The top three nominees in this category are the obvious candidates - Fantasmic!, World or Color and IllumiNations. For the remaining two slots, I've included Wishes and Remember, the fireworks shows at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, respectively. But rather than split the votes of fireworks fans for two shows that most casual observers would consider relatively similar (fireworks coordinated with a castle light show), I decided to present them as a single entry. That opened the final space for Disney's Electrical Parade.
Why no entrants from non-Disney theme parks? Timing, alas. Universal's closed its CineSphere show, but not yet opened its replacement. Running this tournament in the winter and spring, when many of the regional parks are between shows, kept them out of the running, too.
But what we have here are some awesome shows, each one worthy of the title of Best Nighttime Spectacular. It's up to you now to choose which one will win. Voting will be open for 24 hours.
Fantasmic! - at Disneyland, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Tokyo DisneySea
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth - at Epcot
Main Street Electrical Parade - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Wishes/Remember - Fireworks at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland
World of Color - at Disney California Adventure [with video]
Tomorrow: I'll announce the match-ups and brackets for Round Two and beyond.
It was a tie between Illuminations and World of Color. Illuminations won out because Illuminations is...I don't have a reason.
I have a soft-spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade of my childhood, and I still smile whenever I hear the theme music pop up on one of my Disney mixes. But I don't think its current version would live up to my memories.
So I voted for Illuminations. The fireworks are great and I love the laser imagery over the Earth sphere.
I do not feel the "regular" version of Illuminations is the best "Nighttime Spectacular", however, the holiday version of Illuminations with the second finale narrated by Walter Cronkite is the best "Nighttime Spectacular" at any theme park in Orlando anyway. It starts the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs through the first week of the new year (approx dates).
I am very surprised as well that Wishes is not scoring better on the vote. The big caveat to Wishes is I personally feel you don't get nearly the same show from direct stage right, left, or obviously behind the castle. For some readers that may not know, Wishes pyro is let loose from two areas with the second being outside the rear of the park. The other layer is at the castle. I know what you are thinking...."they're up in the sky! Why would it matter?" but I swear it makes a difference.
But let's face it, the Big Three here are a Murderer's Row. It'd be hard for any fireworks show to compete with them. FWIW, I went with World of Color, with Fantasmic! a close second for me (pretty much just due to age). I haven't liked IllumiNations since they dumped the national-themed classical music years ago.
As for the voting, personally I wouldn't want to see the results before I vote. Sometimes people vote for what's popular. Or they vote AGAINST something that's popular. I'd rather have everyone place a vote for something after they've thought about why they're choosing something and not influenced by who's winning or losing.
While I love the music of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, that lull in the middle where you may or may not see video on the globe needs a World of Color-style injection. If WDW added more fountains to the middle of this show, it would be amazing. And while I love World of Color, there are a couple of passages where it doesn't quite work as well as it could (I'm talking to you, POTC 4 segment). And it doesn't have the mix of elements of the other two shows.
I'd certainly imagine that a new fireworks show will be on the way by next year when the new Fantasyland is running.
And I thought about Magic, Memories & You for the fifth spot, but it seems as Disney's treating it like a preshow for Wishes rather than its own thing, so I went with MSEP. (MMY isn't even listed on the daily online show sked for the MK.)
As long as you are remotely close to the lagoon during Illuminations, it is an extremely visceral experience. In addition to it looking and sounding awesome, and the music really fitting the ebb and flow of the visuals, you can pretty much "feel" every firework.
The only other experience I've had like that in a Disney park was on the main street of The Studios during their New Year's Eve firework show, which was amazing as well.
Anyway, I've probably seen Illuminations 10 times over the years, and have definitely experienced this "visceral" feeling about it at least 8 times. The only times it wasn't true were when the park was so mobbed that we had to stand way back near the Canada pavilion or similar.
And I didn't vote here. I haven't seen these (except for the Disney Electrical Parade..I think..when I was a kid) On the rare occasions I'm at a park when a night-time show is on, I'm trying to get my last coaster rides.
Fantasmic: This one gets my vote. It really is an excellent show, incorporating many different elements (live action, animatronics, pyrotechnics, water screens...even a few of the park's rides in the Disneyland version). I will always stop to watch this if it is playing, especially the last portion of the show (from when the villians appear onward). This is my second favorite Theme Park show in general.
World of Color: I saw it once, and I won't see it again until they get rid of the silly Showpass system. It really seemed like an overly long fountain show mixed with trailers for Pixar movies. There is only so much you can do with water, and I really think this would be a much better show if it was 10-12 minutes and a best of versus 27 minutes with way too much of a focus on the water screen.
Remember...Dreams Come True: Although my favorite firework show, it is still just a firework show. There is no way this can compete with the other competitors.
Main Street Electrical Parade: The original version of this would have gotten my vote, but the current version is condensed with several missing floats and a couple alternate ones. Plus, they replaced the old electronic soundtrack with a more orchestral one, which does not fit the parade at all.
The world of color show itself is really nice but the whole world of color "experience" with the cattle call and people stepping over each other and pushing people out of the way is horrible. No show is worth how some people act getting into the viewing area.
We even had dinner at Ariel's grotto so we wouldn't have to deal with the FP bull(which is another pet peeve of mine) but it didn't matter, you still had to wait with everyone else and then you just got corralled into your proper colored viewing area.
It's a shame that they created such a nice show then dropped the ball with crowd control. A show that nice and %75 of the viewing area is off target.
Sorry, I'll get off of my soapbox now .
Seriously, I have to wonder what you guys are thinking...
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