Voices of Liberty debut and the Carnation Café returns to Disneyland

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disneyland Resort

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Published on June 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm with 33 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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33 Comments

Comments for Voices of Liberty debut and the Carnation Café returns to Disneyland are now closed.

  1. Love the look of the new Carnation Cafe. Like that they still kept some of the Umbrellas in the outside area. I was afraid it was all going to be covered.

    Are these the same performers from Voices of Liberty at EPCOT or just the same show?

    • “Are these the same performers from Voices of Liberty at EPCOT or just the same show?”

      I spoke with one of the singers (who had been a big Voices fan and was thrilled to be selected for this CA cast) and she said one of the singers from Florida came out here. I got to meet her and told her my long connection with Voices and founder Derric Johnson (going back to 1974). I am very familiar with Derric’s arrangements and presentation style having worked for him in Nashville before he started Voices. This cast was excellent! They got all the little details right, there is some extraordinary talent in this group, and IMO, they could perform in the rotunda at American Adventure with no problem.

      We were fortunate to have all 12 cast members–I assume that there will be 8 singers each day, just like WDW. They did a patriotic medley in front of the Opera House (which I understand they will continue until they are certain that they can attract an audience). Inside they opened with This Land Is Your Land, and selections included Shenedoah, Fifty Nifty United States, and God Bless America for a finale.

      Two bits of trivia: I came up with the original costume concept for Voices of Liberty in college in preparation for the US Bicentennial. It was basically a muted red, white, and blue palette with each costume representing an American archetype. But I’m thrilled with the much grander costumes they are creating today. Derric heard me describe this concept one time at my family’s home in 1977 and remembered it when he created Voices in 1982. Believe me, the Disney costume department did a much better job than my college Madrigal Choir ever could have! Derric has a gift similar to Walt Disney in that he gathers ideas wherever he goes and combines and adapts them in brilliant ways.

      In addition, I introduced him to the song Fifty Nifty when his previous group Re’Generation performed at WDW in 1975. At that time I was working at WDW and was founding President of the WDW employee choir. We were rehearsing that number for our appearance on the castle stage that Easter. He put it on the next patriotic album of Re’Gen and later included it in the repertoire of Voices.

      It’s hard to believe that so many of my friends who were in the original Voices cast are now grandparents!

      My favorite Disney memory was when Re’Generation performed on the Castle stage at WDW for the Presidents’ Day week-long festivities in 1977 and I got to do the PA announcements live in my best Jack Wagner voice. I’ll never have a bigger thrill than getting to say “Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls…” live in front of the castle.

      Derric’s work with Re’Gen was incredibly important to my family for many years. Seeing Voices at Disneyland today was a great trip down memory lane. Make a point to catch them at the Opera House this summer!

      • I am really looking forward to hearing this group. Thank you for this background and amazing story. I have a friend with a beautiful voice and the experience to do this who would have tried out except she is expecting her first child. She is looking forward to hearing them also.

      • Your connection with the voices of liberty is so cool! I am also ecstatic that the voices of liberty are finally here at disneyland, and i hope they are here to stay permanently (i heard that as of right now they are only here until the end of summer. I’m sure this is to gauge interest in the group to see if they are popular enough to keep permanently). I am a huge fan of the voices of liberty. I have all their cd’s and have sung many of their songs in my high school choir. In fact, in a choir trip we took to walt disney world, my high school choir and myself were able to perform a concert inside the rotunda of the american pavilion and sang their arrangement of “this land” with a few of the members of the voices of liberty in the audience recording our performance!!! it was an unforgettable experience. I am thoroughly impressed with how this group sounds.

  2. Fried pickles! I can’t wait to try the Carnation Cafe version!

  3. No Meatloaf Stack?!?!?!? Carnation Cafe is DEAD to me!

    • Have to at least go there once to complain that there’s no Meatloaf Stack. Otherwise they have no way of knowing you’re displeased. :p

      Also, the Meatloaf Stack has been a shadow of it’s former self for a while now unfortunately. It used to be the best thing ever though. :(

  4. I am so glad to see a Vegan Burger on the menu. I can’t wait to head to Disneyland to try it!

  5. I was so jealous to get a call from Fishbulb who was having lunch at the new Carnation Cafe today. He loved it. I had a disgusting burger from the Wendy’s drive-through.

    Beautiful photos Andy. The Voices of Liberty are a wonderful touch. Lets hope they help bring in some new crowds to Lincoln.

    • I am i understanding correctly they do one song to bait you into the theater and then do a pre-show prior to Great Moments with Mr lincoln starting. If this doesn’t bring people in , why cant they just sing outside

      • Well, we know that Voices has a huge following at WDW. They would have to for Disney to maintain this level of financial commitment. With one full cast year-round and a second shift during peak season, we’re probably looking at a million-dollar commitment there. Over 30 years that comes to over $30 million. That’s not chump-change around a Disney theme park.

