“Disneyland Forever” isn’t just a fireworks show – it’s a full-fledged multi-media extravaganza using multiple park landmarks as its canvas. It’s fireworks on steroids, and it left me in complete sensory overload. There’s just far too many things to focus on at once, and I can’t wait to see it again from different areas of the park, as the show is designed to offer something different to see depending on where you’re located. For this show, I was standing in the northern half of Main Street USA, adjacent to Candy Kitchen.
The show opens with a bang when over 50 hidden spotlights from all over the park join together to form a magnificent multi-faceted diamond high in the sky. Then, the really good stuff begins. Projected imagery on the Main Street buildings allow orange trees to magically grow, and narration explains that over 60 years ago in this very spot, you would’ve been walking through an orange grove, just like Walt did when he first visited the site that would later become Disneyland. This was very moving for me, and a perfect way to start the show.
When I heard that projected imagery would be used heavily in “Disneyland Forever,” I was concerned it might come off as a cheesy gimmick, as it was for some of the park’s previous offerings using similar tech (the lackluster “The Magic, The Memories and You!” comes to mind). I needn’t have worried – in fact it stole the show, and anything from dancing monkeys to pink elephants to psychedelic beehives dance along in perfect sync to the music, without the slightest hiccup or distortion. The imagery itself is bright, beautifully rendered and is seamlessly integrated with the shapes of the buildings. At times it isn’t clear where you’re supposed to be looking, and more than once I had to consciously reorient myself to the fireworks exploding overhead, but it’s so clever and fun, I didn’t care.
“Disneyland Forever” explores several classic and contemporary Disney stories by taking us to their environment in new and imaginative ways, and always with a song. Inflatable seaweed rises up on top of the Main Street buildings during “Under the Sea”; chimney sweeps dance on rooftops and sing “Step In Time”; Nemo swims above Sleeping Beauty Castle towards the Matterhorn, reimagined as Mount Wannahockaloogie, complete with an erupting top; snow that smells like cinnamon falls overhead as Elsa belts out “Let It Go”.
The music is magnificent, and each scene transitions perfectly to the next. I couldn’t help but sing and dance along in spite of myself, even while rubbing shoulders with a crowd of rather stiff reporters, not to mention show creator Steve Davison, Disneyland President Michael Colglazier, Disney COO Tom Staggs and other important people were in attendance that evening. Hey, what’s the point if I can’t have a little fun?
“Disneyland Forever” is feast for the eyes and the senses. It left me stunned and in awe, it gave me goosebumps and feels, but best of all, it’s insanely fun. It’s far more than a fireworks show has any right to be. When Walt created his park, he knew you have to give the paying public more than they expect, and that’s 100 percent true for this show. It’s the perfect kiss good-night to a fun-filled day at Disneyland.
Editor's note: Video to come!
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