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“Disneyland’s America Sings” by James Lopez

Disney animator James Lopez is such a fan of the 1974 Disneyland attraction America Sings that he’s taken the soundtrack and has been spending his spare time – over a ten year period – creating a private 2D version of it. Here’s his work-in-progress. It’s partially in pencil, but well worth a watch.

(Thanks, Vin Ostrander via Disney History Institute )

  • Why does this reminded me of Robin Hood a little bit?


      I think it´s Because the style is pure Disney from the 70s, and the line quality here resembles the Xerox rough line they used to do in that era.
      The animation on this piece is truly beautiful…I jut think there´s some technical vimeo f-ness with the soundtrack, it might be a bit off.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        All I can see is something I would love to see on the next Wonderful World of Disney!

    • cijfer

      It reminded me of Robin Hood as well. It felt to me he literally traced the roosters opening dialogue in that film. Especially with the wide eyed thing.

      • dbenson

        An odd little Disney trick from Robin Hood and Aladdin: Introduce a bird character and in the first few shots show only one eye at a time, so you get the sense of a real bird with eyes on the sides of the head. Then you let him face front or three-quarters with both eyes set forward, the human/mammal configuration. And in the case of Aladdin, you give the bird teeth. It’s amazing what you can get away with once the audience accepts the basic idea.

  • d. harry

    Bravo!! All Jamie needs to hit this out of the park is to team up with a good BG artist!!

  • ChristopherRyan

    Gorgeous work so far! Such appeal, I hope they incorporate this into the park when it’s finished (with Lopez’s blessing and compensation of course).

  • Warhead

    This is pure retro Disney. It even fits the period the attraction came from with the faux-xerography lines and the backgrounds.

  • Gobo

    This is awesome. I will happily Kickstarter-fund, cheerlead or fanboy this into getting made. Go James!

    • Scarabim

      I agree! This is great. I never saw the attraction this toon is based on, and the only real knowledge I have of it is based on that terrible tragedy…but this looks marvelous, and I applaud this great artist for trying to revive and preserve it as a labor of love. Kudos!

  • I was never a fan of America Sings because it took the place of CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS…..which I loved!! However, James has done a really nice job of reinventing this attraction with some great animation. I like it better animated! Great job, James!

  • Justin

    Wow, this is awesome! I can’t wait to see it finished. The eagle’s voice is Burl Ives, but who is the voice of the owl?

    • Mike Johnson

      Sam Edwards, best known to most folks as the banker in “Little house on the Prairie.”

      • Sam also did quite a lot of Disneyland Records in the 1960’s — Storyteller LPs like The Absent-Minded Professor, The Tin Woodman of Oz and The Orange Bird. You can hear him doing crowd voices in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

        His sister-in-law was Jane Webb, who did numerous voices for Filmation, like Sabrina, Betty and Veronica. For the opening titles of The New Adventures of Gilligan, she used her married name (Webb) for Ginger and her maiden name (Edwards) for Mary Ann.

  • Mike Johnson

    This is marvelous! I was 14 in ’74, and that was when I saw America Sings for the first time. Each year our family would make the drive from Canyon Country (now part of Santa Clarita)down to Disney, and this was the one attraction I would be sure to see multiple times. The characters (all designed by Marc Davis, I believe) were just wonderful, and the musical selections were top notch and left me humming for the rest of my day.

    Thank you, James, for this wonderful work, and I hope you will keep us up-to-date on it’s progress. I would love o once again take a seat and experience the entire America Sings show!

    Also, I’d like to see Disney resurrect all of it’s now bygone attractions as a separate part of the park called Retro-Disney, where all of us baby-boomers could relive our fondest Disney memories.

    Not that this would ever happen, but a man can dream, can’t he?

    • DJM

      No. No he can’t.

      Now get back to work, Johnson!

  • Dan Kyder

    What a brilliant idea for a home project!

    But wow that’s going to be some mighty task. Didn’t that show run some 20 mins?

    It’d be nice to see a Kickstarter appeal allow him to invest more time into its completion, If he’d be up for it.
    Between the animation fans and the park fans, I bet there would be a lot of interest.

    Even better would be if Disney saw how this could be an appealing short project and let him do it officially in house…

  • Toonio

    Truly Disney craftsmanship. Hope he finishes it soon.

  • Bud

    What a colossal waste of time. All that talent to replicate a d-level attraction at Disneyland? christ…

    • Gobo

      I think you mean a “fondly remembered, Marc Davis designed-and-written attraction”. But I guess cynicism can confuse you!

      • Bud

        It was even third rate Marc Davis. Rushed for the bicentennial, and dated weeks before it opened.

      • Ben

        Well, since it opened in 1974 and the bicentennial was in 1976, two years later, I do suppose it was dated from the start, right?

        Now, after 1976, yes, it did date itself with each passing year. However, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t still be charming. Hell, people thought the Country Bear Jamboree was dated too, and it has it’s fans…and also designed by Marc Davis…maybe it was also third rate work?