        Be realistic–eight people singing acapella on the sidewalk has a limited range. On the stage of the Lincoln theater, they filled the space with sound. If they continue the “teaser” at the entrance, it will be to ensure that they draw people in–a very well-proven technique in entertainment for centuries. It’s a lot cheaper than commissioning marketing studies to assess just how much popularity Voices has West of the Mississippi.

        I’m thrilled that they are trying this. As great a show as Mr. Lincoln is, it hasn’t been drawing the crowds. I think this is a good way to “plus up” the attraction. YMMV.

    • Hey now, Wendy’s burgers have gotten better Dusty :)

    • Silly Dusty, Wendy’s burgers have been lacking for a while. Now their spicy chicken sandwich that’s pretty good though :D

  6. I can’t thank all of the contributors enough for all the updates and wonderful pictures of both parks. The quality of work we are seeing is amazing. I can’t wait to get back in September. I will arrive a day ahead of my family so I can spend all the time I want taking in all the details. For everyone who goes to the Grand Opening of Cars Land and Buena Vista Steet I hope you have a wonderful day!

  7. Thank you for posting this. I have never been to Florida and was curious about the Voices of Liberty. I really appreciate having this opportunity to hear their work so soon after their CA debut.

  8. OSCAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Nice! Did I miss somewhere why that one one blind is shut? Kind of drives me nuts and really detracts IMO.

    • I never heard anything offical about the blind being shut. But when you look close at it, you can see it’s an AC/exhuast vent of some sort that is behind the shutter.

  10. PB&J Soda!!! Well that will be interesting to try

  11. As I feared, my favorite, the steak sandwich, is gone from the menu. No shock there. I’m more surprised to see a fried chicken option I’ll have to try. Do they still serve breakfast?

    Happy to see Oscar back!

  12. A vegan burger! Woohoo! Lately Disney has been wonderful about getting vegetarian options into the parks. Between this and the soy crumble cone in Car’s Land, I’m pretty darn excited to go eat!

    I’m also happy that dinners at the Carnation Cafe have the option of sitting inside now. I know Walt’s vision was to allow people to people-watch as they ate, but on the same hand, others can people watch you eating your lunch… Which made my mother and I rather uncomfortable last Christmas. This is a welcomed change.

    • I, too, agree that Disney’s choice to add more vegan & vegetarian options is welcome! I wish Carthay had some though.

      I can’t wait to visit the renewed Carnation Café … I used to work at the former New Century complex. ;)

  13. Both the vegan and green chile burgers sound great. Missing the chicken pot pie; that really should come back ASAP.

    Voice of Liberty – I would think their main performance should be in the Lincoln lobby, not up on the stage. That way, many more guests get to hear them.

  14. THANKS yet again AND! I’ve heard the Voices of Liberty at EPCOT. I like them, and I look forward to hearing them at Disneyland this summer.

    That said, they remind me of what a relative once told me about a cult-like religion, “They don’t blink often enough.” The Voices of Liberty are certainly unapologetically upbeat like some 80s Christian rock bands, or Up With People. I can hear them smiling while they sing, I fact I can hear Mary Lou Retton & Magic Johnson having a smile-off. A woman’s voice floats above some songs line a mawkish parody of Disney. I’d be entertained if they performed a Revolutionary War song, or if they performed “Two Brothers” from The American Adventure. Or “Old Man River,” or “America” from West Side Story, or “15 Miles on the Erie Canal.” [Please add better suggestions, especially if you're critical of mine. I'm rushed. ] The clip reminded me of the Simpsons 80s Superbowl half-time show parody, “Hurray for Everything!” It’s sunny here in S. California, but this isn’t central Florida. A little thoughtful darkness & reality might make their excellent, more-cheerful tunes something to be even happier about. No light without darkness.

    • AndY! How could I have messed up the name under Woody’s boot?

    • the voices of liberty are somewhat limited in what they sing, as they have a set repertoire of songs to choose from. The songs they sing are limited by the composer who composes the songs for the voices of liberty. The voices of liberty perform songs only arranged by the composer who founded the group, derric johnson. Although songs like two brothers and erie canal are not part of their repertoire, they do have an arrangement of old man river that they sing, plus many many more songs that I’m sure you heard performed when you saw them at epcot. However, unless new songs are composed for them, they cannot at random sing whatever song you ask them to sing, unless the song you request is one that was already arranged for them to learn.

  15. Last correction: line =s like.
    Sorry I can’t edit directly on my original post.