One of the many things that Disney is known for is award-winning music and performance. They’ve brought this aspect of entertainment to the parks, in the form of stage shows, fireworks displays, parades, and more. Not every performance is firmly scheduled or restricted to a specific building or stage, however. Walt Disney World is home to a host of talented performers. They showcase their skills throughout the parks, and beyond, bringing Disney’s musical magic straight to you - often when you least expect it.
Street performers are a fixture at Walt Disney World - singing, dancing, and playing a vast array of musical instruments. They’ll impress and amuse, and perhaps even encourage a dance. These performances are sometimes scheduled, but appearances and locations are not always strictly established very far in advance, and they can’t be reserved through the Fastpass+ system. Street performers provide that element of amusement you didn’t quite count on - the kind that can best be found by simply stumbling upon it. In Disney-speak, this is known as “Streetmosphere”.
1. Cultural performances at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is home to the famed Festival of the Lion King stage show, but this is only the start of the engaging performances within Walt Disney World’s youngest park. Teeming with culturally enchanting experiences, Animal Kingdom also boasts the largest variety of musical entertainment within the resort.
The Africa area of the park promotes the sounds of the Congo region with performances by Burudika and the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe. Burudika is a high-energy band combining traditional rhythms with modern pop-rock accompaniment in an all-out street party. The Tam Tam Drummers mix percussion and time-honored, native dance to lure guests into a lively display where audience participation is more than encouraged.
The transcendental tunes of the Chakranadi duo can be heard wafting through the air of the Asia section of Animal Kingdom. With only a stringed sitar and tabla drum, the mesmerizing music of India flavors the atmosphere with an exotic intensity.
Rounding out the Animal Kingdom musical displays are the Viva Gaia Street Band, and Gi-Tar Dan. Viva Gaia’s vibrant Caribbean performances can be found rolling into Discovery Island on a mobile stage - perfect for a jam-along street party. Gi-Tar Dan is a solo act, whose strolling sing-song storytelling strikes a chord at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Dan is known for his impressive improvisational skills, writing and performing original, personalized songs on-the-spot.
2. JAMMitors at Epcot
Custodial staff are among the most frequently encountered Cast Members at any given Disney park. After all, a resort of this size demands an attentive clean-up crew. But the Epcot JAMMitors put the tools of the custodial trade to brilliant new use in their STOMP-styled musical comedy routine.
The JAMMitors can be found sweeping guests into a frenzy on the pathways of Future World-East at Epcot. While performance is abundant in the World Showcase portion of the park, this is the only live performance in Future World. Dressed in standard Disney custodial costumes, this trio of percussion masters create foot-stomping tunes with garbage cans, pails, dustpans, toilet plungers, and other unlikely “instruments”, interjecting humorous exchanges and one-liners along the way.
The JAMMitors love to get into the spirit of Epcot’s special events, too! During the Flower and Garden Festival, they appear as the Jammin’ Gardeners and the Food and Wine Festival ushers in the Jammin’ Chefs.
3. Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom
Main Street USA offers so much more than shops, parades, and the ridiculously tempting aromas of the bakery. Throughout the day, the Citizens of Main Street deliver spirited song, dance, and comedy routines along this bustling pathway. Horse-drawn carriages and trolleys present period performers, along with strolling acts such as the world-renowned Dapper Dans barbershop quartet and Main Street Philharmonic marching band. Performances and costumes are themed to the season, and change frequently.
Dixieland, swing, ragtime, and of course, Disney classics are among the styles of the Main Street sounds in both instrumental and a capella. Aside from the pianist at Casey’s Corner, the Main Street performers can appear anywhere along Main Street to enhance the turn-of-the-century atmosphere of the area. You can also catch the Main Street Philharmonic and other strolling musicians appearing in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland.
4. Downtown Disney street performers
The musical performances are not limited to the theme parks themselves. Downtown Disney is a haven for impromptu melodic displays, and the best part is - admission is free. The Front Porch bar and stage at House of Blues offers live entertainment nightly, but as you wander the length of the complex, from West Side to the Marketplace, you’re likely to encounter any number of solo acts, duos, bands, and even youth dance troupes.
Much like the restaurants and shops that form the backbone of Downtown Disney, the musicians contributing their talents each seem to lend their own unique flavor to the environment. From covers of Nickelback to Jimmy Buffet and Ravi Shankar - you never know what will be on the playlists. Some even leave room for guest requests, so be ready with a few suggestions! During the holiday season, strolling carolers join in the area’s festivities.