At last, almost 20 years later, a new nighttime parade has hit the streets of Disneyland, and as it turns out, it's pretty spectacular what new technology can do.
Paint the Night, one of three new nighttime spectaculars for Disneyland's 60th Anniversary, is jam-packed with visual splendor and is consistently entertaining from start to finish. It's BRIGHT - almost blinding at times, thanks to the more than 1.5 million LED lights, neon, strobes and other special effects.
I especially enjoyed Sorcerer Mickey's kinetic sculpture at the very end - I could stare at that thing for hours. Entertainers wear elaborate costumes that are themed to each float and light up in sync with the music and choreography. One of my favorites was the jellyfish following the Little Mermaid float, with long glowing tendrils that spin and twirl.
Fans like me who are nostalgic for the Main Street Electrical Parade will appreciate nods to the original, like the big drum at the beginning of the parade, and the infectious "Baroque Hoedown" song, mixed in with Owl City's tune "When Can I See You Again?" which you might remember from the end credits of Wreck-It Ralph.
If I have any criticism, it's that the characters and films represented in the parade are the obvious choices, but not necessarily the *best* choices. "Paint the Night" first debuted at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2014, and Disneyland got the same parade with the addition of a Frozen float. That probably worked out great for Hong Kong, but in Anaheim it's strange to see Mack the truck from Pixar's Cars rolling down Main Street USA when Cars Land is in the theme park next door. The Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. floats also feel somewhat redundant at this resort, considering that California Adventure has a daytime parade entirely dedicated to Pixar. Wouldn't it be more interesting to see the video game world of Wreck-It Ralph, or the San Fransokyo skyline of Big Hero 6, brought to life with snazzy electric lights, instead of the same characters from the same films used over and over again?
Nevertheless, I was mesmerized by "Paint the Night" and I enjoyed seeing an old friend made new again. It pays tribute to its predecessor while updating the tech considerably, with newer characters and films, and stunning lighting effects galore, all set to a toe-tapping pop beat that feels fresh but not out of place at Walt Disney's original Magic Kingdom.
I'm thankful that the show stop was eliminated from Hong Kong's version - nothing kills the momentum of this parade and it's all high-energy goodness from start to finish. My childhood memories have returned, even brighter and shiner than I remember.
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