that Disneyland has today:

Theater control booth on August 15, 1996.

I don’t even think I really wanted to “waste” my time and watch a show, but I was online friends with a show technician that was working the show that day and I wanted to say hi. He was one of the guys that would be up on all that scaffolding running lights and such. I wonder if his position was eventually replaced by computer-controlled lighting…

It also had fire…

The Spirit of Pocahontas on August 15, 1996.

The theater would later get updated and become home to a Snow White show. Remind me to talk about Disneyland, food, and that Snow White show when I get to it. I heard some really neat stories about it.

Until next time…

Main Street Electrical Parade in 1996.

Ever wonder what a nighttime parade made up of thousands of sparkling lights would look like to a 1996 digital camera?

Neither did I, but let’s find out.

Here’s the Main Street Electrical Parade as seen though the lens of a first-generation digital camera:

MSEP on August 14, 1996.
MSEP on August 14, 1996.

I’d share more, but I think you get the idea: It looks bad on a 1996 digital camera.

But, back then, unless you had a good camera and knew how to use it, and a scanner, this was about the only way you’d have seen it other than in person. My Kodak Disc camera photos of the Florida version of the parade in 1982 were even worse.

It’s really sad that this parade was leaving the park forever in 1996, but at least there was something new and shiny to look forward to:

Light Magic sign on August 14, 1996.

I can’t wait to see what Light Magic looks like through the lens of a first generation digital camera.

Until next time…