    • axolotl

      Heh, with all the practice he got, I’m sure he could now make an absolutely amazing original film.

    • One man’s waste of time, is another man’s nostalgia ;)

  • Keith Bryant

    Very well done! “America Sings” was a Marc Davis project and I can’t help but feel that Marc is smiling right now because of this.

  • Julian

    I looked up the original attraction on Youtube, and I have to say, it looks SO MUCH better animated as a cartoon. Even though it’s not completely finished, the characters look so much more pleasing to the eye. I probably have a really dissenting opinion here, but I never liked the idea of Disney Parks or theme parks for the matter. I would just so much rather sit at home and watch a brilliant animated feature.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      This also could work as a little featurette before a film too, like the ones Disney use to do in the 50’s and 60’s.

      • John A

        It could totally work as a TV special, with animated intros and live action guest stars, by adding new musical sequences, it could be a new special every year.

        My only complaint; the fixed view of the characters might have worked for a stage production,but it gets a little monotonous as a cartoon. Showing a few more angles of the bandstand (maybe some fake dolly shots that would have been difficult to do in the 70s, just to open your stage area a little more.)

        The finished animation is amazing, it’s like something pulled out of the archives.

  • MissConception

    This is absolutely amazing. I really want to see this completed. I watched this about five times now, just marveling at the quality. Please, Mr. Lopez, keep going.

  • Oh that was Wonderful!! Oh i feel like i went back in time in a good way! Loved the time and quality attention given to the animation. Great job Sir :)

  • Just awesome! I wish him luck with it. Great piece.

  • wever

    When I read it took 10 years to do this, I looked at the 1-minute-45-second clip and thought how sloooooow he was working! …then I realized he animated THE ENTIRE TOUR, and that this clip is only the first part!

    Great throwback to the Xerox Disney era, where the films were directed by Wooley Witherman. He could work on the mouth moments- the lip synching is correct over all, but emphasis on stressed syllables will do some good.

    • Uli Meyer

      Woolie Reitherman.

  • First off, I am unfamiliar with the ride.
    I just want to see more of the animation.

    You could have told me Lopez’s art was straight from ’74, too, or thereabouts~ and I 100% would be inclined to believe you. Congrats on his efforts so far!

    • I know, right? This actually LOOKS like it was animated in 1974! Even the character designs and expressions seem straight out of the Reitherman era.

      And in this era when everything is so frenetic, it makes me very happy to know that at least one person is creating something a bit quieter and low-key.

      • Funkybat

        I have to say that I am thrilled to see this, not only for the devotion and hard work James put into it, but because he does such a great job replicating the “look” of late-Walt/post-Walt-era Disney. After seeing just those brief snippets of the birds conversing, I have to say I really miss this style, it’s even more appealing to me than the 90s-era look!

  • That was beautiful! It definitely reminds me of how Robin Hood and Winnie the Pooh were animated in the 70’s. Congratulations, James Lopez! I can’t wait see the whole thing when it’s finished!

  • Vin

    Great work James! As a fan of the old attraction I hope you get to Finnish this someday.


  • Anthony D.

    Wonderful, simply wonderful! ^_^

    This would be perfect if it played as an animated featurette preceding a Disney film in theaters.

  • John

    I remember one day 30 or so years ago my sister and I saw this over and over again never having to get out of our seats. We were the only ones watching/riding this at Disneyland.

  • I can’t put in words how much I liked this!

  • Beautiful!
    Looking forward to see more!

  • V.M.L.

    Wow, he definitely captured that old Disney animation style!

  • Ben

    You know, James Lopez must have been reading my thoughts, LOL! I have always wanted, and imagined an all-animated version of America Sings, and the Country Bears. It would just be so much more expressive than the stiff AA animals. I could see it all in my head, and Mr. Lopez has done it perfectly. I really can’t wait to see more of it. It’s like my thoughts materialized.

  • dan


  • Beautiful animation…I rode this many times as a kid at Disneyland, so it definitely brings back the nostalgia.

    Of course, Mr. Lopez could easily save time on the project. When the owl asks Sam what happened to the rest of the cast, he can tell him they all moved over to Splash Mountain. :)

  • I have a soft spot in my heart for Robin Hood and all the movies done in the ‘Xeroxcopic’ period —Jungle Book, Sword in the Stone, etc —so even though I’m Mexican and don’t share the patriotic sentiment this is supposed to convey, I can’t wait to see the end result :)

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I would not blame you!

  • I love this. And I loved the original attraction, too.

  • Randy

    Ahhh, Bud…our little ray of CartoonBrew sunshine.

  • Mark

    I think it would be awesome if Disney attached this as a short to something like “Frozen”.

  • bronnie

    Beautiful! What a treat this will be to see finished!

  • Jamie

    Oh, this is fantastic! I love 60s/70s-era Disney features and it’s great to see this in the same style. Really hope it gets finished and posted!

  • This was great, thanks for sharing it.


    James posted new animation from this project!