Thursday, September 16, 2010

Disney touristy review: The World of Color at Disney California Adventure

When I was a little girl I remember sitting glued in front of the idiot box on Sunday nights watching Uncle Walt on the Wonderful World of Disney. (I'm 49, do the math, yes I'm old enough to remember Walt Disney). The anthem for the show was yet another brilliantly appropriate theme produced by the amazingly prolific Sherman Brothers. How thrilling that this is the inspiration for the Disney California Adventure nighttime spectacular World of Color.

I watched the Disney ustrream premiere and was blown away by the technical wonder on my iphone's tiny screen. Let me be blunt. All the you tube HD video in the known universe does not do this show justice. You must see it in person. In the wet zone. Where you will become damp.

Disney is a master at moving large crowds in a short amount of time (take lessons Islands of Adventure's Wizarding World of Harry Potter). There is prime standing room only viewing in Paradise Park. It is distributed by Fastpass which can be obtained three ways. There are dining packages at Ariel's Grotto and Wine Country Trattoria (book by phone), there are reasonably priced picnic dinners (order online up to 30 days in advance) and there are same day Fastpasses distributed at Grizzly River Run beginning 30 minutes before DCA opens if you are a hotel guest or at park opening for everyone else until they are gone.

We chose the picnic option. I ordered online exactly 30 days in advance. for $14 you get a choice of several different meals and a 20 ounce soda or water. You also get a reusable grocery tote bag. The fast passes for the picnics are for the first show of the night and are in the blue section. You return to the area between 7:30 and 8:30 and are directed to the correct color section.

If you are attending the first show you also get a Carnivale style preshow involving giant lit up puppets. 2 hyper-enthusiastic cast members sing and warm up the crowd for about 15 minutes. Then it's prepare for the lights going out and the Disney magic to begin.

World of Color uses water screens to project animation, fountains that dance and pulse, laser lights, LCD screens, fire, etc. to create one of the most amazing nighttime spectaculars I have ever seen. And I've seen a lot of them over the years. The show's only drawback is that, unlike Fantasmic, there is no storyline, it is simply vignettes of classic Disney and Pixar films, although the last 1/3 goes through danger, loss and the redemptive power of love (lots of kiss the girl scenes in the end). It is a joy to see not only the popular films of the past 20 years represented, but some more obscure entries, such as the Silly Symphony The Old Mill, Dumbo, and two sequences from the recent but rarely seen Fantasia 2000. The fountains do more than dance, they pulse, they create dimensionality and the flames, lasers, and animation only enhance the true stars of the show, the fountains.

Overall it is an amazing evening. I would have to say that it is easily number 3 on my all time favorite Disney Parks nighttime spectaculars. 1. the original Fantasmic which I was privileged to see the following night with the Murphy the dragon addition. (Murphy has since spectacularly broken down during a performance and it is unknown how long it will be before she returns)  2. Main Street Electrical Parade. 3. World of Color. It would rank higher if it had more of a story and if the water screens permitted crisper depictions of the animation.

Bottom line, YouTube and the like will whet your appetite, but you will only be fulfilled by seeing the show in person.

The reviewer saw the show on July 30 during the inaugural season.   As it is now Fall there are not as many showings per night.    Also, as of September 16, there are rumors that TRON Legacy is being added to the show in some fashion.   The beauty of the show is that it is very easy to add and remove sections and possibly create holiday themed versions.

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