The sights! The sounds! The smells! The snacks! If there's one thing Disney and Universal's parks do well, it's to engrain themselves in your mind; to act as the backdrop to timeless memories. It's no accident that Disney and Universal's best attractions are the ones that become evergreen classics; the kinds of rides you can't to get back to and to share with others. And when designers' quest for memorable moments meet the magic of storywriters and voice artists, some of the most memorable dialogue lines on Earth are born.
Our challenge to you? Read each of these lines in your head… Chances are, the words will expand off the screen and come to life in your mind, fully formed with accents, tone, and tempo in tact! Theme park fans can probably imitate each of these 16 lines with surprising precision. If that’s true for you, count yourself among those who have fallen for the hard work of story writers and voice artists that bring these iconic lines to life.
1. “Dead. Men. Tell. No. Tales.”
There’s perhaps no classic dark ride as beloved as Pirates of the Caribbean… and for good reason! The 1967 classic at Disneyland is the final attraction that Walt himself shaped from beginning to end. Even though he didn’t live to see the ride completed, his daughters often responded that he did see it…! The final attraction, after all, was exactly as he’d envisioned!
Though it’s the ride’s character-filled second half that features many of its “postcard” shots, it’s the ride’s first half (designed in part by Disney Legend Claude Coats) that sets the tone to make it possible, with visitors drifting through an atmospheric bayou and plantation as fireflies glow. In a region of darkness on the outskirts of the swamp, a skull appears overhead, uttering warnings of the squalls and boarders that lie ahead as an ancient voice calls out, “Dead men tell no tales” - an eerie, rhythmic, breathless cry like a fog horn that underscores the caverns that follow...
2. “Tonight could be the most dangerous night of my life… and yours!”
… “be careful! … Nice shades!”
When Universal’s Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, it felt like the park propelled the industry into the 21st century. Packed with technological attractions and placemaking meant to show that Universal could match Disney beat-for-beat, the park’s magnum opus was certainly the Modern Marvel: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Born of Universal’s lucky theme park licensing of Marvel, the attraction is still considered one of the best modern dark rides ever.
Just as guests enter into the Daily Bugle’s offices, the villainous Sinister Syndicate attacks New York, stealing the Statue of Liberty. With his normal reporters having cleared out in fear, Editor in Chief J. Jonah Jameson recruits us to take to the streets in a new, all-terrain, news gathering vehicle called a SCOOP to track down the story. Back in the darkened alleys of the Big Apple, Spider-Man arrives with a bang, offering spectacularly sound advice (and a compliment on our 3D glasses) before swinging off to track down the bad guys. It’s a line with memorable intonation and a pretty iconic gesture to match… what a way to kick off a masterpiece attraction.
3. “This here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”
“Howdy partners! For your safety, remain seated with your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the train—and be sure to watch your kids. If any of you folks are wearin’ hats or glasses, best remove ’em—’cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”
As any fan of Disney Parks will tell you, sometimes it’s the smallest details that make the biggest impact. It’s likely that when Big Thunder Mountain opened in Disneyland in 1979 and Magic Kingdom in 1980, few would’ve assumed that assigning a raspy prospector voice to the pre-recorded safety spiel would become such an iconic line. And yet, forty years later, the ever-repeating cry has become a souvenir mainstay and a moniker associated with the runaway mine train coasters.
4. “Welcome to Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. You’re in for a real treat!”
When Carousel of Progress debuted in 1964, it wasn’t in a Disney Park at all! In fact, the famous revolving theater show was developed for General Electric’s pavilion at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair! The innovative ride system’s absolutely massive capacity could easily keep up with World’s Fair crowds, ushering thousands of guests per hour into the wonders of “Progressland” and the ease of life brought about by GE’s products and services.
After the Fair’s closure, the ride was relocated to Disneyland in a new, custom-built Carousel Theater. It remained there until GE asked for its relocation to the then-new Disney World, where international crowds (rather than repeat-business locals) offered a chance to spread GE’s product placement message further. As a result, Carousel of Progress has been playing at Magic Kingdom since 1975 (with only occasional disruptions). Curiously, that makes it technically hold the record for the most showings of any stage production in the history of American theater! The lines spoken at the show’s opening are, for fans, a heartwarming indication of the simplicity and ease of the singalong show to follow… truly timeless in every way (a few needed updates excepted).
But for Disney fans, what’s most important is that Walt named it his personal favorite, stating that it should never cease operation. We traced Walt’s personal connection to the Carousel in its own standalone feature, Modern Marvels: Carousel of Progress. But it’s telling that the show is one of only two attractions at Disney Parks to bear his name as a prefix. The other…? Read on...
