Disneyland Diamond Anniversary – Additional Details


If you watched the Diamond Anniversary Q&A video that we posted (below) then you already know most of this. If you didn’t, then this blog is a collection of facts, musings, quotes, and other things that I found interesting in that session.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I think this anniversary is all about silicon and not diamonds. 🙂 Which I think is terrific, since I’m a geek at heart, and I love that Disney uses the latest technology, and develops their own cutting edge technology, to create magic. What’s the saying? “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” (Arthur C. Clarke) Not to diminish magic, but technology has always been an integral part of many of Disney’s “magical” experiences. But at the heart of all of that technology is endless imagination, and what’s more magical than that?

And there’s so much technological magic in these new anniversary events! It was really fun to hear Steve Davison, Executive for Parades and Spectaculars (and how cool a title is THAT?) speak not so much the technology itself, but how they will use it to tell the stories. John Addis, show director for Disneyland Forever, said this: “Story is up there foremost. Innovations, the technology, everything else, but if it doesn’t have that heart in the story – that’s what we’re striving for so that there’s a narrative that we all believe in, that everybody can understand, that touches everyone’s heart.”

Another thing that I took away from the announcements: Disney recognizes that they are dealing with a new generation of tech-savvy kids. Davison had this to say about Paint the Night: “To have it come down Main Street USA again for this new generation, but really inspired by the original…we’re taking it to that next level for today’s kids.” And with that in mind, most of the characters and floats are from newer movies familiar to this generation of children.

So now a few random things…

“Immersive”, “dazzling”, and “brilliant”. We’re going to hear those words a lot. 🙂

The Diamond Celebration opens May 22, but has no closing date. It will be “a long celebration.” 🙂

As the three new shows are nighttime offerings, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade will continue to operate as the daytime parade. Fantasmic! will also continue performances on the Rivers of America. In November and December the evening holiday shows, “Believe…in Holiday Magic” and “World of Color – Winter Dreams” will not be offered this year, but the “A Christmas Fantasy” parade will return as usual.

Disneyland Forever will be 12-14 minutes long and World of Color – Celebrate! will be 22-24 minutes long. The new World of Color show will be “very different” according to Executive Producer Sayre Wiseman, though she did not elaborate on that.

Tracy Halas, choreographer for Paint the Night, when asked what people should expect, said “Brilliance.” 🙂 Steve added: “It’s very bright”, and indicated that they had to turn it down. Tracy went on to say: “What’s really interesting and inspiring about this parade is that every person, every float, every part of it is seamless from beginning to end. Everything is a beautiful, spectacular, visual sight.”

I’m really fascinated by some of the things we heard about the parade – apparently the floats are smart and interact with the costumes, everybody has a computer on board, and everything communicates with everything else.

Steve Davison said he really wanted to bring the Electrical Parade back to Disneyland. Other than the drum there are no returning parade elements from the original parade, but it’s the “biggest, coolest drum you’ve probably ever seen.” And the “Baroque Hoedown” music will be back: “It’s wild” and “fresh” – I have to admit that makes me a little nervous. The parade will be similar but different than the one that is already running at Hong Kong Disneyland since they were developed in tandem. We were assured that the Disneyland version will have some surprises – which they wouldn’t tell us about.

Disneyland Forever seems to be the least developed of the three at this point, though the story is complete and they will be going to London in a couple of weeks to record the music at Abbey Road. The little sample that we saw during the announcement (unfortunately I only captured about half of it) was very rough and just “all weird little test footage”, since the Main Street projection mapping just started.

One of the things I am most intrigued in is the idea that this fireworks show is actually intended to be watched from different areas of the park. As Steve Davison said: “There was this big thing about the 50th [anniversary fireworks show] ‘you have to watch it from the hub’, and I’m like ‘we’re not doing that again.’ And that’s why I’m putting it out there from the beginning, we’re going to make this stuff so cool everywhere that you will want to go and see it and have little things hiding here and there.”

And Davison, regarding the finale:”The finale that we just got made everyone cry. And that’s the #1 thing. When you hear that music for the finale you totally cry. And I won’t tell you the opening, but it’s truly fabulous. I really wanted to bring Walt into this in a big way. We might or might not see him in the orange groves…”

“So we’re going to do things that I think will play on many different levels. That kind of tell you the history of Disneyland, but in fun ways. And then we’re going to LAUNCH it into the future.”

And speaking of the future…I’m looking forward to seeing what May 22 has in store for us, in this year of silicon surprises!

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Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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3 Replies to “Disneyland Diamond Anniversary – Additional Details”

  1. I hope this lasts until October! I would love to see all of this bedazzling!

    Laura replies: The celebration will be going for a long time – definitely through the holidays.

  2. I’m also going in mid-April. Any chance there will be previews or soft openings of any of he anniversary specials? Sad to miss them. Thanks!

    Laura replies: Linda, I’m sorry, but it’s too early to know if anything like that will be offered.

  3. Just returned and going back in mid-April. Hate to miss out on this as I’m sure it will be phenomenal!

    Laura replies: Ashley, that just means you’ll have to make another visit within the next year! Good excuse for buying an Annual Passport… 🙂