Are Disney's Nighttime Shows Becoming Too Similar?

June 26, 2019, 7:30 PM

With the recent update of Rivers of Light and the impending closure of Illuminations, I'm left wondering if Disney's famous nighttime spectaculars might be becoming too similar. By the end of next year, all 4 parks will feature animated feature films as the centerpiece of their shows. While I'm not necessarily one to get mad about IP, I think it's worth considering if they're doing themselves a disservice. Will people feel the need to see all 4 shows if they are largely the same, but with different films highlighted.

I'll get down off my soapbox now, just wondering what you all think.

Replies (6)

June 27, 2019, 9:03 AM

I think there is that risk. That said, maybe it's what people want. When I saw the Rivers of Light Show, to be honest I found it a bit flat, had it had more Disney characters and music in it, would I have enjoyed it more - maybe.

The thing is they need a night show in each park to spread the crowds, whether they are different or similar. As it is, when I went to the Magic Kingdom in late September 2017 (which is supposed to be a quieter time) it was so crowded and uncomfortable watching the night show, despite the bigger and more open hub area. I think ever since the night parade (MSEP) went, it has made the fireworks show more busy.

I can't help but wonder if we are going to end up seeing more projection mapping and less fireworks - that would make it very samey for me

June 27, 2019, 2:06 PM

Not at Disneyland! But, we're always better over here on the West Coast anyway. :-P

June 27, 2019, 5:34 PM

I'm a big fan of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, but I agree that it is time for a change. I'm just hoping the new show will be a step up from what we have in World of Color. Don't get me wrong; the technology that drives WOC is fantastic, but I don't feel like the show is especially special. Perhaps because it feels like an extremely fancy clip show.
Perhaps because the music is nothing really original. I have lots of Disney music on my iPod (yes - iPod) and I find I listen to Illuminations (and Tapestry of Nations) more than any of the other night time spectaculars. I want something truly unique in a night time show. Thinking back however, that's never been what Disney has gone for outside of Illuminations and Rivers of Light, which I have never seen in person.

Fingers crossed whatever goes into the World Showcase Lagoon is a worthy replacement. For I still long to gather around the fire — as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us — to share the light, and to share a story. (Blows out fire)

July 1, 2019, 9:20 AM

Disneyland Paris' illuminations and disneyland shangai's ignite the dream are essentially the same show with some slightly different scenes to represent the countries. I don't understand why Paris got rid of disney dreams as I thought that was one of the best nightime shows and helped pave the way for disneyland forever and happily ever after.
At least all versions of fantastic are unique.

Edited: July 1, 2019, 11:51 AM

I also feel like there's an increasing "sameness" with the different nighttime shows. However, it doesn't really matter when you think about the reasons they exist. These shows are purposely designed to keep crowds through the evening hours, almost forcing guests to have dinner in the parks. Disney could put nearly identical shows set against the varying backdrops of their theme parks, and guests would still hang around to watch. Universal is slowly learning this, and reaping the benefits of these nighttime spectaculars with shoulder to shoulder crowds jamming viewing areas well past sunset.

July 1, 2019, 1:41 PM

I don't think Universal is slowly learning this. There were circumstances that worked against UO from having popular nighttime spectaculars. Primarily their location and restrictions placed on them for big pyrotechnical displays. Until recently, the state of the art in nighttime shows was huge massive fireworks shows. It's something UO just wasn't able to do on a nightly basis.
Now that projection mapping, fountains, drones and other technology has been invented UO is better able to produce nightly shows. There is still some pyro, but the low level stuff isn't really fantastic enough to hold folks in the park late. Combined with everything else now possible, and you've got something worth staying late for.
They also have the benefit of operating seven on property resorts. Something that matters in that now those guests are already spending the night very close by and there is no need to pack up and drive way down to Kississimme to the Holiday Inn.
I just really hope UO gets the night time parade USJ now has. It's amazing.




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