“Prepare to be dazzled!” These were the words that kicked off a recent special media preview of the Disneyland Resort’s upcoming Diamond Celebration. Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom will start its 60th birthday festivities on May 22. The preview included a look at new entertainment offerings, food and drinks, and a staggering array of merchandise.
Twelve new drinks will be offered at twelve different food venues in Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the hotels of the Disneyland Resort. Three were available for tasting: Monstro’s Blue Lemonade (Village Haus), Party Wave Lemonade (PCH Grill) and Lucky Fortune Tea (Lucky Fortune Cookery). In addition, two special cupcakes were sampled as well. Disneyland’s “Victorian” cupcake is lemon cake with strawberry filling, champagne mousse butter cream frosting, and white chocolate crunchy pearls, topped with a chocolate “D.” The California Adventure cupcake is a 1920s style confection, orange cake with mixed berry filling, cream cheese Bavarian mousse frosting, and chocolate crunchy pearls topped with a white chocolate pearl.
Over 500 new merchandise items will be introduced during the Disneyland Resort’s Diamond Celebration. From apparel to jewelry, toys to plush, there will be something for everyone, and all adorned with glittering diamonds. Among the items seen were a full range of garments, including t-shirts, jackets, and hats. Among the jewelry options is a full tiara, bracelets and rings, and glittering charms. Picture frames, trinket boxes and snow globes crowded shelves already loaded with handbags, notebooks and dishware. A new toy train set led off an array of plush Mickey, Minnie and Duffy Bear dolls.
The preview kicked off with vintage footage of Walt Disney himself, followed by a video greeting from Resort President Michael Colglazier. In the course of his comments he observed, “Walt Disney was a visionary.” After enumerating the Resort’s offerings– two parks, three hotels and a shopping district– he revealed that more Instagram photos are created at Disneyland than anywhere else on the planet.
On hand in person was Disneyland Ambassador Jessica Bernard. She displayed her new Diamond Celebration name badge, adding that one would be proudly worn over each cast members’ heart. She also discussed “new magic” coming to three classic Disneyland attractions: Peter Pan’s Flight, the Haunted Mansion, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Peter Pan will see a newly enhanced nursery scene, the Haunted Mansion will finally feature the mysterious Hatbox Ghost, and the Matterhorn’s famous Abominable Snowman will be seen in an entirely new way.
Also announced was a new sweepstakes, “Disneyland Diamond Days,” to commence on May 22. Described in terms similar to the year of a Million Dreams promotion, Diamond Days will award selected guests with custom tours of the parks, overnight stays at the Disneyland Dream Suite, glittering prizes, and actual one and two carat diamonds. Details are available at Disneyland.com/DiamondDays.
Entertainment offering took up the lion’s share of the presentation. New daytime offerings were first shown. At Disneyland, guests will be invited to join a daily March-Along with the Disneyland Band and the Disney characters, culminating in a Diamond Sing-Along at Town Square. Musical groups will also encourage guests to join in, including a Sing-Along with the Dapper Dans and a Dance-Along with the Straw Hatters. Over at Disney California Adventure guests may Dream-Along with Mickey and the Red Car News Boys as they perform an entirely new show built around a number entitled If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It. Five & Dime will present a Dance-Along with Goofy and the members of the band.
Also at Disney California Adventure will be the return of the Mad T Party. The popular nighttime dance party will be enhanced with a diamond overlay, as well as new experiences brought back from Wonderland by Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The Mad T Party returns on May 22.
To discuss the three new nighttime spectaculars, Steve Davison, Executive, Parades and Spectaculars for Walt Disney Imagineering Creative was introduced. Before going into details, he assured the crowd that the new entertainment offerings were bigger than the celebration of Disneyland’s 50th birthday in 2005.
WORLD OF COLOR
First up was World of Color. The new show, entitled Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, will be divided into five sections:
Open: Fanfare and introduction by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse;
Part I: It Was All Started by a Mouse (Mickey Mouse Celebration);
Part II: The Golden Age of Animation (Feature Animation Celebration);
Part III: Dream of Disneyland (Disneyland Celebration);
Finale: A Celebration for Years to Come.
