Disneyland Looks to Take Animation Fans on 'Wondrous Journeys'

January 26, 2023, 1:04 PM · Tonight - weather permitting - Disneyland will preview its new nighttime spectacular, Wondrous Journeys, for invited media and cast members.

The new show celebrates 100 years of Walt Disney Animation through projections and, on select nights, fireworks. I spoke with Roger Gould, Creative Director for Walt Disney Animation Studios, about the show in advance of its preview tonight.

Earlier this morning, creators behind the show shared their thoughts about it with invited reporters in Disneyland's Main Street Opera House.

"What it is, is following the journey of the artist [and] the journey of the studio through the journey of our characters, and, therefore, us," Jordan Peterson, Show Director for Disney Live Entertainment, said of Wondrous Journeys. "That seems like high concept, but the idea there is that everyone starts with some sort of dream.

"A lot of those animators grew up dreaming to be a part of something, like Pinocchio, and it starts with a pencil on a piece of paper. And then from there, your dream grows, and you start to see it come to life before your eyes, and you see come to fruition, and you're seeing your creative concept, and you put in the hard work that goes into that. And then eventually you're soaring, right? Because you're just like, oh my God, I'm doing this - I'm actually doing it.

"But then for all of us, eventually, self doubt creeps in there. Outside forces creep in and tell you that you're not good enough. This isn't good enough. You start to not believe in that dream again, and the world falls apart around you. For us, we quite literally break the world around you in the show. Main Street and the castle start to crumble before your eyes, and you're grasping as it starts to disappear in your fingers. You watch that vision fall apart because every artistic journey goes through that.

"It doesn't matter. There's never one that starts and it's like - oh, it's perfect the whole way. There's a moment that you lose something, and to see that, how we can reflect that in the moments of our characters' journeys? There's Tarzan's slamming into the water for that moment, or Simba looking into the reflectiveness of the water and things disappeared.

"But, at the end, you realize that you're surrounded by loved ones. You're surrounded by your friends, your family - and in this case, your colleagues - that pick you up and help you believe in that dream and believe in your ability to bring it to life and rebuild the pieces. And then you get to deliver it to the world - and it's wonderous when you do."

Mickey Mouse in Wondrous Journeys
Photos courtesy Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty in Wondrous Journeys

Coco in Wondrous Journeys

Encanto in Wondrous Journeys

Main Street projections in Wondrous Journeys

Here is a highlight reel from Disneyland, just in case tonight's show gets, uh, blown away by high winds.

Wondrous Journeys premieres to the public tomorrow night at Disneyland, as the resort kicks off the public debut of its celebration of The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary.

More from Disneyland

For our coverage of yesterday's media previews of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway and World of Color - One, please see Take Two's a Keeper for Mickey & Minnie's Runway Railway and Show Review: Disney's New World of Color - One. Each post includes full video of those experiences.

If you want to see them for yourself in real life, our travel partner is offering discounted multi-day tickets to the parks, including a three-day local resident deal, on its Disneyland tickets page.

And for more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider's weekly newsletter.

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