Backstories Parks & Resorts

Dapper Dans: The Harmonious and Extraordinary Entertainers of Main Street

Dapper Dans
What do you usually do first when you enter Magic Kingdom? It’s easy to assume a good number of readers will make a beeline down Main Street to see Cinderella Castle or rush to a popular attraction. But you’re missing out on some quality entertainment if you skip exploring Main Street, U.S.A. at Disney Parks. The Dapper Dans are an iconic barbershop quartet of singers that delight audiences every day. The singing quartet has a rich Disney history and presence in the parks. It’s time some readers become more familiar with the Dapper Dans!





Who are the Dapper Dans?

The Dapper Dans originated in 1959 at Disneyland and opened Magic Kingdom in 1971. They weren’t part of Disneyland’s opening, but Walt Disney himself soon found inspiration for adding these colorful vaudeville entertainers to his park. This a cappella group always performs as a quartet and wear matching attire. Many visitors will recognize the Dapper Dans as iconic fixtures on Main Street. Their colorful performances have been a highlight of Main Street for decades. The members provide live entertainment with their voices and humor. Their distinguishable outfits are a trademark that’s made an impact on cementing their placement in pop culture.





The Chimes

Have you ever noticed the unique instruments carried by the Dapper Dans? It’s worth taking a closer look at them because even their instruments have an interesting backstory. They bring Deagan Organ Chimes out with them for their performances. These chimes are percussion instruments that make music when shaken. These novelty instruments were invented in 1901 by a Chicago manufacturing company. These chimes were in production for roughly two decades before stores stopped selling them. Deagan Organ Chimes have rarely been used in mainstream music acts since the 1920s. Typically it was vaudeville acts or circus acts who used these chimes. So it’s no surprise if many people are unfamiliar with these musical instruments of a bygone era.





Holiday Themes and Flag Retreat

The Dapper Dans offer seasonal acts as well. For instance, the singing quartet adopts a different moniker as the “Cadaver Dans” for the Halloween season. You can find them singing in Frontierland as the Cadaver Dans at ticket events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It’s fun to see them come out in the evening and sing not-so-spooky tunes. They sing the Haunted Mansion’s classic “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and entertain as playful spirits of Frontierland.

The group also performs holiday songs for the Christmas season. They wear holiday-themed attire and sing classic Christmas carols for audiences on Main Street. Watching them sing “Christmas in Killarney” is a memorable performance, plus the chimes compliment the tones of the chorus.

Also, the Dapper Dans are used daily at the Flag Retreat on Main Street. It’s a respectful service in which you see them honor the flag and those who served America.

Other Fun Facts!

The influence of the Dapper Dans extends beyond the walls of Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. The singers have been featured in movies and television shows over the years. They appeared as guests on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and filled in as Homer’s barbershop quartet in a classic 90s episode of The Simpsons. Even Eddie Murphy’s Haunted Mansion movie used them as the ghostly singing busts. Furthermore, many of the past and current members of the Dapper Dans have been award-winning singers of a cappella group associations. They have earned prestigious singing honors with their talent and it’s worth seeing them perform. We hope you take some time to watch the Dapper Dans perform in the future. Their humor and joyful tunes are sure to bring a smile to your face!

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Kevin Koszola


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