Breaking Down “Paint the Night”

Do y’all remember when we did this a while back? Festival of Fantasy was the last new parade in a domestic park, but now, thanks to Marilyn Monroe (She’s not sponsoring the Diamond Celebration? She’s dead? Ivy Lynn got to play her on Smash, not Karen Carpenter?!?!), Disneyland’s 60th brings us “Paint the Night,” the newest nighttime parade for Disneyland since “Light Magic,” and we all know how well that turned out. (Aside: Is Johnny and the Sprites a spin-off of “Light Magic”? These are the questions that keep me up at night.) So, there’s only one thing to do…let’s break it down.

It begins with a new take on the Main Street Electrical Parade opening monologue, because it seems that every nighttime event ever has to reference MSEP in some way or another. It’s similar to the unwritten law that Samuel L. Jackson must star in at least 12 films a year. The music is an expansion of “When Can I See You Again,” the timeless tune from Wreck-It Ralph (#Sarcasm #OwlCity #RealBandName #LegendOfTheGuardians). Some sprites lead in Tinkerbell, seemingly waving around fiber optic cables used for Verizon FIOS to be available in you neighborhood. Tinkerbell kicks butt and takes names, as she flies along the performance corridor (I’m bringin’ it back if it’s the last thing I do). However, the real winner is the drum, updated with gorgeous screen and LED lights. Peter Pan sits atop, and he thinks he is SO FANCY with his shiny tights and his high vantage point.  You’re not better than me, Peter!

(photo courtesy of Jeremy Wong)

(photo courtesy of Jeremy Wong)

Next up, Disney’s Green Initiative is seen in full force, as the Genie, Lumiere and Tigger puppets from the World of Color pre-show are walked down the route. This leads into Monsters Inc. float, led by Sulley and a ton LCD doors. The clips of the characters dancing are all GIFs played forwards, then backwards, which is insufferable. Like, use a longer clip ya lazy bunches of lazy?! Either way the float is great, even though Mike on the end is, once again, just an animatronic. This is an issue that has plagued every Monsters Inc float since the dawn of the franchise. How about, I don’t know…leaving space for the real Mike to stand on it?

photo courtesy of

(photo courtesy of

Lightning McQueen kachows his way down the street, leading some creepy car people who seem to be auditioning to be the strobe lights at a future EDC festival (#NotACompliment). And then, the piece de resistance. Mac, in all his Ratzenberger glory! The LED globes on him create this sense of depth that Disney hasn’t witnessed since Atlantis tanked at the box office. THAT WAS A DOUBLE DEPTH PUN! *high fives self* The back of Mac holds DJ, who, if you remember the film correctly, was a complete and total hooligan. He made Lightning end up in Radiator Springs. He’s the reason he made Owen Wilson-the car get into this whole mess! So, let’s promote him with a key position on a “fun” float and his own dance party!


(photo courtesy of ddouangc)

Some “Coral Girls” (missed pun opportunity for The Little Mermaid franchise) are next, clearly trying too hard (So many things to hold!), to introduce Ariel and a bust of Triton that would make Bill Cosby jealous (#HollywoodStudios #SensitiveTopics #RavenSymone). Ariel has a microphone so she talks to the crowd as she swims by. And now, time for a PSA.

If you are a Disney character in a parade who feels necessary to be mic’ed giving you the ability to say some badly scripted line in a parade, don’t. It makes the crowd feel uncomfortable. For help combating the issue, call 1-800-IFEELWEIRD or 1-800-867-5309.

Her float is the biggest “embarrassment of riches,” as she gets entry dancers, her ginormous float, then exit dancers, along with Marlin and Nemo. How much did Ariel pay for all of this?! Did her sisters chip in? Does Flounder now have a ton of loans to pay off?! I’m worried for the economic well-being of the sea! Nemo, Marlin, how are you guys doing?

(photo courtesy of Jeremy Wong)

(photo courtesy of Jeremy Wong)

Uh-oh. Hopefully their pay rate for Finding Dory is good. Toy Story is next, featuring some cowgirls twirling around light up yo-yo type things, very similar to those kids that do it during lunch during every graduating high school class (you know who I’m talking about, don’t lie). Slinky houses Woody, Buzz, and huge Lite-Brite that is the fantasies of children…and me…a 19-year-old. (#NotAshamed) Slinky looks really thrilled, but for a multitude of reasons.

(photo courtesy of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings)

(photo courtesy of Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings)

The princesses follow Slinky, with some walking Chandeliers that Sia would go NUTS over. Belle’s dress is made up of a gadrillion LED lights, and seemed to have grown due to toxic waste (allegedly). Then, a cavalcade of fairy ballerinas (real thing), candelabras on wheels (real thing), and various princesses. Rapunzel’s wig is SO BAD, but it’s one of my favorite sections of the parade otherwise. However, it’s time for another PSA.

Dear Disney,

You have two princesses as part of your brand that you seem to have misplaced. Mulan and Pocahontas are both willing and able to star in any parade, fireworks or other nighttime show available. Please allow them to.



Marshal Knight (aka Pocahontas’ #1 Fan)



Frozen is up next. They have mics too. Olaf becomes a third wheel. The float is pretty. Anna and Elsa must be tired. Have they had a break in a year and a half? They are probably trying to injure themselves to get workers comp. They just want a leave of absence! LET THEM HAVE A VACATION, IGER!

(photo courtesy of disneytouristblog)

(photo courtesy of disneytouristblog)

Finally, Mickey joins the fun and is all “Bow Down, losers,” as he appears with Goofy, Donald and Minnie atop glowing orbs, himself atop an LED curtain, and a giant swirling vortex of lights, that screams “I have more money than you!” I still don’t understand how the vortex works, and I just watched it for 4 and a half hours on loop. If I can figure that out, I can probably solve the energy crisis.

(photo courtesy of themeparkinsider)

(photo courtesy of themeparkinsider)

It’s an incredible addition to Disneyland’s nighttime line-up, and far and away the best addition for the 60th. Head out to Disneyland Park nightly to check it out!

Marshal Knight
Marshal Knight is a pop culture writer based in Orlando, FL. For some inexplicable reason, his most recent birthday party was themed to daytime television. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.