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World of Color: Winter Dreams debuts at Disney California Adventure

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Published: November 14, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Disney California Adventure tonight premiered its latest incarnation of "World of Color": World of Color Winter Dreams.

World of Color Winter Dreams

Unlike most previous tweaks to California Adventure's nighttime fountain and projection show, Winter Dreams is a completely new production, featuring Olaf, the snowman from the upcoming Disney animated film Frozen. Olaf serves as host for the show, which kicks off with a new song, "Glow," written for and performed by a 150-member "Virtual Honor Choir" of online fans who recorded their parts separately, to be edited together for the performance.

Olaf the snowman

After this rather earnest introduction, it's Olaf's turn. After a quick welcome ("I love warm hugs!"), the silly snowman turns it over to Bambi and Thumper on that frozen pond, before Olaf's co-star Elsa the Snow Queen (voice of Idina Menzel) appears to belt her show-stopper "Let it Go."

A montage of Christmas cards (some created by fans) follows, along with the fountains' turn in the spotlight. But most of that's forgotten when the Toy Story characters appear to steal the show.

"Toy Story Nutcracker" blends Tchaikovsky's enduring ballet music with all the cheeky mayhem you'd expect from Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the gang. Sending up Disney's classic Fantasia treatment of the ballet as much as the original itself, the Little Green Men take the place of the dancing mushrooms for the (Chinese) Tea Dance, then Jessie and Buzz blend genres by getting their Tango on for a wild Waltz of the Flowers.

Olaf tries his darndest to follow, with a wistful ballad about getting to enjoy the summer ("Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle. But put me in summer and I'll be a — happy snowman!"), then by leading a wacky audience sing-a-long ("just follow my bouncing butt!"). Disney tries to push its multicultural buttons here, including the Dreidel Song and Feliz Navidad, along with Jingle Bells. A rousing finale completes the show, which is punctuated by the addition of 600 lights on the California Screamin' track and elsewhere along the Paradise Pier promenade.

One might expect a holiday show to tug at the heartstrings, especially when its the younger sibling of the original World of Color, which offers its share of gut-wrenching and tear-wringing moments. But, like its host, Winter Dreams gets more laughs than warm fuzzies. This is World of Color's funny younger brother, cracking up the family around the Christmas dinner table.

Update: Video is up!

Readers' Opinions

From Eric G on November 15, 2013 at 12:20 AM
"gut-wrenching and tear-wringing moments"

Ugh... you're talking about Fantasmic right?

Nothing in World of Color evokes any emotions at all. It's a technological wonder, but the show lacks substance and more importantly a story. If a montage of Disney clips brings tears to your face then I'm at a loss for words.

Clearly, they poured a lot of money into the technology, but forgot to budget anything for a script. Literally, anything would be an improvement in that lagoon and I look forward to seeing what Winter Dreams has to offer.

Even the departed Electrical Parade had far more substance, quality, and relevance than WoC and it was a dated parade.

From Jonah Sirota on November 15, 2013 at 8:42 AM
The new song's called "Glow," huh? I'm sure that is not meant to be a subtle subliminal advertisement for Glow With the Show mouse ears, right?
From James Rao on November 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Without being able to see the video, I don't know if the new show is any good, but I do know my family loved the non-holiday version of World of Color when we saw it for the first time a month or so ago. And I agree with Robert about the emotional highs and lows of the show as I commented in my DCA trip report/review earlier this month. My concern with World of Color continues to be the viewing area - it is just too small and disorganized for the masses of people who want to see the show. And if visitors do not get a good view they are not going to have a good experience. So, rather than introducing a new version of the show, I really wish Disney would spend money trying to fix the existing capacity problems instead. It just seems boneheaded to have a viewing area that can only hold 10% of the people who want to see the show!

Anyway, will check back later for the video....

From James Rao on November 15, 2013 at 6:03 PM
Watched the video and it was SPECTACULAR (even with the censored song). I can only imagine how terrific it would have been to see the show live. Most impressive. The Rao Family gives World of Color: Winter Dreams their "coveted" Seal of Approval! ;)
From 96.226.103.33 on November 17, 2013 at 4:55 PM
I am beyond honored to be a part of the honor choir. I just wish I had a clean copy of the video to view. I did not get any compensation for my voice. The least I would like is a way to hear it without going online. They picked 703 singers but I believe only 150 or so for the video. http://worldofcolorhonorchoir.com/honor-choir
From Sylvain Comeau on November 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM
It's true that WOC is little more than eye candy, but that's ok. Not everything needs a "story." Most so-called stories in theme park attractions are really just a thread holding together a variety of sensory experiences. WOC is big and spectacular, and really doesn't need any kind of narrative.
From Eric G on November 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM
James, the viewing area is a non-issue. It's plenty large enough, better organized than Fantasmic and offers better opportunities to get good spots without arriving as early. Your experience was an exception, not the norm. In fact, I regularly show up for the second show (when offered) without FastPass and get a prime spot right when the show begins. You didn't plan well.

I also don't understand what you found so confusing. There are five sections each with clearly marked entrances- Red, Yellow, Blue, Green (Dining) and VIP. Each section is clearly roped off, so if you don't duck under any ropes then you will stay within your assigned section. You can move basically front to back within the individual sections to stand on the various levels. Each section (except Green and VIP) has viewing levels at the water's edge if you don't mind getting wet. Blue contains the overrated bridge section.

Yes, the show needs a story because if you aren't familiar with many of the movies then it doesn't make any sense. Those scenes only mean something to someone who has seen the movie. Believe it or not, many people haven't seen all of the movies featured in WoC.

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