The fanfare for Celebrate! Utilizes a previously unused arrangement of the classic World of Color opening. Host Neil Patrick Harris will interact with newly created animation of Mickey Mouse. Artists at Walt Disney Feature Animation, under the supervision of Dave Bossert and Eric Goldberg, created the hand drawn sequences. Davison revealed there were lots of new lights in the show, along with a new projection system on Mickey’s Fun Wheel.
Walt Disney himself will introduce the second section, It Was All Started by a Mouse. In a vintage clip he says, “I want this part of the show to belong to Mickey, because the story of Mickey is truly the real beginning of Disneyland.” Highlights of Mickey’s careers will include Steamboat Willie, Plane Crazy, the Band Concert, and the latest shorts that have been introduced on the internet. The section ends with a tribute to Mickey’s landmark appearance in Fantasia.
Of The Animation Celebration, Davison promised, “You have not seen anything like this, trust me.” The section will include an extensive overview of classic Disney and Pixar animation.
For The Dream of Disneyland, composer John Debney has provided a dramatic underscore. Beginning with Disneyland’s opening day, the section goes into magical adventures, culminating with an emotional tribute to Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom.
The finale of Celebrate! Opens with a tribute to Walt Disney in montage. Neil Patrick Harris returns to ask Walt what he would change if he had it to do over again. Walt’s reply, from a vintage interview, includes the observation, “I hope I don’t have to do it over again.” The show ends with a celebration of Disneyland’s years to come.
DISNEYLAND FOREVER FIREWORKS
In presenting Disneyland Forever, the new fireworks spectacular, Davison acknowledged that there is always a question of how they could top other shows in recent years. But, he quickly added, it is not about topping previous efforts, but about telling stories. The inspiration for Disneyland Forever was Walt Disney’s classic quote, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” This immersive firework spectacular is designed to show us just how truly magical Disneyland is.
The show is far ranging, featuring a number of sections with accompanying songs, quotes, and projected images:
Open: Fanfare, Walt Disney quote, Peter Pan, Live the Magic theme song;
Clouds: Step in Time (Mary Poppins), I See the Light (Tangled);
Enchanted Places: Rumbly in My Tumbly, Heffalumps and Woozles (Winnie the Pooh);
Jungle: Circle of Life (The Lion King), I Wanna Be Like You (The Jungle Book);
Sea: Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid), the Tank Gang from Finding Nemo;
Snow: Let It Go (Frozen)
While Disneyland Forever takes place in the sky, there will be an extensive use of projections, not just on Sleeping Beauty Castle, but also on Main Street USA, the Matterhorn, small world, and along the Rivers of America. Main Street USA should prove the most popular with fans of this show.
Following a traditional fanfare and burst of fireworks, guests will find Main Street melting away, replaced by orange trees. Narration will begin with the words, “Just imagine… if you were standing right here over sixty years ago, you’d be standing in the middle of an orange grove.” Further narration leads to Walt’s famous quote, as the oranges grow larger and larger, eventually bursting to release clouds of pixie dust. Tinker Bell flies onto the scene, as Peter Pan can be heard crowing and exclaiming, “Imagination? We have a lot of that around here!” A new theme song, Live the Magic follows, as Tinker Bell whips the pixie dust into dreamy clouds.
The clouds settle to reveal rooftops with smoking chimneys. Silhouetted chimney sweeps begin an energetic dance as Step in Time from Mary Poppins is heard. Davison announced that Dick Van Dyke himself had recorded new chants for the refrain of this version of the song. As the number reaches a culmination, kites appear and drift upward, mingling with floating lanterns. I See the Light from Tangled is performed.
For the Enchanted Places section of the show, the Hundred Acre Wood appears, as the music shifts into Rumbly in My Tumbly. Honeycomb appears, along with animated bees. As too much honey fills the street, Heffalumps and Woozles enter to their musical cue. Just as everything begins to spiral out of control, the biggest Heffalump sucks up all the color, leaving the street, and skies above, darkened.
