A few (ok, actually a LOT) more details on the What’s New presentation last week.
The presentation began with our host Russ Marchand introducing Summer Nightastic! – Disneyland will be the hottest place for kids and adults this summer. (All of the nighttime activities described below start on June 12.)
Jill Estorino, Senior Vice President of Marketing was the first guest. This summer Disneyland wants to make the night sparkle even more – “when the sun goes down, things light up.” There will be new glow-in-the-dark merchandise and even glowing drinks. The TLT Dance Club at the Tomorrowland Terrace will feature entertainment 7 nights a week, with dance club DJs Monday-Thursday and live bands Friday-Sunday. Trivia games and other activities will offer something to appeal to the whole family.
She also spoke about the new Summer Fun Pass for Southern California and Northern Baja residents. This is a three-day park hopper for only $99. It is valid for 45 days from first use (a LOT longer than the usual 13 days!), which must occur between June 1 and August 23, 2009. The pass is available to residents in zip codes 90000-93599 and 21000-22999. Proof of residency is required for purchase. The tickets will be available at Disneyland.com, Disney Stores and the Disneyland ticket offices, and also at Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Gelsons, Dearden’s and Toys ‘R’ Us. (It’s highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance either on-line or at one of the above-mentioned outlets to avoid lines at the ticket booths.) $33/day for a park hopper? That’s a great deal!
The lights dimmed in the room, which was suddenly filled with the sounds of the Baroque Hoedown. One of the spinning turtles from the Electrical Parade came into the room, as did several of the light-costumed lords and ladies from the parade who posed artfully on the steps leading up to the stage. As the lights came up the “lord” on the top step removed his glowing jacket – and it was our next speaker, Denny Newell, Senior Show Director.
Disney’s Electrical Parade is being spruced up for the summer, with some new elements added, and some older elements that are returning. The Baroque Hoedown music has been enhanced – it’s mixed better with deeper lows and higher highs.
A new Tinker Bell float will now lead off the parade – “a fairy’s Magic lights the way.” The float has state-of-the-art LED lighting, with 160 dimmers on that float alone to provide all kinds of different lighting effects. There are new LED lights on all of the floats, and also on the costumes. This new technology gives them more control over the lighting to better choreograph it to the music.
The Cheshire Cat on the Alice in Wonderland float has been redesigned, and now he can really disappear. He’s obviously a cat now instead of a “pink…pile”.
Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship is a foot-and-a-half taller, and the skull on the front of the ship glows with internal LED lights.
Updated versions of three floats are returning to the parade – Snow White’s Diamond Mine and the two Pinocchio Pleasure Island floats. They were part of the parade when it left Disneyland in 1996 but did not return when it came back to Disney’s California Adventure in 2001.
Denny Newell also spoke about Pixie Hollow Enchantment.
Normally Pixie Hollow closes in the evening, but during the summer it will be open, as the fairies transform the queue area and pond into a Festival of Pixies. The “Light Talent” fairies will light up the trees while the “Animal and Garden Talent” fairies light up the grounds, and the “Water Talent” fairies light up the water with fountains and pop jets lit with fiber optic lights. There will be a 90 second show choreographed to music about every 15 minutes.
Next up was a short skit on the two big summer vacation specials – the $99 Park Hopper I mentioned above, and the “Two Nights Free” vacation package. Those who purchase vacation packages including lodging and tickets at the Disneyland Hotels and selected Good Neighbor hotels will get two additional nights and two more days of park hopper tickets for free. This offer is good for stays at the Disneyland Hotels starting immediately, and for stays at the Good Neighbor Hotels starting on May 1. It’s valid through 9/26/09, and packages must be booked by 8/11/09. I checked, and these are the “Select” Good Neighbor Hotels:
Best Western Pavilions
Best Western Raffles Inn & Suites
Best Western Stovall’s Inn
Carousel Inn & Suites
Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim
Fairfield Inn Anaheim
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
Jolly Roger Hotel
Red Lion Anaheim Maingate
Residence Inn Anaheim Resort
The agent I spoke to said things are booking quickly, and you’ll pay less if you book a Monday-Friday stay and avoid the higher weekend prices.
The lights dimmed again, as the psychedelic glow-in-the-dark monkeys from Fantasmic! made their appearance, ushering in Carla Carlile, Show Director who spoke about the updated Fantasmic! show.
All of the animation on the water screens has been converted to high-definition and will be projected with HD digital projectors.
There’s a new crocodile that will be swimming along behind the pirate ship – he is more animated and will be able to jump toward and snap at Captain Hook.
There are two new Cast Members – during the Ursula portion, Flotsam and Jetsam will make their debut. They will appear to slither on the water. Each has a Honda personal watercraft inside so they are quick-moving and maneuverable. Designed by Michael Curry, they are partly automated, partly manual: their eyes and heads move and their mouths (with all of those pointy eel teeth!) open and close.
And there is a new 3-D dragon – a dragon that finally looks like the dragon we’ve been seeing on the Fantasmic! logo all these years. 40 feet tall and fully automated, it weighs 10,000 pounds. Some of the pieces had to be air-lifted into place with a helicopter.
She showed stop-animation sequence of the maquette as it flapped its wings, drew up to full height, and then leaned down to breathe fire on the water. I thought it was pretty impressive when the dragon puppet did this before, but this is going to a whole other level. As Carla said: “HD means Huge Dragon!”
Our final speaker was Steven Davison, Vice President of Parades and Spectaculars. (And that has got to be one of the coolest job titles ever!) He made his entrance to a burst of fireworks from either side of the stage.
Magical is the name of the new fireworks show. The score is by Greg Smith, who also did the score for Wishes, and features an 80-piece orchestra and a choir. Eden Espinosa, who was a featured performer at Disneyland prior to her appearance as Elphaba on Broadway, is the featured soloist.
The show is divided into six different sections. Tinker Bell flies over the castle to lead off the show in the Neverland – The Magic of Childhood opening accompanied to the music of “Second Star to the Right”.
Gepetto wishes upon a star and Blue Fairy pyrotechnics light up the sky in the Pinocchio – The Magic of a Wish section. Musical selections include “An Actor’s Life for Me”, “Give a Little Whistle”, and “I’ve Got No Strings”. Eden sings the following lyrics at the end:
“Make a wish on a shooting star
Wish for magic and see who you are.
Because if you don’t believe
That things that you see are so unbelievably
Wishes make your dreams come true.”
Mary Poppins and The Magic of Imagination follow, with the music of Chim-chim-chirree, Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Let’s Go Fly a Kite, and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
In the following video clip, Steven Davison acts out part of the Mary Poppins segment. When he refers to the “9-line”, he’s talking about the 9-position launchers behind ToonTown. And “the castle” refers to the launchers there.
Don’t you feel like you’ve seen part of the show now??? Is this a man who loves his job or what?
In Dumbo – The Magic of a Mother’s Love, Eden sings “Baby Mine” as Dumbo himself flies slowly over the castle. He is a fully-articulated character created by Michael Curry, and will be highlighted by search lights that have been added to the castle. It sounds like this part of the show will bring tears to most eyes.
The first finale is called The Magic of a Kiss and features the songs “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”, “So This is Love”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Once Upon a Dream”.
The real finale features the original song, Magical, sung by Eden and the choir, with Tinker Bell making a final appearance. And for the rest of it, well, I’ll let Steven describe it for you:
Whew. He had to be exhausted after that!
In the audience we got a confetti shower, and the presentation ended as our presenters took their bows.
It was really a great show – I’d have to say it was definitely the highlight of my day. Lots of “WOW” moments!
I know where I’m going to be on June 12!