I made my way to TDS yesterday morning at around 7:35am, in order to enjoy some early morning shopping at Bon Voyage and get together with MagicalNezumi for our very first official debut presentation of TDS' new summer event "Aladdin's Whole New World". Arriving at TDS' front gates at about 8:15am, we waited for the 9am opeing time. The weather today was simply perfect. Not one single cloud in the sky but a tad windy which was a concern in regards to the show on the lagoon. Also, due to the special gift medal give away..a lot of us TDR APers were in heavy attendance as well..
At 9am sharp, the park opened and we were off, collecting our medal coin gift as we passed thru the turnstyles, and quickly making our way to mediterranean harbor to stake a place for the show's debut. Seems like everybody had the same idea, since just minutes after the park's opening, the front perimeter of the lagoon was taken up by most of us early birds.
Magical Nezumi was gracious enough to hold my place while I started a quick tour of TDS and especially Arabian Coast, taking pics that you will get to see using the link below. The decorations and photo spots are very inspired and pretty. All done in sculpted statues and 3d effects, with lots of bright colors. My favorite was the Ariel Genie one by Mermaid Lagoon. In fact, one enjoyable aspect of the decor was to see how Genie represents the different areas of TDS via goofy interpretations. So kudos to the design team behind the decor.
Anyways... as time neared for the main event at 10am on the waters of Mediterranean harbor, and buying the obligatory event souvenir mugs, plates and popcorn bucket, I returned to my place right by the area reserved for Press members, who were out and about in big numbers.
The show started at about 5 till 10am with a lenghty announcement to tell guests how to participate ina little dance number. However, this is not well explained and it's rather long, so when the time comes...no one seemed to get into it, but I am getting ahead of myself here.
The show, presented entirely in japanese, find Aladdin and Jasmine and the rest of the gang on their way to Arabian Coast but getting lost and making a wrong turn into Mediterranean Harbor. Their misfortunes add on when Jafar appears enters the show and starts causing troubles...after all, he doesn't need competition in his quest to rule... But low and behold, *competition* is what occurs as Jafar challenges the Royal Party to a series od events. Why is this happening??? Well.. to a non-japanese speaker, that important component of the plot is lost. I will have to have those of you in the know explain this to me in details... Nezumi? wanna help me here??
Anyways...as the show unfolds, Jafar is trying to get control of the land (or lagoon?) and then Genie arrives to save the day.. From this point on, the show becomes a competition of sorts, with performers on jetskis doing acrobatic moves, hi speed hydroplane boats in racing competition and other surprises, such as the wacky boats that open this portion of the show.
To make this short and sweet, the competition brings the worst of jafar as he turns into a soaring Cobra threatening to destroy all, but the good guys prevail and they all come together for a festive ending which has the added highlight of seeing Aladdin and Jasmine take to the skies on a celebratory magic carpet ride around Mediterranean Harbor.
From the technical point of view, this show is complex to pull off because it has to cover a lot of space to maintain the audience around the lagoon fully entertained. Many things happen and yet it's pretty hard to take it all in. The floating stages are well done, with very colorful motifs and animated props. The cast is also well dresses in stunningly beautiful outfits that sadly, can't be greatly appreciated due to them being on the water away from guests, however, (for you boys...) the lovely harem maids come pretty close to the edge of the lagoon and their navels are at eye level with most guests watching the show... Aladdin is too far away to be appreciated, and even when he takes to the sky with Jasmine, they are still high enough that are hard to see their faces. The show incorporate many show pieces such as shooting fountains, inflatable Genie balloons and a very enjoyable musical score that contained most of the popular music score from the Aladdin movie, plus some newly recorded music, and a rousing cover of Bonnie Tyler's "I need a Hero!" which plays at key moments during the show and also during the last few moments as performer exit the lagoon. A show CD is forthcoming.
Some final thoughts here... the show is cute for what it is...a comical competition set in the world of Aladdin and friends. If I had to rate it, it would have to be a B-, but some of the visuals will carry the show. However, not really having any english language dialogue did make the show's plot a bit hard to follow. At least, the audience seemed to enjoy the spectacle and applause did occur during the moments when it was proper to applaude. While I still enjoyed last year's Ariel lagoon event better, Aladdin's Whole New World is enjoyable enough to merit a look or two. In my case, I won't have a choice since the show had to be presented in an "alternate mode" due to the windy conditions over TDR, which causes some elements of the show not to be performed, as was the case with Jafar's Cobra kite with flies over the lagoon at the show's pivotal moments. So I will have to return and check this show again. The show by the way...is a solid 30 minutes in lenght.
I had to leave rather quickly since my time was limited but I was able to take these photos for your enjoyment and personal files. Hope you enjoy them and I would suggest you read the captions so you can understand the pacing of the show itself, as best as I could understand it. Other comments and questions are always welcomed.
PS---apologies...I am still jetlagged from the transpac flight back home so pardon the typos and misprints. :o