Mul­ti­me­dia spec­ta­cle high­light of di­a­mond an­niver­sary

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - TRAVEL - By Steve MacNaull

WITH the first chord of mu­sic, a hun­dred spot­lights punc­tu­ate the sky and form a gi­nor­mous di­a­mond high above.

Noth­ing less dra­matic would do for Dis­ney­land’s di­a­mond an­niver­sary.

My 12-year-old daugh­ter, Grace, and I are stand­ing in the dark with thou­sands of oth­ers as the theme park in Ana­heim, Calif., de­buts its Dis­ney­land For­ever fire­works show.

Call­ing it a fire­works show is a bit of a mis­nomer.

It’s re­ally an in­te­grated, mul­ti­me­dia night­time spec­tac­u­lar with the iconic Sleep­ing Beauty Cas­tle used as a pro­jec­tion screen for Dis­ney movie snip­pets, while the ac­com­pa­ny­ing mu­sic blares and a choreographed light show and fire­works ex­plode si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

The 14-minute show is a trib­ute to the com­pany’s great­est hits, from oldies such as Mary Pop­pins and Jun­gle Book, to more re­cent hits like Find­ing Nemo and Frozen, and, of course, Dis­ney’s main man, Mickey Mouse.

The oc­ca­sion is Dis­ney­land’s 60th birth­day.

My daugh­ter and I feel like the most VIP of VIPs at this di­a­mond-themed bash.

Not only are we treated to the amped-up fire­works, but we are mes­mer­ized as the new Paint the Night pa­rade rolled by just min­utes ear­lier com­plete with Dis­ney dancers, char­ac­ters and floats fes­tooned with 1.5 mil­lion mul­ti­coloured LED lights.

There’s also the new World of Color night­time wa­ter­works, mu­sic and light ex­trav­a­ganza at ad­ja­cent Dis­ney Cal­i­for­nia Adventure Park.

Un­like most birth­day par­ties, which only see a day of cel­e­bra­tion, this Dis­ney tri­fecta will be re­peated ev­ery night for the next year.

This is where Dis­ney ex­cels, in mak­ing peo­ple feel spe­cial, emo­tional, nos­tal­gic and en­ter­tained, all at the same time.

Turn­ing a birth­day into a 365-day mile­stone is ge­nius.

It gives Dis­ney the chance to shine and es­ca­late the par­ty­goer count to up­wards of 20 mil­lion over the year.

“The Hap­pi­est Place on Earth just be­came a lit­tle hap­pier,” said Bob Iger, the CEO of the Walt Dis­ney Com­pany, while kick­ing off the di­a­mond ju­bilee.

“Walt would be so proud,” said Dis­ney­land vice-pres­i­dent Mary Niven.

“Th­ese 60th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions are a nod to the past, but also push imag­i­na­tion and in­no­va­tion.”

It’s hard to be­lieve in 1955 a for­mer or­ange grove in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia would be trans­formed into the planet’s most fa­mous theme park.

Not only has Dis­ney­land ex­panded, im­proved and set trends over the decades, it spawned Dis­ney World in Florida in 1971 and Dis­ney­lands in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong and, next year, Shang­hai.

The party doesn’t stop with the three night­time shows. The di­a­mond theme is ev­ery­where. Sleep­ing Beauty Cas­tle is blinged out day and night, and rides like the Mat­ter­horn roller-coaster, Peter Pan’s Flight and Haunted Man­sion have been re­vamped.

It’s an ex­cuse to in­tro­duce more than 500 di­a­mond-in­spired pieces of mer­chan­dise from be­daz­zled Mickey Mouse ears hats for $18 to a real­dia­mond-and-sap­phire cas­tle neck­lace for $4,800.

There’s also an­niver­sary food, from cup­cakes and cook­ies to choco­lates and rice crisp squares.

Of course, all the amuse­ment-park favourites that keep us com­ing back to Dis­ney­land are still around.

As such, my daugh­ter and I go on a thrill-ride blitz.

There’s noth­ing like the corkscrew of the Cal­i­for­nia Screamin’ roller­coaster; the el­e­va­tor-drop scream­fest of Tower of Ter­ror; the swing­ing Mickey’s Fun Wheel fer­ris wheel; moun­tain mad­ness roller-coaster fun on the Mat­ter­horn; space ship chase Star Tours; hurl­ing through the pitch black on Space Moun­tain; and be­ing out of con­trol on the Thun­der Moun­tain Rail­road.

We stayed at the lux­u­ri­ous Grand Cal­i­for­nian Ho­tel, which is right on the Dis­ney­land grounds, for handy ac­cess to the theme park, day and night.


The hy­per-il­lu­mi­nated Mack Truck from the movie Cars, is one of the stand­outs in the new Paint the Night pa­rade.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.