'Magic Happens' with Disneyland's next-generation parade

February 27, 2020, 4:53 PM · Disneyland’s new parade, Magic Happens, struts down Main Street USA like Mickey’s Drag Race. Fueled by a new theme song from Rupaul’s Drag Race veteran Todrick Hall, Magic Happens delivers non-stop energy illustrated with engaging new floats and choreography.

Let's put it this way — I realized soon after the parade started that my camera was shaking because I was tapping my foot too hard with the music. It's that much fun to listen to. And there's even more to see in Magic Happens, too. The parade delivers some fresh Disney characters and properties, but even the familiar ones get richly detailed floats, costumes and dancing that keeps the energy flowing throughout.

Music starts at 2:03. Blame Disney's copyright bot for silencing the new theme song online.

Like its predecessor, Mickey's Soundsational Parade, the show kicks off with Mickey Mouse. But while nostalgia fueled that production, Magic Happens feels more like a parade from and for another generation.

There's the "Drag Race" influence in music, dance and makeup. But there's also a step forward in float design, too, with a thoughtful mix of animatronics, media, and even enough floral and plant themes to make me think I was back in Pasadena watching a Disney-driven Rose Parade.

Want another holiday reference? Let's try Easter, because there are enough Easter eggs in here to cover the White House lawn. Watch out for Hei Hei, popping up from a roving basket in the Moana unit, or Dante the dog from Coco, popping up in real-life and spirit form along the marigold bridge that dominates that float.

Magic Happens even treats Elsa - one of Disney's biggest current stars - as an Easter egg, hiding her behind the forest in the Frozen 2 float. But while it's fun to watch for new stars such as Merlin and King Arthur, make an effort to watch the dancers surrounding the various floats, because there are some wonderful moves to be seen here, too.

The conceit is that we're seeing the moments in Disney stories when the magic happens, from a pumpkin becoming a royal coach in Cinderella to Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone. But with its spot-on mix of music, motion and energy, the magic happens throughout this welcomed new production.

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Replies (3)

February 27, 2020 at 7:27 PM

The parade does not have as much heart as Soundsational. It’s missing the performance and show aspect. BUT...that song is CATCHY! When can I stream it over and over? It’s so good!!!

February 28, 2020 at 11:51 AM

Definitely isn't my bag in design or music... but maybe it will distract enough people from forming lines at the things I do enjoy. So, on that note, wow it looks amazing and everyone should go and watch it as many times as possible!

February 29, 2020 at 4:41 PM

The parade looks good and all, but it seems to me like they blew the budget on the first half of the floats and then had to come up with smaller-scale pieces for the second half.

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