5. “My siestas are getting chorter and chorter!”
Another Modern Marvel: The Enchanted Tiki Room resides in a particularly important place in Disney history… It was the first ever installation of Audio-Animatronics technology. To audiences of the 1960s, the idea of Audio-Animatronics was so unbelievable, Disney famously positioned an Audio-Animatronic bird outside of the attraction to entice guests in… until folks stopping to gawk at the macaw clogged the paths and necessitated its removal!
Inside, every second of the show is an astounding, spectacular, and ultra-classic throwback to the simpler days of the “Tiki Craze” that swept the country, and of the “magic” that Imagineering created under Walt’s guidance. Though much of the show is in song (including the Sherman Brothers’ famed “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room,”) the back-and-forth between the four macaw emcees who lead the show leads to some of the most iconic lines of dialogue in Disney Parks. “Wait, wait! We forgot to wake up the glee club!”
And speaking of birds...
6. “Don’t tell him, Carlos! Don’t be chicken!”
Yes, a second instance of Pirates of the Caribbean makes our list… and for good reason! Though fans today often celebrate rides that turn guests into active participants rather than mere observers, it’s the latter that Walt had in mind with Pirates. X Atencio recalled to D23:
We mocked it up on a soundstage in full size and we pushed Walt through it. We rigged up a cart that moved about the same pace the boat would and we moved him through and we had the Auctioneer up here and he said, ‘What do ye offer this buxom wench?’ and on the other side a pirate yells, ‘Six bottles of rum, etcetera, etcetera.’ But it was hard to hear, and I said, ‘I’m sorry Walt you can’t hear stuff too clearly.’ And he said, ‘If you go to a cocktail party you tune in on one conversation, and then you tune in on that one. Every time they come through they’ll see something new.’ And I thought, ‘Why the heck didn’t I think of that?
And that’s the magic of Pirates - that guests are drifting among conversations, catching bits and pieces of the pirates’ plundering. In one of the most memorable, the pirates seem to have captured the town’s mayor, suspending him inside a well and dipping him repeatedly into the water as they demand information. Only an unnamed woman in a second story window is brave enough to open her window and shout words of encouragement as the mayor surfaces and spits, defying the pirates’ torture and staying silent for more than fifty years.
7. “You seek the future… I will lift the curtain of time. It is your destiny.”
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, a fresh M.O. swept through Disney Parks at the hands of then-new CEO Michael Eisner: the “Ride the Movies” era. Licensing the stories that mattered to modern audiences meant that Disney Parks could become relevant, exciting pieces of pop culture, not just dusty relics aligned to the interests of Walt’s time. Eisner’s partnership with George Lucas produced the Lost Legends: Captain EO, Star Tours, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, and perhaps the most amazing attraction of them all...
When Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye opened in 1995, it obliterated precedents. The larger-than-life off-roading dark ride turned guests into the stars thanks to the use of the EMV technology and a legend cinematic enough to feel pulled from the screen: that the lost temple god Mara offers visitors either timeless youth, earthly riches, or visions of the future… so long as they don’t lock eyes with his stone visage. Dive into the full Modern Marvels: Indiana Jones Adventure feature for the full story, but the booming bass of the god’s invitations are favorite lines of all who’ve heard them.
8. “It’s called, ‘A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly, America.”
Muppet*Vision 3D isn’t just one of the most beloved classics at Walt Disney World; it’s also the last Muppet project to involve legendary creator Jim Henson, who passed away before its 1991 debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally envisioned as just one part of a never-built Possibilityland: Muppet Studios, Henson’s death saw his family pull back many of the licensing deals he’d had in the works, leaving Muppet*Vision the sole attraction to star Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the other generation-defying characters.
Muppet*Vision has played ever since at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (with a briefer showing at Disney California Adventure from 2001 to 2014). And while its time always feels short at the quickly-expanding park, its survival through the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at least seems to bode well for the attraction’s preservation! Though it's endlessly quotable and packed with unforgettable one-liners, one guest favorite must be Sam Eagle’s predictably patriotic grand finale - a “glorious three hour spectacle” crammed into a minute-and-a-half.
9. “Soarin’ to tower: we are ready for takeoff.”
In 2001, Disneyland expanded from a single theme park to a full resort thanks to the opening of the Declassified Disaster: Disney’s California Adventure. The underbuilt and underfunded theme park crashed and burned pretty quickly… except for one soaring success. The Lost Legend: Soarin’ Over California did what Disney does best: combined a marvelous technology with an emotional, musical, and breathtaking experience, sending guests hang-gliding over the Golden State’s many natural wonders. In fact, so varied are the landscapes of California that the ride was duplicated to Epcot (as plain ole "Soarin'") with most Floridian riders likely not realizing they were seeing exclusively Californian sights!
