Theme Park dialogue has a reputation for being, well, terrible. It’s corny and dumb. Or just perfunctory. “Please keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. Take small children by the hand and hold on to all personal belongings…” After a while, it starts to sound like the adults on the Peanuts TV show.
But Disney doesn’t ever settle for perfunctory. After all, they treat everything like it’s a story — a movie you’ve stepped into. As a result, there is some truly wonderful dialogue heard throughout the park. Don’t believe me? Here are my favorite lines spoken throughout Walt Disney World.
10. “No, wait, it gets even weirder. Some person I don’t even know reminds me there’s no eating, drinking, smoking, or flash photography in my dream.” Ellen Degeneres from Universe of Energy
This ride gets a lot of hate, but I find it delightfully witty and entertaining. This line, especially, makes me lol every time. It happens at the end of the pre show, when the music is swelling and you’re preparing to go back in time with Ellen and Bill Nye the Science Guy…then the music abruptly cuts out as Ellen interrupts to deliver this line. Obligingly, the cast member on duty drones “There is no drinking, smoking, or flash photography in Ellen’s dream” whilst Ellen makes faces in the direction of the cast member. Clever. Very clever.
9.“Do you know what that is? It’s the back side of water!” Skipper from The Jungle Cruise
Corny but classic. I don’t care what you say, this baby never gets old.
8. “I almost bounced right out of the ride!” -Tigger in The Many Adventurers of Winnie the Pooh
Clearly, I love fourth wall jokes. This is another great one that’s completely unexpected and perfectly timed. Plus, he says it while your ride vehicle is actually bouncing along with him! So you’re already prone to giggle.
7. “Dead men tell no tales.” Pirates of the Caribbean
I really miss the skull and crossbones animatronic you could see uttering this in the previous incarnation of the ride. But with or without it, it’s an amazing line. Threatening, somewhat creepy, and utterly epic.
6. “Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time. And for a brief moment, we have been among its many passengers.” Jeremy Irons on Spaceship Earth
I debated including this because, while the line still exists, it’s not as good in its current incarnation. In the most recent revamp they fired poor Jeremy Irons and inserted Judi Dench. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dame Judi (If you haven’t seen Skyfall, rent it now). But the way they had her read the new Spaceship Earth script sounds more like a hooked-on-phonics book than an epic journey. When Jeremy Irons said this line at the start of the ride, I got chills. I could tell we were going on a grand journey together, Scar and I. Now, with Judi, I just feel like I’m sitting in on a kindergarten class. No, I will not thank the Phoenicians, Judi! Ah well, it still remains a great line.
5. Blowing Out the Flame in Illuminations, Reflections of Earth
I don’t know if this technically counts as a line, but it’s my list and I say it does! After the standard introduction of the fireworks spectacle from Epcot’s deep-throated narrator, he makes a noise like he’s blowing out a candle, and then all the fires on the giant torches around the seven seas lagoon go out. It tingles me.
4. “Your cadaverous palor portrays a sense of foreboding, almost as if you sense a disquieting metamorphosis.” -Ghost Host in The Haunted Mansion
Paul Frees is a god. He voiced the Ghost Host as well as many other well known characters, including the Pillsbury Doughboy. Talk about a large acting range. Honestly, it was really difficult for me to pick just one line from this ride. The whole thing is beautifully narrated and perfectly sets the tone for haunting fun. But this line is my absolute favorite. It takes place in the pre-show room, right before the room starts “stretching.” I think the antiquated words are what make this line so effective. They makes the line thoroughly transformative and even slightly off-putting.
3. “This, as you may recognize, is a maintenance service elevator still in operation, waiting for you. We invite you, if you dare, to step aboard because in tonight’s episode, you are the star. And this elevator travels directly to…The Twilight Zone.” Rod Sterling, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
This line freaks me out. Every. Single. Time. It gave me nightmares as a child. I honestly can’t think of any line that more effectively or accurately sets the mood the designers want you to have. It gives you goosebumps and makes you think about turning back. But at the same time, you know it’s really too late. Rod Serling just dared me to get on his murderous elevator ride, how can I say no?
2. Absolutely Every Line in the Muppets 3D Show and Preshow
Okay this one is definitely cheating. But honestly, if I didn’t group all of these together then the whole list would just be lines from Muppets 3D. The show is just brilliant. And hey, who does one-liners better than the Muppets? Correct answer: no one. Some favorites:
“It’s a salute to all nations but mostly America.”
“We invited distinguished scientists from all over the world. Unfortunately, none of them showed up.”
“You are not Mickey Mouse, you are a rat.” “Rat, schmat. Besides, they’re tourists, what do they know?”
“Will you stop this foolishness?” “What foolishness would you like to see?”
“We surrender, we surrender!”
I’ll stop now, but I could go on and on. This show is so good I actually want to hug it. Disney, don’t ever take it away from me!
And the number one line in all of Walt Disney World is….
1. “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas.” The Monorail
Yes, the best line in all of Disney World is one of the standard, boring theme park lines I discussed in the beginning. But this line has become a phenomenon among disney-philes. There’s t-shirts, hats, and coffee mugs sold touting the phrase. Why? Because it’s the line that tells you you’re heading to Disney World! You’re on the monorail, this super cool high-tech transportation system devised by Walt himself, and it’s taking you to the most magical place on earth. Talk about positive associations. This is pure Pavlov’s dog; I hear the phrase and I open my wallet – I mean I get happy. I don’t feel right if I go a trip without hearing these words. Maybe no literary wit was applied, but it’s the line I love most in the World.
Honorable Mention: “Don’t worry, I got you a really fast car.” Manager from Rock n’ Roller Coaster
What are your favorite lines spoken in Disney World?