Monday, April 18, 2016

Disneyland Resort Dazzles After Dark

The 60th Anniversary "Diamond Celebration" at The Disneyland Resort is approaching an anniversary of its own.  The popular event debuted last year, on May 22, to thousands of eager fans, waiting to see what kind of party Disneyland would throw.  For the most part, the celebration has proven to be a big hit.  In the past, Disney would use the major anniversary years to unveil a new, and highly anticipated attraction. With no new rides to offer, the 60th anniversary has focused mostly on entertainment.  

The highlight of the Diamond Celebration has been the return of a nighttime parade to Disneyland Park.  "Paint The Night" is the first new nighttime parade to take over the Disneyland parade route since the Main Street Electrical Parade gave its last performance in 1996.  Its replacement, a parade/street show called "Light Magic", was pulled after the summer of 1997, and never returned. 
The drum float that opens "Paint The Night" pays tribute to Disney's first nighttime parade

Sully is at the controls on the
Monsters Inc. float
While brand new to Disneyland, "Paint The Night" originated at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2014. The new electrical parade pays tribute to classic and new Disney and Pixar films.  While several floats from the Hong Kong parade were replicated for Disneyland, the show was expanded to include some original units just for California.  

"Paint The Night" takes place up to two times each evening, traveling Disneyland's parade route from Town Square at the foot of Main Street U.S.A. to "it's a small world".  The parade features an array of floats with all LED lighting, special effects, including the use of Disney's "Made With Magic" technology, lots of performers, and an upbeat soundtrack that pays tribute to its 24-year predecessor.  
Mickey Mouse brings "Paint The Night"
to an end
The show strolls along a parade route packed with park guests.  It's always best to catch the second performance of "Paint The Night", because it's far less crowded than the first show. While longtime Disney fans still miss the original Electrical Parade, "Paint The Night" is an excellent addition to Disneyland's evening entertainment.  Disney really did everything right, from the amazing design of the floats, to the wonderful musical score.  The "Main Street Electrical Parade" is a major piece of Disney park history.  "Paint The Night" has taken evening parades to the next level for future generations. 

Disneyland has given fans a double feature each evening, with its brand new fireworks spectacular, "Disneyland Forever" taking place immediately after the first performance of "Paint The Night". For the 60th anniversary, "Disneyland Forever" has replaced not one, but three fireworks shows.  "Remember...Dreams Come True" and "Magical" are no more, while the Christmas fireworks show, "Believe...In Holiday Magic" went on hiatus for the 2015 season.  "Believe" is expected to return for the 2016 holiday season.  

Disneyland Forever photo (c)Disney
"Disneyland Forever" allows guests to "step into the magic" in many ways.  For the first time ever, this show features video projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle, Matterhorn Mountain, the buildings of Main Street U.S.A. and the facade of "it's a small world".  The projections feature scenes from the many animated features highlighted in the fireworks show.  Projections have replaced the pyrotechnics that used to burst above Main Street Buildings, and surround the audiences.  

While not the best fireworks show Disney has created, "Disneyland Forever" is certainly a good one.  The soundtrack features new music tied to the park's 60th anniversary theme.  It not quite as memorable or emotional as past shows like "Remember" and "Believe...There's Magic In The Stars". but it's absolutely worth the investment of time to see and enjoy it.  The nightly fireworks are still a very popular, and important night cap to a memorable day at the park, as they have been since 1958.

A rainbow of color on Paradise Bay
Over at Disney California Adventure, the third of the "Diamond Celebration" shows takes place every night.  "World of Color: Celebrate The Magic of Walt Disney" is a wonderful reworking of the very popular "World of Color" show.  This version features actor, Neil Patrick Harris as the host, along with Mickey Mouse (both via video projections), in a salute to the legacy of Walt Disney.  Paradise Bay serves as the stage for "Celebrate", with the attractions of Paradise Pier acting as the backdrop.  Rides like California Screamin" and Mickey's Fun Wheel play important roles in the show. 

The dancing waters of "World of Color"
"World of Color: Celebrate" is a wonderful show.  Harris does a great job as host by narrating and singing throughout the show.  The heavy use of video projection on the water, roller coaster and ferris wheel tell the story.  More than twelve-hundred fountains, along with thousands of lights combine to create some amazing effects.  I was never impressed with the original "World of Color", but I love this version. There is still a challenge to find the perfect viewing area, and I am still not convinced that either of the Fastpass viewing sections provide optimal viewing.  I believe the viewing area for people who purchase the Carthay Circle Restaurant dining package is the best area for watching the show. 

The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration is scheduled to end in early September of this year, after a sixteen-month run.  "World of Color" will most-likely go back to its original show, while "Paint The Night" and "Disneyland Forever" should continue for years to come.  I predict "Paint The Night" will leave Disneyland after the 2020 or 2021 summer season, and travel to Walt Disney World in time for its 50th anniversary celebration.  At the same time, I believe the Main Street Electrical Parade could make a return to Disneyland in 2022, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nighttime spectacular that started it all.  Now wouldn't that be something?

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