Part of the ride’s inherent charm was the inclusion of an unlikely host: actor and voice artist Patrick Warburton (the voice of Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove and Joe Swanson on Family Guy). The “flight attendant’s” pre-boarding safety video and deadpan delivery feel like remnants of the park’s old identity, but somehow… it works! So much so that when California Adventure’s “Over California” version of the ride was (somewhat nonsensically) upgraded to the new “Around the World” ride film in 2016, fans lamented the impending loss of Patrick… Only to find that, against all odds, the safety video remained untouched (but for editing out “Over California”), leaving the actor’s signature safety spiel and iconic introduction in tact!
10. “Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion....”
There’s perhaps no attraction whose narration is as beloved and iconic as that of the disembodied “Ghost Host” who haunts the lonely corridors of the Haunted Mansion. With unforgettable dialogue written by the acclaimed X Atencio (who also wrote the “Grim, Grinning Ghosts” theme song), only the legendary Paul Frees could add such compelling (and chilling) realism to the storytelling spectre’s voice.
“Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination?”Just about every word uttered by Ghost Host is etched permanently into the minds of Disney Parks fans, up to and including lines as simple as, “Do not pull down on the safety bar. I will lower it for you.”
In fact, we bet you can say it right along with him: “Consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors… which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Of course... there’s always my way.” Of course, even though you can say it along with him doesn’t mean you should - especially at Disneyland (frequented by locals), narrating along with the Ghost Host is one of the things we beg you not to do at Disney Parks.
11. “Time… The ever-flowing river…”
As your boat dips into the churning waters of Jurassic Park River Adventure, the soothing sounds of John Williams’ iconic score begin to drift through the air. Ahead, the massive wooden gates made famous in the film loom among the trees of a tropical forest. “...come with us now to a time before man; when the river flowed through a newborn world and giants walked the Earth. Welcome… to Jurassic Park.”
With a crescendo, the gates peel open, revealing the Ultrasaur Lagoon beyond. It’s an epic, grand, and (for some) emotional return to the park that started it all, made all the more real by the touching narration that so perfectly captures the hopes for the park… before it all goes wrong. And yes, it will go wrong.
When Universal Studios Hollywood upgraded its Jurassic Park: The Ride to align with the much trendier Jurassic World, the first act was recast in its entirety, including a new narration, new music, and a new scene replacing the iconic Jurassic Park doors. While the new experience is certainly more modern, it’s decidedly less timeless, proving just how spectacular the simplicity of the original Jurassic Park was (and still is at Islands of Adventure).
12. “Hurry baaa-ack. Hurry baaa-ack...”
… “be sure to bring your death certificate if you’d like to join us. Make final arrangement now."
Yet another iconic line from the beloved Haunted Mansion is delivered as the ride comes to an end…! It’s the haunting offer of the so-called “Ghostess” deep in the crypt that serves as the attraction’s finale. Unofficially known as “Little Leota,” the character was voiced by Leota Toombs (who serves as the face of the Mansion’s fabled Madame Leota medium… Madame Leota’s voice, interestingly enough, was not provided by Leota Toombs, but by actress Eleanor Audley - also the voice of Cinderella’s Lady Tremaine and Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent).
Disney Legend, animator, and master character creator Marc Davis explained that “Little Leota’s” eerie offer was based on a line in the 1965 dark comedy The Loved One in which a funeral hostess says, “We hope that one day, he may decide to join us.”
13. “Hollywood, 1939…”
… “Amid the glitz and the glitter of a bustling young movie town at the height of its Golden Age, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was a star in its own right; a beacon for the show business elite. Now, something is about to happen that will change all that...”
When the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened in 1994, it represented what some consider a creative height of modern Imagineering. The spectacular dark ride carries guests into a historically haunted Hollywood hotel within which they’re transported into their own episode of the classic 1960s sci-fi anthology, The Twilight Zone. As with all episodes of the beguiling series, it begins with an introduction by series creator, writer, and host Rod Serling.
Unfortunately, Serling himself passed away in 1975, necessitating a worldwide search for a vocal replacement. Voice actor Mark Silverman stepped in with an uncanny imitation (ultimately approved by Serling’s widow, Carol), dubbed over archival footage of Serling. The “lost” Twilight Zone episode viewed in the hotel’s library isn’t just a pre-show… it’s an attraction unto itself, with lines that feel fittingly fifth-dimensional.
