Disneyland uses all kinds of storytelling techniques. These extend far beyond the actual architecture and appearance of every land. Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch all work together to transport visitors between imaginary worlds, which we believe are real.
A key piece of the storytelling puzzle is music. Each land in the park has a distinct sound, whether from soft soundtrack loops playing between attractions, or from live bands and entertainers putting on performances for guests. Today, most of these entertainers stroll across the park, drawing visitors as they move from one end of a land to another. But this wasn’t always the case.
On Opening Day, Main Street proudly boasted its very own bandstand. And further into the park, Frontierland had its own unique stage: the Dixieland Bandstand.
Source: Disney History Institute
The Dixieland Bandstand provided both entertainment, from the famous Strawhatters, and stunning views when performers vacated the stage. The bandstand jetted out over the Rivers of America, and guests could enjoy the shade and scenery in between shows.
Source: Daveland Web
Disneyland’s Strawhatters played nostalgic country, jazz, and folk music, mixing the styles of the western frontier and the South. Thanks to the bandstand’s waterfront location, crowds often gathered in Frontierland, on the Riverboat, and even on Tom Sawyer Island during performances.
Despite the Dixieland Bandstand’s massive popularity, its location ultimately led to its destruction. Disneyland began construction on New Orleans Square in 1961, and Imagineers needed to restructure the waterfront to make space for the new land.
The Dixieland Bandstand may be long gone, but its music survives. The Strawhatters recorded an album, Dixieland at Disneyland. Today’s version of the band, the Straw Hatters, also plays similar songs all along the Rivers of America waterfront.