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Dateline Disneyland

California Color Part 1: World of Color debuts, Glow Fest lights up, Blue Sky preview

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
by , 06-14-2010 at 02:46 AM
It's finally here! World of Color is now playing three times nightly (except on Grad Nites) to full crowds and has finally put Disney California Adventure on the map. But is the show worth all the hype? Disney sure thinks so, and this weekend saw the biggest publicity push for DCA since plans for the park's expansion and remodel were announced two years ago. It's no surprise, either — World of Color is the first major project in the park's expansion plans to be completed and Disney is hoping it's finally the game changer they've needed since 2001. Meanwhile, construction continued elsewhere in the park, the Blue Sky Cellar opened its new exhibit focusing on the upcoming Little Mermaid attraction, and Glow Fest lit up the Hollywood Pictures Backlot in a festive, if not a little offbeat, after-dark street party.

Many thanks to Matt "2DieFR" Gottula, Mac Daddy, and Macro for their help with today's update.

For more information on any of the construction projects featured in today's update, just look for a Project Tracker water mark and click that photo for more information on the project and to join the on-going discussion.

We've got so much to get to today, so let's jump right in!

Inside Dateline Disneyland

Sponsored by Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim Resort

It's been over a year and a half since work began in Paradise Bay for the new World of Color show and now, it's finally here. Disney isn't being subtle about the show, either. From the moment you step into the Main Entrance Plaza it is World of Color mania.

The CALIFORNIA letters have gotten a colorful overlay

On Thursday, Disney unveiled the show in a celebrity-attended blue-carpet premiere party that was utilized key social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, and a live broadcast of the full show via

Teri Hatcher attended the premiere and snapped photos with fans

As did Vanessa Hudgens.

And John Stamos. MiceChat's In the Parks blog has complete coverage of the blue carpet event: click here.

The OC Regsiter's Around Disney blog has a great video from the Blue Carpet
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Despite the celebrities, the show was the main star Thursday night and the spectacle went off without a hitch.

Review (Beware — there are spoilers!)

Does the show live up to the hype? As MiceAge's Sue Kruse said: Yes and no. World of Color is technically jaw-dropping. The technology employed here is impressive and it is worth seeing for that alone. From the fountains, to the lighting, to the lasers, to the sound system, the entire production is a technological marvel. Where the show falters, however, is in its content. Despite months of Imagineer Steve Davison making note of the show's storytelling, the show has no story. That isn't because it wasn't planned that way, either. Early previews of the show by Davison show strong themes and storytelling throughout the production, but for some reason they're largely absent in the final product. Perhaps they didn't play well in reality, or maybe Disney CEO Bob Iger requested too many changes.

Nevertheless, the experience lacks cohesiveness and the various film clips often end up feeling purposeless and even confusing at times. That isn't to say the show is bad; in fact, it starts on a very strong foot. The opener with the vintage "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" audio that transitions into the show's main theme is absolutely perfect. The lighting and fountain effects in the opening number that Steve Davison described as "painting magical dots in the sky" is strikingly evocative and beautiful, but the transition into the next scene featuring the Little Mermaid is awkward and a bit jarring.

The show picks up and flows relatively well until halfway through when it hits the Pirates of the Caribbean segment, which is probably the most awkward part of the show and the moment when I started looking at my watch wondering if there was a point to all of it. The inclusion of Pirates allows Disney to show off the show's impressive fire effects, but the presence of Jack Sparrow in a production that is otherwise filled with animated films is odd and makes the whole thing seem like a cheap attempt to remind us that a fourth film is on its way. The most insulting bit of the whole thing is the re-purposed Davy Jones animation and audio yanked from Disneyland ride. Other awkward moments include Carl Fredrickson's house from Up floating up across the mist screen for seemingly no other reason than to include the recent Pixar flick and the Chernabog sequence feels like a rehash of Fantasmic! (and Fantasmic! does this bit better).

The show does have its fair share of strong moments, though. The Spring Sprite (Fantasia 2000) and Pocahontas sequence is probably the most genuine moment in the production, where the show's muddled purpose is briefly able to shine through. The WALL-E sequence is another special sequence where the lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel twinkle in the background as stars, and WALL-E and EVE dance along the water. The beginning of the Toy Story sequence when Buzz meets Woody for the first time is surprisingly heartwarming and a great lead-in for one of the show's greatest "WOW" moments when Buzz battles his enemy Zurg which is created out of the show's impressive lasers.

But it's those "WOW" moments that seem to steal the show and leave it without much heart to really leave a lasting impression. The Buzz Lightyear sequence is incredible eye candy, as is the Genie sequence from Aladdin, and the Lion King stampede. Perhaps it was the fountains that shoot up in the viewing area during the stampede that distract the viewer from the real point of the scene, but even as Simba is calling for his dead father the show feels oddly disconnected in a moment where the viewer should be in tears.