14. “We wants the redhead! We wants the redhead!”
Yet another memorable quote comes from Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests would see that "cocktail party" concept on full display yet again when drifting through the Auction scene in the Caribbean town, with the fabled Auctioneer pirate offering "hearty wenches" for brides. The most infamous is a Lost Disney Parks Character... the legendary "Redhead."
The provocative villager being "sold" to the leering pirate invaders earned the memorable chant "We wants the redhead!" for 51 years. Then, in 2018, the latest in an ongoing series of edits to the ride changed the redhead into a pirate herself, kicking off a new chant: "We wants the rum! We wants the rum!" It doesn't quite roll off the tongue...
15. “Some imagination, huh?”
Since 1992, Fantasmic has been the one to beat in Disney’s ever-expanding portfolio of so-called “nighttime spectaculars.” The epic special effects extravaganza begins the moment Mickey falls asleep, following his journey through an abstract dream of good and evil, flashing between classic Disney films as heroes and villains collide. An outrageous, larger-than-life, messy spectacle featuring some of the best music and one of the world’s best Audio-Animatronics, Fantasmic really has no right to be as good as it is. And yet, the long-running show has been playing for decades at Disneyland and even inspired two spin-offs (at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Tokyo DisneySea).
What’s especially interesting about the show is that Mickey doesn’t have much to say at all. In fact, the Mouse is silent but for two lines, and both are among the most impactful of Mickey’s utterances because of it… Especially the final line spoken - “Some imagination, huh?” - may read simple on paper, but it’s paired with one of the greatest physical tricks in Disney’s playbook, the show’s iconic score, and a lasting, emotional, tear-jerking wallop that ends the show with a final, blinding explosion.
16. “Please stand clear of the doors…Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas…”
You knew it would be here, and here it is. Yet another “accidental” admission into the timeless and evergreen playbook of Disney Parks lines, there’s absolutely nothing about the pre-recorded safety spiel that plays aboard the Walt Disney World Monorail that should make it iconic. And yet, fans can imitate the bilingual line with staggering precision. As a result, the “door closing” announcement has risen into the pantheon of not only Disney Parks dialogue, but of public transportation announcements, akin to the voice of Paris’ Metro or New York’s MTA.
But what exactly is it about this perfectly normal safety spiel that’s elevated it to such legendary status? At any given time, you’ll find hundreds of products bearing the safety announcement on unofficial products! Our guess? The phrase has evolved into somewhat of a “secret code” known and appreciated only among those who frequent the Florida property, making it a fun in-joke for Disney World fans.
17. “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.”
Back in the heyday of EPCOT Center, each of Future World's pavilions offered an intelligent, historic, and enormously-scaled dark ride into the industry each celebrated. One-by-one, those Lost Legends have fallen, leaving Spaceship Earth as one of the only remnants of the park's original philosophy. Over its lifetime, four narrators have ferried guests through the history of human communication from the Stone Age to the Internet Age: Vic Perrin (1982-86), Walter Cronkite (1986-92), Jeremy Irons (1992-2007), and Judy Dench (2008 - today). Though fans debate who does it best, each has been iconic and memorable in his or her own way.
Though fans know well to "thank the Phoenicians" for their ability to read and write, the most moving and transformative moment in Spaceship Earth comes as riders become satellites, looking down on a distant blue-and-green marble, considering just how small we really are.
At the semi-annual D23 Expo in 2019, Bob Chapek (Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, and unapologetic IP-fan) announced that Spaceship Earth would undergo yet another update as part of the ongoing redevelopment of Epcot, changing its focus from communication to the much more Disney-friendly topic of "storytelling." Vague concept art seems to signal that Disney characters will be inserted into the epic attraction (though their level of involvement is unknown). That means that this reimagining is probably quite a bit more foundational than any to come before, and it seems inevitable that the ride's climax and its iconic line will disappear for good.
18. “C’mon, everybody… Here we go!”
There's a reason Peter Pan's Flight stands the test of time, even sixty years later. And it might just have something to do with that opening line fans love so well.
Since 1955, Peter Pan's Flight has been the iconic centerpiece dark ride of Fantasyland's classics. The simple and sensational attraction sends guests flying over London, toward the second star to the right, and straight on till morning for an aerial adventure around Neverland. And wonderfully, it all begins with one of the simplest and most memorable provocations in Disney Parks. Peter's invitation leads our flying pirate galleons straight out of the Darling's nursery and along for the ride, at once establishing that we're part of the story this time.