Disneyland 60th Event Viewing


I’ve had several opportunities to experience some of the events of Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary this summer, so I thought I’d follow up with some additional observations, especially now that I’ve seen the parade and fireworks from different locations.

The question I am most frequently asked is: “How long will the celebration last?” Disney so far has only stated that it will be a “long celebration”, and will continue throughout the holidays and into 2016.

My own personal opinion is that Disneyland Forever, Paint the Night parade, and World of Color – Celebrate! will be around for a long time. There’s nothing in any of them that ties them specifically to the 60th anniversary. The 60th anniversary merchandise, decor, character costumes, and so on may come to an end sometime next year, but I think you can count on the shows being here for a number of years to come. (And past history demonstrates that Disney does not make this kind of investment in something that’s only going to be around for a year.)

One of the things that I expect to be around for a somewhat limited time is the Diamond Celebration Photo Spots. These are special photo backdrops that are multidimensional, and offer a fun photo experience. At this writing there are three at Disneyland: near Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Trail, and the Matterhorn.

Disneyland Haunted Mansion Photo Spot

And there are two at DCA: near Grizzly River Run and California Screamin’. There is supposed to be a third at “a bug’s land”, but it has not yet appeared.

DCA Grizzly Peak Photo Spot

There are PhotoPass photographers at each spot who will get everyone positioned properly to maximize the effect, and coach you in multiple expressions or poses. In addition to the PhotoPass pictures they will also take a few with your camera or phone.

Disneyland Matterhorn Photo Spot

We’ve found that it’s great fun, and the photos are surprisingly effective.

And it’s the only way we’ll ever get Deb on California Screamin’. 🙂

DCA California Screamin photo spot

Recently I saw Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever from the “small world” area – it was the first time I’d seen the parade any place other than Main Street. We were on the terraced area between the Matterhorn and “it’s a small world”.

Paint the Night 8/8/15

I thought it was a great view. Everyone in front of us was below us and sitting on the ground, so we could see everything. Being a little further away from the parade was a very good thing. Most of the floats are so big that you don’t get the overall view when you’re close to them as you are on Main Street. I thought the distance enhanced the overall viewing experience. We were still close enough to see the characters and their expressions.

Paint the Night 8/8/15

For the fireworks we moved up the street and around the corner to where we could see almost all of the “it’s a small world” facade as we looked in the direction of Toontown, which is the launch point for most of the fireworks.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

I’ve now seen Disneyland Forever from the three main viewing areas: Main Street, Rivers of America, and “small world”. I think Main Street is still the best overall, but I’ve really enjoyed the other two locations, also. As long as you have a decent view of some of the projection surfaces I think it’s a wonderful show no matter where it’s viewed.

The aspect I enjoyed most about “small world” was the facade gave a larger continuous projection surface than Main Street. So images could go from one side of the facade to another.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

For example, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider’s boat moved all the way from the right to the left across “small world”. We were far enough away that we could see that. While Main Street is longer, guests are closer to the buildings and can’t see the length of the street, so that effect doesn’t work the same way.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

We also could see the fireworks without turning our heads away from the projections. Though we didn’t get the extra fireworks that are launched from the tops of the buildings on Main Street.

I like the fireworks viewing from the Rivers of America – I think that’s the best view of the main fireworks shot off over Toontown. They look very close, and from the middle of the viewing area they appear centered over the projections.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

The projections there are the weakest, though – the mist screens are not a solid surface so the images can be blurry and not very crisp. Most of them are still very recognizable, though. One advantage of Rivers of America viewing is that if you have a Fastpass for the first Fantasmic! show you can get a pretty decent viewing spot for the fireworks without waiting two hours for it. Getting one of the Fantasmic! dinner packages will really help with that. We had a prime spot when we did the River Belle Terrace Fantasmic! dining package, and Blue Bayou is even a little better.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

But Main Street…well, it’s still my first choice for seeing this fireworks show. When you’re standing on Main Street with projections on the buildings on both sides going all the way up the street it becomes quite an immersive experience.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

You also get to see some of the additional fireworks and lighting and a few other effects that are only visible from Main Street. If you want to view the parade and fireworks from Main Street be prepared to wait for a long time. I’m afraid I don’t have any tips for great viewing and minimal wait.

Disneyland Forever 8/8/15

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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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