Still, despite its shortcomings, World of Color is great entertainment. It's a quality experience and it feels like Disney's first honest step in fixing the park that has seen a series of quick fixes to help boost its attendance numbers since opening in 2001. This is no LuminAria or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? — Play It!. This is a real investment and a smart one, at that. Steve Davison has said that World of Color is designed like Walt Disney's Fantasia was planned — constantly being updated and changed with new sequences and stories. Let's just hope that those changes and updates happen. The show might not be perfect now, but that doesn't mean it's bad. As it stands, World of Color outshines Disneyland's nightly "Magical" fireworks show and almost everything else at California Adventure. Go see it.

Disney broadcasted the premiere of the show live online via UStream. YouTube user skoolboiedd saved the video and uploaded it to YouTube. Despite its poor quality, it offers the best, unobstructed views of the show in video form online. It is the full show, in five parts. If you do not want to spoil the show, do not watch!

World of Color is obviously the big deal at the Resort right now, and Disney is very aware of the demand for the show. Tickets are required to see the show, and World of Color FASTPASS is the only free option. Crowds have been lining up early prior to park opening to secure their spot in line to get FASTPASS for World of Color's first showing. In order to get in line for World of Color FASTPASS at park opening, you must enter through California Adventure's main entrance. The Grand Californian Hotel guest entrance is open only to Hotel guests, and signage indicates the rule is being strictly enforced.

FASTPASS is being distributed at the Grizzly River Run FASTPASS Distribution area

FASTPASS sells out quickly for the first shows, but Disney has routinely been announcing third showings every night "due to high demand." In reality, the third shows are fully scheduled through summer, but announcing the third show and "extended hours" for California Adventure after the first two shows have sold out helps make the show even more appealing to guests in the park and will help make California Adventure look as popular as its ever been to the news media and shareholders after the summer rush has passed.

The show requires as little light and noise on Paradise Pier as possible during show time. Because of this, Paradise Pier attractions close early for the show, much like how many Fantasyland attractions close early for Disneyland's night fireworks.

Don't be surprised to see signs like these in front of Paradise Pier attractions.

Paradise Park closes early as well so crowd control can set up for the show.

Banners in the park promote the new show

Food offerings for the show include colorful, flavored popcorn and light-up cotton candy

World of Color merchandise offerings include an array of t-shirts, cups, and accessories. The one-stop shop for World of Color merch on Paradise Pier is the Point Mugu Tattoo shop. World of Color merchandise is also available at Greetings! From California and in World of Disney in Downtown Disney.

Annual Passholder exclusive shirt:

Annual Passholder exclusive hoodie:

Annual Passholder exclusive shirt for the Silly Symphony Swings

Nightly, before the first showing of World of Color, a couple hosts and some larger-than-life Carnivale puppets entertain the crowd in a little "color competition"

There's so much more World of Color coverage. Check it all out at the links below:

As Disney opened World of Color to its first public showings on Friday, it also held a "What's Next?" event for media previewing upcoming attractions at the Resort. The event had little new information, save for another tidbit about Star Tours 2 destinations, which will include flights to Coruscant as well as Tattooine.

The event also gave another look at the upcoming Cars Land and Little Mermaid attractions.

The event also co-incided with the re-opening of the Blue Sky Cellar which previews the upcoming Little Mermaid attraction as well as other changes coming to DCA.

The exhibit previews the upcoming Red Car Trolleys coming to Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land.

There's also a sampling of concept art for the re-theming of the Paradise Pier eateries as well as Mullholland Madness into Goofy's Sky School

Cars Land is previewed a bit as well.

The main focus of the exhibit is the upcoming Little Mermaid attraction. Models of the ride vehicles and attraction are displayed along with loads of concept art.

Handicap-accessible vehicle:

World of Color isn't the only new nighttime offering at California Adventure this summer. The new Glow Fest has taken over Sunshine Plaza and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. By day, the set up is tacky and out-of-place, but it definitely works better at night.

Plasma screens line Hollywood Blvd.

The first part of the event in Sunshine Plaza is strange. It's an odd mix of silent, but brightly costumed characters lead by an even more brightly-dressed man who compensates for his silent cohorts by being speaking loudly and with an inexplicable lisp. The whole thing is even more inexplicable when the Bollywood Step dancers come on stage to perform. To say the whole ordeal is confusing would be an understatement.

Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis and California Adventure Vice President Mary Niven along with numerous other managers and TDA executives watched Glow Fest on Saturday with the rest of the park Guests.

