Pre-shows on Disney rides contain great Easter Eggs, especially when it comes to celebrity cameos. Some famous ones over the years have included Aerosmith on Rock N Roller Coaster, Patrick Warburton on Soarin’, Gary Sinise on Mission: SPACE, and Alison Janey (well, her voice at least!) on Star Tours. And, of course, we can see a number of cast members from the newest Star Wars trilogy on Rise of the Resistance.
But there are some other beloved attraction actors that you may have forgotten about! Let’s peel the curtain back JUST a bit and share who these memorable Disney World icons are!
David Danipour – Flight of Passage
Oh this first one is one of our favorites. Why? He teaches us how to…uhh…FLY! 😉 David Danipour plays Dr. Stevens, the helpful guide that leads us through the entire pre-show experience at Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom! His bumbling demeanor is hard to forget (especially since the combined pre-show experiences are rather long!).
It’s quite the thrill to take flight on a Banshee on Flight of Passage, and the pre-show experience really adds to the overall immersive aspect of the whole attraction! (Except when you’re, like, infested with space bugs.) So David Danipour plays quite the pivotal role for us!
Danipour has been in a number of smaller comedic roles over the years. His more big-name appearances have been on The Good Place and Westworld. Recently, he hosted an “Ask Me Anything” interview on Reddit where he shared some of his experience getting to work on Flight of Passage (and even some behind the scenes info on his infamous line, “And, uh…fly”).
Interestingly on the same pre-show, the female Doctor you meet is NOT Sigourney Weaver or her character from the Avatar film, Dr. Grace Augustine. Nope, that’s an actress named Alison Blanchard who kinda sorta looks like Weaver, but plays a totally different character named Dr. Jackie Ogden, lead Xenobiologist for the Avatar project. You can hear this actress elsewhere in Disney World — she’s the voice of the luggage scanner in the Star Tours queue! HA! Now you know!
Wallace Langham – Dinosaur
“Heeeeeeello there!” Our next pre-show actor is none other than Wallace Langham, well known by Disney fans as Dr. Grant Seeker in the pre-show video for Dinosaur!
First off…we need to take a moment and appreciate the genius behind the name “Grant Seeker.” Get it? Get it? 🙂 Langham acts opposite Phylicia Rashad (AKA the mom from The Cosby Show) in the pre-show that sets guests up for a wild ride millions of years in the past!
This wacky scientist might help you “go get that dino” on the ride, but outside of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, he’s just a regular actor! Wallace Langham is probably most well known as David Hodges on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as well as smaller roles on LOADS of tv shows ranging from The Larry Sanders Show to Murphy Brown to Grey’s Anatomy. He even had a role in the 80s movie Weird Science!
Mark Silverman (voice) – Tower of Terror
You may not recognize this next actor by his face, but his voice will sure sound familiar! Mark Silverman provided the voice for Rod Serling in the pre-show of Tower of Terror.
Rod Serling’s image was used in the pre-show video thanks to some spiffy video editing, specifically using footage from the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life.” Rod Serling’s widow actually chose Mark Silverman herself for the pre-show since he sounded most like her husband. So yes, Silverman 100% got approval from Serling’s family!
Mark Silverman’s voice work with Disney extends beyond the Tower of Terror pre-show. Believe it or not, when The Twilight Zone was reimagined as a new, darker series in 2019, he returned to voice Rod Serling AGAIN! He’s even voiced Serling on the show Medium!
He was also the voice of Friend Owl in several Bambi projects, as well as a few different voices in A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas in Magic Kingdom. He even voiced a character in The Real Ghostbusters Saturday morning cartoon back in the 80s!
Illeana Douglas – Rock n Roller Coaster
Many folks know that the pre-show for Rock n Roller Coaster stars the actual rock band Aerosmith, but the band’s manager was played by actress Illeana Douglas!
You know, the manager that hooks us up with those backstage passes and that SUPER stretch limo? THAT manager!
You can catch Illeana Douglas in a ton of television shows. In the past she has been featured in episodes of Modern Family, Ugly Betty, Law and Order, Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, and Goliath!
Gina Torres – Mission: SPACE
Gina Torres replaced Gary Sinise in the 2017 update of Mission: SPACE as the pre-show host who prepares guests for their space flight training!
And when she says the words “Go for launch,” you’ll definitely want to hang on!
Gina Torres was in the Matrix sequels as well as a bunch of television programs, including lending her voice to Star Wars Rebels, Elena of Avalor, and Tangled: The Series. She also was in Westworld, Riverdale, and Hannibal. Many fans of the epic, short-lived, fan-favorite sci-fi show Firefly will recognize her as the ship’s second in command, Zoe!
Remember Space 220? Let’s take a look at one of the most highly anticipated new restaurants at Disney World here!
Next time you’re binge-watching your favorite TV show, see if you recognize any familiar faces! Disney has employed countless actors over the years in their parks to help bring the stories of their rides and attractions to life! Some of our most memorable moments are from these pre-shows, whether we’re quoting the opening of The Twilight Zone or we’re super STOKED to get those backstage passes to the Aerosmith concert! It’s all part of the attraction experience, which makes going to Disney World all the more special.
Which attraction pre-show is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!