Disneyland 60th Celebration Part II: Disney California Adventure

Photos by Charly SHELTON Walt Disney’s legacy is the subject of the new nighttime spectacular, World of Color: Celebrate!
Photos by Charly SHELTON
Walt Disney’s legacy is the subject of the new nighttime spectacular, World of Color: Celebrate!


Last week, we delved into the new nighttime spectaculars at Disneyland park to see some new takes on old favorites. Now we head over to Disney California Adventure park to see the other new nighttime show which is an old take on a new favorite – World of Color: Celebrate!

The World of Color show debuted in 2010 as a new kind of water spectacular to light up the night after the Disney Electrical Parade left for Florida. For those unfamiliar with the show, it is like the dancing fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas combined with the motion and choreography of the Americana fountains nighttime show, with a little bit of Fantasmic water screen projections thrown in. All of these combine to create a jaw-dropping water and light show that takes guests on a journey through some of the most popular Disney films.

Now, after five years, the original show is retired and a new World of Color takes the stage, this time with two hosts – Mickey Mouse and Neil Patrick Harris.

This, as mentioned above, is an old take on a new favorite. Whereas many of the other updates and new attractions look to the future and push the boundaries of what can be done, World of Color: Celebrate! is a reverent look back at the history of Disneyland and the history of Walt Disney’s career. From black and white Mickey cartoons brought to life on the water screens to orange trees surrounding the site that will one day become Disneyland, this show is all about the nostalgia of Disney. It even includes family photos that guests have sent in to show their happiest moments at the Happiest place on Earth.

Condor Flats has been rethemed as Grizzly Peak Airfield and pays homage to search and rescue teams.
Condor Flats has been rethemed as Grizzly Peak Airfield and pays homage to search and rescue teams.

From there, NPH and Mickey take guests on a journey through time as some notable attractions are added to the park. All this is set to great renditions of some iconic Disney songs sung by NPH. There is, of course, a substantial “Frozen” portion with a big “Let It Go” sequence with dancing fog plumes in the audience. Though not really part of Disneyland, little kids go nuts. And since the little princesses get their due, the little Jedis get something as well – a huge trailer mashup of the new “Star Wars Episode VII” tacked onto the Star Tours sequence of the show’s park tour. These two long sequences, unfortunately, detract from an otherwise great show. It reminds park goers that although we love the Disney from our childhood and hold the nostalgia in high regard for what Walt built, the company is now a marketing maven. Much like the previous World of Color show, this can easily turn into a nighttime “trailer spectacular.” Gone are the days of a show being simply a show on its own like Fantasmic, which was as amazing in 1992 as it is today.

Despite the trailer and “Frozen” sequence shoehorned in, the overall show is pretty good. It feels like a real homage to Walt Disney, with his quotes and soundbites adeptly woven into the show.

Weighing this against the offerings at the other park, I would choose the Paint the Night electrical parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks over World of Color: Celebrate!

So nighttime is represented, but what about daytime activities? In Disney California Adventure park, the Condor Flats airfield-themed land, where Soarin’ Over California is located, has been rethemed. Being right next door to Grizzly Peak – home of Grizzly River Run and the iconic bear shaped mountain – it seems fitting to combine the two lands into one larger area. Grizzly Peak Airfield gives a feeling of an airfield high up in the mountains, an outpost for search and rescue personnel who stand ready at a national park in case of emergency. Soarin’ is still there, updated with new equipment including 4K projectors. The area’s only dining option has been rethemed to fit the new land – Smokejumpers Grill. It serves burgers, dogs and similar fare, all while honoring those brave men and women who run in when others run out. The “Planes” sequel, “Fire and Rescue,” deals with the smokejumpers and other search and rescue personnel, yet the land doesn’t force the movie down your throat. For those who have seen it, they will get the subtle references in Smokejumpers Grill, things that other guests assume is just more theming. It is so delicately played that guests can enjoy the land for what it is, whether they have seen the film or not.

Next week, we finish off the Disneyland 60th coverage with a look at what is new in Disneyland park attractions and what more is coming this summer.