As the sun starts to set, the party moves from Sunshine Plaza into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot where dance stages and bars have been set up in the middle of the street.

Loud music, festive lighting, and cool projections set the atmosphere. In short: it's a giant street party, but not like the sad parade Disneyland tries to pass off as a street party across across the esplanade.

It's actually pretty fun. The music is loud and is headache-inducing, but the atmosphere is lively and surprisingly exciting. It's a nice temporary addition for Summer Nightastic! and it blows the socks off the TLT Dance Club over at Disneyland.

Neat projections light up the back of the Hyperion Theater. The projections are interactive, and a dance area down on the street turns guests into stylized silhouettes that become part of the projection up on the building.

The plasma screens turn popular Disney characters into kaleidoscope visuals

George (left) and Mary (right) look on at Glow Fest

Back in Sunshine Plaza, the music and lights are just as loud and bright, but it's clear that the real party is in the backlot.

A food truck serving an organic menu is parked in Sunshine Plaza. It's tacky parked and closed during the day, but it fits the atmosphere at night.

Light-up tables for food truck patrons

California Construction, This & That, Around the Parks, Weekly News & Information Round-Up, more

We've got a big update this week! For part two, please

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  1. Disney fan 24's Avatar
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    Great Update as always and can't wait for next week's
  2. caldisneyfan1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update and great pics.
  3. Zoe Necrosis's Avatar
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    Wow, this one was jam-packed. I need to get back to the park soon - not because I'll have time to see WoC yet but just to see all the new stuff at the Blue Sky Cellar.
  4. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. I wonder what signs Stamos took home as souvenirs ... and is that B.A. Baracus taking part in Glow Fest?
  5. jaxbistro's Avatar
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    Glow's about time they brought Videopolis back! I can only hope they blast Wham!'s "Wake me up before yo Go-Go" everynight and finger-crossed for an Oingo Boingo reunion there too! God bless the eighties.
    Updated 06-14-2010 at 05:49 AM by jaxbistro
  6. clippers6's Avatar
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    Is the concept art just a different angle or have they decided on a new look for the Little Mermaid building?
  7. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxbistro
    Glow's about time they brought Videopolis back! I can only hope they blast Wham!'s "Wake me up before yo Go-Go" everynight and finger-crossed for an Oingo Boingo reunion there too! God bless the eighties.
    I can just picture John Cusack and his buddies climbing out of a hot tub in the middle of the backlot. LOL.
    "Dude's rockin' a cassette player!"
  8. danyoung's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. I'm confused about something. You say in the article (and Disney said in some of their signage) that you have to have a Fastpass to see WOC. Isn't it more correct to say that you must have a FP to get into the reserved seating areas? I say that because there are many many viewing locations all around the lagoon, albeit not as nice as the prime turf. Just wondering about the semantics . . .
  9. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Awsome update!
  10. HKDLFAN's Avatar
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    Great Update! Can't wait to go in December!!!
  11. Internitty's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone who contributed to this monumental update this week, it's certainly an update I'll be re-reading and savouring all week.

    How bad do I want an Annual Passholder exclusive shirt for the Silly Symphony Swings!!! I only hope one of the sellers on eBay start offering them ...hint hint Oh and the deluxe edition of Disneyland Through The Decades while we're there

    I love how Imagineering set up these displays they could sell me poster copies of concept art no problems! I know, I'm a merchandise junkie.

    Wigi's Flying Tires looks like a remake of the old Disneyland "Flying Saucers" (I'm not sure what they were called) AWESOME RETRO FUN!!!

    Glow Fest does look like fun but damn they've ruined the ambience during the day, I wonder if they were just seeing glowing dollar signs when they thought of it. A 1940's big band swing theme would fit and not ruin the daytime look. I guess they'll be bringing it back each holiday season when the crowds increase, I only hope they rethink it, isn't there a big mostly empty building going to waste just selling season passes which could be used?

    Fantastic pictures of The Little Mermaid construction this week, it's so exciting to see the progression each week on the building. Also wonderful pictures of the construction at the Wonder Tower of the Disneyland Hotel, there really is something about the closeup images of the construction that excites me, maybe it's seeing it slowly but surely coming together.

    I love Disneyland's First Aid building is getting some TLC. It's still open during its refurbishment photo with the Corn Dog truck parked out front, kind of says it all really

    Thanks again for all the wonderful pictures, videos and information, second week in a row DCA has upstaged Disneyland completely in the update, it is a wonderous time indeed
  12. ni_teach's Avatar
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    Wow, I two part update. I can't wait to get to the park and see everything for myself.
  13. Skoolboiedd's Avatar
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    Hey look its my upload of the ustream special! only a youtuber thought? not a micechatter?! lol
    Updated 06-14-2010 at 08:31 AM by Skoolboiedd
  14. a-net-fan's Avatar
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    AWESOME UPDATE! I hope to be able to see World of Color in person someday! It looks amazing from what I have seen from the videos on You Tube. I really love the opening of the show. Its PERFECT!!!! The closing looks really great as well.

