The nighttime spectaculars at the Disneyland Resort are back and they offer something for everyone. Whether it’s your first time to the parks, you’re on a family vacation, you’re spending the day with friends, or you’re a local who’s a repeat visitor, you have plenty to choose from, once the sun sets and the evening’s festivities kick off. Whether you decide to take in the “Main Street Electrical Parade“Now in its 50th anniversary, and the”Disneyland ForeverFireworks in Disneyland, orWorld of Color”At Disney California Adventure Park, there is something exciting to experience and discover. And if that’s not enough, Disney’s longest-running nighttime spectacular “Fantasmic!”Has returned to dazzle audiences for its 30th anniversary.
During a media event to explore all the current offerings at the Disneyland Resort, Collider got the opportunity to check out all the nighttime entertainment offerings at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. One of the most exciting aspects of the return of nighttime entertainment at the theme parks is really just the fact that it’s back. After being closed for 13 months at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the Disneyland Resort has been easing back into live entertainment, from parades to shows to fireworks, and to have several choices brings a sense of normalcy beyond the Disney magic that’s been there since. the gates reopened.
One of the things that makes these particular entertainment selections so special is that you can see them multiple times and discover different and new things. In the past, I’d always watched the Main Street Electrical Parade along Main Street USA, but this time around, I took it in from a whole new vantage point, on the platform in front of the train station, which really helped give a grandiose perspective of the floats and the parade in its entirety. And when it comes to the new grand finale float, inspired by Mary Blair’s iconic art style that’s seen in “It’s A Small World,” you’ll get to see different characters and stories, depending on which side you’re viewing the float from. .
It’s the same situation with the Disneyland Forever fireworks, where you can get different vantage points in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, positioned on Main Street USA, or over at It’s A Small World. I’ve also learned that your experience will change, depending on who you’re with and who’s around you. The adult gentleman in front of me, singing along to “Circle of Life” from The Lion King portion of the fireworks, as well as the young child in her Elsa costume who turned to her older sister and exclaimed, “This is the best day, ever !,” are just two examples of the effect that Disney magic can have on guests, which I find only enhances the experience for me.
While the Main Street Electrical Parade will always hold special place in my heart, primarily because it’s the first parade I remember seeing when taking trips to Disneyland with my family, and the fireworks are always spectacular, the biggest bang for your buck is Fantasmic! With three mist screens, each 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall, it’s part live character show and part water show, as Mickey Mouse dreams that he is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Everything that you see is from his imagination, bringing moments from beloved Disney stories to life on the Rivers of America and culminating with a battle with a 45-foot-tall, fire-breathing Maleficent dragon.
We not only got to experience these shows as part of this media event, but we also got the opportunity to chat with Wendy Ruth, a show director for Disney Live Entertainment. Ruth, herself, started out as a stage manager who grew up with the magic of Disneyland infused into her life, especially with the way that her own mother would have her experience the theme park. “I have a lot of cousins that are around the country and they would all come through California at different points,” she explained, “and my mom took it upon herself to be the unofficial tour guide of Disneyland because she had a special way that we saw the park. We would always go to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln because there was the Walt Disney story before it, and in that, they showed you how the Tiki birds worked. And then, we would go over and see the Tiki Room and she would say, ‘Look, the birds breathe.’ And then, we would go over to Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could see this evolution of technology and story that only existed at Disneyland. That was my experience, as a child. ”
Ruth went on to say that the workshop she’s recently opened for the Disney Imagination Campus that’s about technology at Disneyland applies a similar approach. “What do I make the kids do? They go to the Tiki Room, and then I take them to a different kind of bird, and they get to go see some behind the scenes at the Millennium Falcon. Technology has improved, but I still believe in that, and that is something that continues to drive me. As we do spectaculars and try to figure out how to bring that science and creativity together, along with the songs that people love and the stories that people love, and create experiences that are unforgettable, that’s what I enjoy doing. “
Theatrical traditions and new technology are seamlessly combined by the designers, technicians and maintenance folks that help keep the magic shining through a nighttime spectacular like Fantasmic! “The technology that you sometimes do not know is there is what makes the difference,” she explained. “Now 30 years later, we do Fantasmic! a little differently. For example, when I first started, there are lights on the boats that go around and there was a tech sitting on the barges, turning a dial up and down, so that they would turn on and then fade. Now, it’s all through the Cloud. It’s all run out of the control booth with technology that you do not see, but it makes the show run more consistently and better. “
It’s easy to see why a show like Fantasmic! has been so enduring. The live performance aspect makes the dance between Belle and Beast, Aladdin and Jasmine flying on a carpet, the pirates swinging in the air around the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the characters waving from the Mark Twain Riverboat that much more exciting to experience, on top. of the water screens, lights, and pyrotechnics. And after having to wait so long to see it again, the magic feels like it has a little extra twinkle while the lights feel like they shine just a little brighter.
Added Ruth, “We needed this, as people and as guests. I love to see the reactions. I went to see the Main Street Electrical Paradeand I stayed at It’s A Small World for Disneyland Forever. I got to see the people smiling and hear the kids singing, and there was actually a dad next to me, who was holding his baby and singing ‘Let It Go’ at the top of his lungs. I work at night, and a lot of times, it’s us in the ducks. We’re here alone. So, to have people come back, to hear them laugh and sing, and to see them dance, we needed this. The guests needed it. The world is a tough place, and at Disneyland, it does not have to be. ”
As is typical with any theme park happenings, there are special merchandise and food offerings, and there are special food and dessert packages that include reserved seating, so be sure to check out what’s available to you before you go and make a plan to help provide the best experience possible. Guests should keep in mind that the Disneyland Resort can be very packed and as long as COVID is still a part of our lives, I feel it necessary to mention that there is still a risk and, while not required, you might want to keep a mask in your pocket, if you do get uncomfortable in larger crowds or tighter spaces.
Check out more images from the event below: