These Disneyland Movies Will Bring the Park Into Your Home.

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One of the most pervasive thoughts I’ve had in the last four months is a few simple words: I miss Disneyland. Like many cultural institutions, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California has been closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even though some parts of our popular culture are restarting, or are set to restart, Disneyland’s doors remain closed.

This time last month, though, that wasn’t the plan. On June 10, the Disney Parks Blog announced that Disneyland was reopening on July 17, a banner day in more ways than one. It wouldn’t just be a perceived return to normalcy for American culture; July 17 is the anniversary of Disneyland Park’s opening day. This year doesn’t just mark any old anniversary, but the park’s 65th. Yet due to the increase in coronavirus cases in California (and in plenty of other states around the nation), the fact that California Governor Gavin Newsom never approved the reopening plan, and the passionate outcry from thousands of Disneyland Cast Members that reopening was unsafe, Disney postponed the reopening.

So Disneyland isn’t just going through an extended closure – for the first time since its opening, the park is closed on its own anniversary. (Prior to the pandemic, Disneyland had only been closed on a literal handful of occasions, all grim parts of American history such as the day of JFK’s assassination and September 11, 2001.) For those of us who enjoy the Disney theme parks in all their imperfections, whether we visit every day, every year, or once every few years, the sight of an empty Disneyland is perverse and depressing.

So, again: I miss Disneyland. Maybe you do too. Since we can’t be at Disneyland today, the best we can do is replicate the experience. Now, you can go to YouTube and find ride videos for basically everything at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. But I want to do something slightly better and different. Here, I’m going to highlight one film or TV show, and one piece of theme-park music, per land at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure (which may not be celebrating an anniversary today, but why not?). I hope you’re a Disney+ subscriber, because you can find all the films below there. Let’s go.

One of the most pervasive thoughts I’ve had in the last four months is a few simple words: I miss Disneyland. Like many cultural institutions, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California has been closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even though some parts of our popular culture are restarting, or are set to restart, Disneyland’s doors remain closed.

This time last month, though, that wasn’t the plan. On June 10, the Disney Parks Blog announced that Disneyland was reopening on July 17, a banner day in more ways than one. It wouldn’t just be a perceived return to normalcy for American culture; July 17 is the anniversary of Disneyland Park’s opening day. This year doesn’t just mark any old anniversary, but the park’s 65th. Yet due to the increase in coronavirus cases in California (and in plenty of other states around the nation), the fact that California Governor Gavin Newsom never approved the reopening plan, and the passionate outcry from thousands of Disneyland Cast Members that reopening was unsafe, Disney postponed the reopening.

So Disneyland isn’t just going through an extended closure – for the first time since its opening, the park is closed on its own anniversary. (Prior to the pandemic, Disneyland had only been closed on a literal handful of occasions, all grim parts of American history such as the day of JFK’s assassination and September 11, 2001.) For those of us who enjoy the Disney theme parks in all their imperfections, whether we visit every day, every year, or once every few years, the sight of an empty Disneyland is perverse and depressing.

So, again: I miss Disneyland. Maybe you do too. Since we can’t be at Disneyland today, the best we can do is replicate the experience. Now, you can go to YouTube and find ride videos for basically everything at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. But I want to do something slightly better and different. Here, I’m going to highlight one film or TV show, and one piece of theme-park music, per land at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure (which may not be celebrating an anniversary today, but why not?). I hope you’re a Disney+ subscriber, because you can find all the films below there. Let’s go.

2. ADVENTURELAND

Film: Normally, I’d point you to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is an incredible film. But since it’s not available on the Disney+ streaming service, I’ll stick to the themes of the jungle with the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book. This animated classic is really the last hurrah of Walt Disney, who passed away months before the film’s release. Though he had some level of oversight on the early production of The AristocatsThe Jungle Book marked the end of his true connection with the animated fare released under his name. The story of the man-cub Mowgli is, like Adventureland itself, both beautiful and problematic, mixing white culture with a perceived exotic flair. The animation is gorgeous and colorful, the music is alluring, and some of the songs are true bangers.

Music: To each their own, but if I want to hear something that will evoke the sensations of Adventureland (the strangest, most compact, problematic, and yet thrilling land in the original Disney theme park), I put on “Moonlight Time in Old Hawaii”, composed by Disney Legend George Bruns. The slinky, seductive strains that Bruns and his fellow musicians play throughout the 36-minute album (many of the tracks can be heard in Adventureland, including the title track) evoke a soothing sense of the exotic. Listen to this album, and you’ll be instantly transported to a place where the cultures of Hawaii, Africa, and Asia butt up against each other with a strange cohesion.