    As far as everything else I wanted to address all the critical comments about the "storyline" of the show. Honestly it doent bother me that there isnt a real storyline. I actually like that its presented more as a kaelidoscope of memoraible segments from some of Disneys greatest films. Thats honestly what I was expecting to begin with. I think when they try to put a story into a night time spectacular it often comes off as lame (the current verson of WDW's fireworks show comes to mind). For fireworks I just enjoy watching them with classic disney songs incorporated into a soundtrack without all the dialogue and evil taking over the castle etc etc etc. But anyway I disagree and dont feel this show needs a "story" but should rather just be seen as a spectacular highlighting great moments from Disney Films.
  15. dgpollard's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of the elaborate and detailed pictures of the current events taking place at Disney California Adventure. (YIKES....I dislike that name very much...."CALIFORNIALAND".....there that's better!)

    I'm sure Mr. Iger thought he knew what was best when he had all of the very talented creators of the "World of Color" show change the sequences, music, etc., but I think HE DOES NOT. I'm sorry, but I feel that the music in not only annoying but an insult to the very best talent that the Walt Disney Company has offered in the past in terms of quality "non-adolesent sounding" vocal perfomers in the music and lyrics. I feel that it is too much of a distraction from the story telling. I'm 36 years old and even I really enjoy the older quality sounds of the vocal chorus from the original sound track from the early shows. Perhaps if more talented vocal chorus people sang in this show instead of that annoying "teenage or imature sounding girl" voice? Blah!!!

    Of course your not going to be left with a lasting positive impression after hearing that! I would say..."When is this annoying show over? I liked the laser beams and projections and colorful images, but that annoying music.....what was Mr. Iger thinking?"

    Also, The Hollywood "Glow fest" I think is too edgy and not themed well at all for park guests. Is this a Disney park or isn't it? I certainly think that the Walt Disney Company can do better than that!
  16. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a-net-fan
    I disagree and dont feel this show needs a "story" but should rather just be seen as a spectacular highlighting great moments from Disney Films.
    Perhaps if they were just doing one or two songs at a time like Bellagio does in Vegas. But for a show of this length, they really need something to help hold the show together. Gee wiz, look what we can do with water is cool, but Disney is capable of much more than that. At least I think they still are.
  17. indianajack's Avatar
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    Anybody got a shot of the Green Truck's food menu?
    Thanks for the update, very informative and spot-on commentary.
  18. JADP's Avatar
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    Okay, my personal opinion is that, every thing, from the merchandise to the decorations, and the advertising for World of Color should be more along the lines of the lovely colors they used on the Silly Symphony Swings. The classic graphic used that looks like Walt's tv Show grpahics, is okay, but the darn colors are so ugly! Also that Glow Fest is horifiying! They should have done more 1930s/40s, with twinkle lights, great old music and the same classy colors I suggest for the rest of it. This way it would be a continuious theme and go with the new Paradise Pier look, (which looks great).

    Also, that is totally Radiator Springs!!! I am so excited about the changes going on over there. DCA is going to be classy and much more Disney! Goofys Sky School looks so cute and the theming is top notch as Disney always should be.
    Thanks for coming through with all of the World of Color pics and videos. I was there 2 weeks ago and with none of those soft opening I was hoping for, I was bumed, but here I can see and enjoy minus the crowds.
  19. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indianajack
    Anybody got a shot of the Green Truck's food menu?
    Thanks for the update, very informative and spot-on commentary.
    I don't have a photo for you, but the menu on the "Green Truck" was really good and the food looked and smelled great. We had just eaten, so we didn't try it, but all of us agreed that we'd like to come back and give it a whirl.
  20. socalkdg's Avatar
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    Minor Spoilers below

    I take the story to be about the "World" of Color, from physical to emotional.

    1. First you travel under the ocean (Mermaid and Nemo)
    2. Next it is on to outer space (Wall-E and Buzz)
    3. We head back to earth visiting the land, along with its rivers, as well as on top of the ocean (Alladin, Pocahantas, and Pirates)
    4. Before our last journey to hell itself (Chernabog)
    5. Lastly it looks at the emotional parts of color, from sadness and despair (Lion King) to love and happiness (montage of many clips).

    The transitions are pretty good for the most part. I'd reconfigure Heimlich a bit, and do away completely with the Sparrow photo, going straight to the skull instead.
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