Odyssey Voices at Walt Disney World

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(Compiled by Stephen Burnett)

When you’re going on vacation to the Walt Disney World of Four Huge Theme Parks and Innumerable Posh Resort Hotels in Orlando, Florida, you might expect to meet the usual Disney characters like Goofy, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Genie, and of course, the very chilly Little Mermaid.

Ah, but might you expect to “meet” people from the world of our favorite radio drama, like Cryin’ Bryan Dern?

Or the Apostle Paul, Shakespeare, Jesus Christ, the Voice of the Burning Bush, Owen from “Pokenberry Falls, RFD - Part II,” or Dr. Blackgaard?

Hey, and what about Chris? Yes, the Chris, the “Welcome to Adventures in Odyssey” Chris?

Then there’s the Deep-Voiced Man, Brian, the announcer for The Last Chance Detectives audio, who does many bit characters for AiO, including the announcer in “BTV: Envy” who says, “Once there was a man named Joe who owned a niiiice little hardware store. ...”

Believe it or not, they’re all at Walt Disney World. I cheated only a little while listing each of those character names, since some of them are played by the same voice actor. (Learn about them elsewhere on this site ...)

But you have to listen for the voices carefully. Of course, I’d hate to spoil all of the surprises by revealing them all here; however, if you’re not going to D-World anytime soon it would be irritating to withhold information too.

So here’s what I’ll do. If your vacation this summer includes Disney World, first I say: yeah, right, good luck, the lines will be as long as those for bread and butter in the former Soviet Union. But if you’re going anyway, I’ll first give a vague list of voices and clues. You can print them out and consult the list as you tour the theme parks — sort of an audio “Where’s Waldo?”

But if you’re not going to D-World, I’ll also reveal in a following list, all of the exact Disney locations and attractions where we heard familiar voices.

(For those of you wanting to seek and find on your own, I can only say: don’t look at the “answer sheet”!)

CASE 1: For Seekers Only

In the Magic Kingdom, can you find:
Owen/The Apostle Paul in Liberty Square?
Corey “Shakespeare, Cryin’ Bryan Dern, God, etc.” Burton in Tomorrowland?
Bryan, the Deep-Voiced “Once There Was a Man Named Joe” Announcer in Tomorrowland?
Chris in Fantasyland?
Owen/The Apostle Paul again in Tomorrowland?
Corey “The New Voice of Captain Hook” Burton at the Cinderella Castle?
Chris at the same Cinderella Castle during the same certain showtimes?
Dr. Blackgaard “around” the whole park? (Hint: he’s doing a Western accent!)

In Epcot Center, can you find:
Corey Burton in The American Adventure as two figures?
Walker Edmiston (Tom Riley and Bart Rathbone) in The American Adventure as one figure?

In Disney-MGM Studios, can you find:
The exit?

In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, can you find:

Corey Burton, again, in the center of the “Tree of Life”?
Any good restrooms?

CASE 2: For Cheaters Only

(True theme-park Odyssey voice seekers, stop reading now!)

In the Magic Kingdom, you can find:
Owen/The Apostle Paul is in Liberty Square, in the Hall of Presidents performance, giving voice to Abraham Lincoln throughout the prelude movie and for the actual animatronic president.

Corey “Shakespeare, Cryin’ Bryan Dern, God, etc.” Burton in Tomorrowland gives you pre-ride safety instructions at the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. (But no, that’s not him repeating the instructions en Español.)

Brian, the Deep-Voiced “Once There Was a Man Named Joe” Announcer in Tomorrowland does miscellaneous messages throughout the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride.
Chris is in Fantasyland at the Snow White’s Scary Adventures ride, lending audio antagonism to — who else? — the Wicked Witch/Queen! (Suggested quote to repeat during your exit from this ride: “Ding dong! The Wicked and Mean and Generally Not Very Nice Woman is gone!”)
Owen/The Apostle Paul is again heard in Tomorrowland throughout the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride: “Welcome back to Rocket-Tower Plaza. … Come, rejoin us, and believe in the promise of tomorrow!”
Corey Burton voices Captain Hook, as he did in the Peter Pan movie sequel, during the “Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration” Show in front of the Cinderella Castle. (This show is especially liable to change throughout the months, but it ran in May 2004.)
Chris voices the evil Witch/Queen again during the Cinderella Castle show, doing her sweet and charming Wicked and Mean and Generally Not Very Nice Woman pitch again. (At some points, though, her Chris voice is very clear!)

Dr. Blackgaard is the country-western accented recorded voice pointing out the sights as you ride “around” the theme park on the Walt Disney World Railroad!

The voice of the parrot and the guy who says “No privacy at all in this place!” twice is that of Mel “Bugs Bunny” Blanc (who didn’t do Odyssey, of course, but we thought you’d like to know).

In Epcot Center, you can find:
Corey Burton in The American Adventure performance, vocalizing both Thomas Jefferson and Chief Joseph.
Walker Edmiston, who plays Tom Riley and Bart Rathbone, also goes historical in The American Adventure as the voice of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.
(Also, I thought the Booming Voice preceding the “Illuminations 2004: Reflections of Earth” laser/pyrotechnics show sounded like Jim Cummings, the Disney voice actor who now does Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too.)

In Disney-MGM Studios, you can find:
The exit.
Actually, we didn’t hear any Odyssey voices here. Occasionally, though, the whole park plays the John Williams-composed theme from Superman, which sort of makes up for it.

In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can find:

Corey Burton, who introduces and closes the It’s Tough to Be a Bug 3-D movie within the “Tree of Life.” (Also, at the movie’s end when Corey advises you to stay put so the smaller bugs and grubs can get out of the theater first, disobey and stand up immediately. You’ll be glad you did, because small children will start crying and mature adults and thrill-seeking teens will especially yell in terror as Disney does something weird that makes the seats crawl underneath everyone’s ... well, seats.)

And finally, restrooms and water fountains seem to be anathema at The Animal Kingdom. They really have to improve.

Anyway, those are all the Odysseyan voices we heard at D-World. Hope you’re able to find them as well, and perhaps you’ll catch a few we missed.

And one last trivia: the most pleasant cameo surprise for me was actually actor Gary Sinise as CAPCOM — visually and audibly — at Mission: Space in Epcot Center. He was astronaut Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13 who remained ground-bound but helped the imperiled 13 spacecraft crew a lot anyway, and without getting the measles.

(And the "informal" name of the Apollo 13 spacecraft — does anyone remember it?)

Have a good vacation, or not, and keep those ears in tune ...