Fireworks create a sunrise behind the castle, and as rays of light streak down Main Street, the familiar opening notes from The Lion King are heard. For The Circle of Life, animals march in stately procession down each side of the street. The visuals segue into Cambodian temples, as I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book fills the air. A storm begins, and water begins cascading over the temples, eventually plunging everyone underwater. With blue laser effects on the castle setting the mood, Under the Sea is next performed. Attention is drawn to the end of Main Street as giant inflatables create the impression of coral formations.
Davison paused as he described the next section of Disneyland Forever as, “My favorite part.” Full-scale projections on the Matterhorn will turn the peak into Mt. Wannahockaloogie from Finding Nemo. The Tank Gang will be seen, as a fully dimensional Nemo flies around the summit, defying the “Ring of Fire!” Bubbles rise as the Tank Gang urges him on. As the scene resolves, the bubbles burst and release delicate snow crystals.
The final section before the finale is built around Let It Go from Frozen. As snow falls on Main Street, the inescapable song is performed with a new ending. The grand finale returns us to the orange grove, as a narrator declares, “The magic, as Walt assured us, will never end.” Over 100 high intensity searchlights will paint diamonds in the sky as the theme song, Live the Magic, is performed. As he orchestra strikes a grand chord, Peter Pan’s voice is heard exclaiming, “Wow, just think… Disneyland is yours forever.”
PAINT THE NIGHT ELECTRICAL PARADE
Paint the Night will feature more than eighty performers in a parade that will last approximately 30 minutes. It will move continuously down the parade route, with no stops. Color will flow from beginning to end, in the floats, in the costuming, and in interactive elements.
The running order is as follows:
Tinker Bell and Friends;
Monsters, Inc. Dance Party;
Cars Electric Roadway Jam;
Little Mermaid Electric Watercolors;
Toy Story Electric Rodeo;
Mickey’s Lightastic Finale.
Tinker Bell leads off the parade, on a float that includes a big drum that is an homage to Disneyland’s beloved Main Street Electrical Parade. Peter Pan rides atop the drum, Tinker Bell’s fairy friends accompany her as Fiber Fairies perform, looking like dancing pixie dust.
Next up is a Monsters, Inc. dance party, featuring Peek-A-Boo doors on a unit that will include Mike and Sully. Among the music that will be heard is Owl City’s When Can I See You Again from Wreck It Ralph, as well as the classic Baroque Hoedown from the original Electrical Parade.
Sure to be a crowd pleaser is the Cars unit. Lightning McQueen leads off, with a “Carz Crew” of lighted dancers. Mack, the longest parade float in Paint the Night carries a sophisticated lighting array that creates breathtaking patterns on images in light. DJ brings up the rear of the unit.
Electric watercolors carry the theme of The Little Mermaid, the next section in the parade. King Triton is seen larger than life, with a fully animated face rear-projected from inside the figure. Ariel’s costume is fully lighted. Dancing Coral Fish conceal Marlin and Nemo from Finding Nemo, while Electric Jelly Fish dancers spin their tendrils up to twelve feet in diameter.
Romance takes center stage in the Candlelight Dreams section. Belle leads off, wearing a light-painted version of her yellow ball gown. Two other princesses, Rapunzel and Cinderella join Belle in this candlelit unit. Accompanying performers represent Female Court dancers and Dove Dancers.
An entirely new unit next takes the stage. Frozen Fractals will be the tallest float in the parade, and will bring Queen Elsa’s ice palace to Disneyland. Familiar characters will be seen frolicking in the snow, as Ice Crystal Dancers join in the procession.
The penultimate unit will be Toy Story’s Electric Rodeo. Slinky Dog is seen as a lighted, spinning toy, along with Buzz and Woody. Jessie is joined in the street by Lasso Dancers who manipulate spinning balls of light.
Mickey’s Lightastic Finale features over 17,000 individual lights on a twelve foot high parade float. Characters riding spheres of light accompany the unit. Davison admitted that they had to pull back some, as the effects had become somewhat overwhelming. Double Pinwheel dancers perform intricate routines with their lighted costumes. For the finale Mickey appears in a specially constructed lighted version of his Sorcerer’s Apprentice costume.
Paint the Night Electrical Parade is scheduled to perform nightly before the fireworks, with multiple performances on peak nights. Disney will be announcing an App for Paint the Night, as well as selling interactive souvenirs in the Resort.