The Magic Kingdom. Just the mention of the first park in the Walt Disney World Resort brings to mind images of Mickey shaped balloons, Cinderella’s castle, and crocs. You may also be able to imagine the sound of the horses’ feet clapping the pavement as they pull the trolley down Main St. U.S.A., or the ambient laughter of small children. One sound in particular, however, really sets itself apart from the rest of the theme park static. Ragtime piano at Casey’s Corner next to the Baby Care Center at the end of Main St.
As the smell of $5 hot dogs and cracker jacks fills the air, the notes to Take Me Out To The Ball Game (The official song of Casey’s Corner) can be heard dancing right out of the white upright piano. Jim, from Orange, CA, is one of the multiple pianists who performs for guests day after day. In the opinion of many folks (including myself), Jim is the best. He’s been playing away since the early 80’s. I’ve been going to Walt Disney World since 1992, so Jim has always been there. I have fond memories of watching him play from when I was a child. Now that I’m older and can really appreciate his talent and musicianship, it’s very cool too see that he’s still there.
Jim plays like a traditional ragtime pianist should play. In fact, when he plays Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, he’s playing the same style Joplin played it when recording it to a player piano reel way back in the day. The piano at Casey’s is affixed with a mirror across the top so Jim, or whomever the player is, can look at the crowd behind him. Often, Jim will take requests from guests, especially the little ones. He likes to play different classic Disney songs, and his version of the Mary Poppins Medley is just amazing. Not only will Jim play to the young ones, but frequently the “big kids” of generations past will get a kick out of the songs he plays. Another great opportunity to enjoy some amazing entertainment with the entire family at Disney.
Jim is one of the best entertainers at Walt Disney World, and I think the best pianist ever. If you find yourself lucky enough to visit The Magic Kingdom on a day that Jim is working, be sure to stop by and check him out. It will be one of those great memories you take back from your trip.