Our very own Myrna Litt is back with a new photo report from the Disneyland Resort:
The Orange Stinger swinging structure is completely gone
Doors have been put on to some of the World of Color lighting tower structures
Trees are starting to go up in Paradise Park
Looks like they are going for gray colored rocks by California Screamin’ and brown colored rocks by the Golden Zephyr
I’d like to remind everyone about our upcoming fan meets at the Disneyland Resort on Saturday August 1st and Sunday August 2nd. First up on Saturday:
Come enjoy an evening of fun on Saturday, August 1st, with the WDWNT Network and Disneyland News Today staff at Disney’s California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort. Among the fun and surprises, here is a schedule of group gatherings that will be a part of the unofficial fan meet:
4:00 PM – Meet outside the Blue Sky Cellar for distribution of “free gift” Group walk through the Blue Sky Cellar
4:30 PM – Meet directly in front of the Blue Sky Cellar to watch the Pixar Play Parade
5:30 PM – Group meet n’ mingle (and possibly some eating) at Bountiful Valley Farmer’s Market
6:30 PM – Meet for group photo and showing of MuppetVision 3-D in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot
7:15 PM – Meet for group ride on Mickey’s Fun Wheel in Paradise Pier
8:00 PM – Meet in front the former Orange Stinger attraction (Silly Symphony Swings construction walls) to watch Disney’s Electrical Parade
Then on Sunday:
Come enjoy an afternoon of fun on Sunday, 8/2/09 with the WDWNT Network and Disneyland News Today staff at Disneyland Park. Among the fun and surprises, here is a schedule of group gatherings that will be a part of the fan meet:
3:00 PM – Meet n’ mingle and group photo at Carnation Gardens on Main Street U.S.A.
3:30 PM – Meet for group showing of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland
4:15 PM – Meet for group ride on the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
5:00 PM – Meet for group ride on Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square
5:45 PM – Meet for group ride through the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square
6:30 PM – Group meet n’ mingle (and possibly some eating) at the Hungry Bear Restaurant
7:30 PM – Meet for group ride on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Critter Country
8:00 PM – Meet in the hub on Main Street U.S.A. to view “Magical – Disney’s New Nighttime Spectacular of Magical Celebrations In the Stars”
You can R.S.V.P. (although not necessary to attend) and get more information on Facebook about the Saturday meet at this link or our forums at this link and the Sunday meet at this link or our forums at this link. These will be the first fan meets the WDWNT Network has done at the Disneyland Resort, and we hope you come by and enjoy the fun with us!
To prepare everyone visiting the Disneyland Resort during this holiday weekend, I wanted to go over the entertainment schedule for July 4th, as well as the park hours, to make sure everyone can successfully see what they want to see:
- Disneyland will be open from 8:00am to 12:00am all weekend.
- “Celebrate! A Street Party” will be performed every day at 3:30pm and 6:30pm.
- The special fourth of July holiday fireworks show, “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky”, will be performed at 9:25pm starting tonight and running through Sunday night. According to D23, the shows on July 2nd, 3rd, and 5th will be a condensed version, only 8 minutes long, compared to the full show on July 4th which is 13 minutes long and will have much more pyro. The regular fireworks show, Magical, will return on Monday.
- Fantasmic will have three performances on July 4th, at 9:00pm, 10:30pm, and 11:30pm.
- Suburban Legends will be performing through-out the night on July 4th at the TLT Dance Club, beginning at 7:00pm.
- Disney’s California Adventure will be open from 10:00am to 10:00pm on July 4th.
- The Pixar Play Parade will be performed as usual at 5:15pm.
- Disney’s Electrical Parade will also be performed at its usual time of 8:45pm.
If you are planning to visit the Disneyland Resort this weekend, be aware crowds will be massive. Disneyland may even be closed in the afternoon due to the park reaching capacity, and you’ll be re-directed to DCA. Parking may also be an isssue, as I explained in this recent post. For the full entertainment schedule on July 4th, which includes smaller entertainment venues around the parks, click HERE.
D23 have put up 2 articles for the debut of Summer Nightastic today. The first covers last night’s media launch:
On Thursday, June 11, Disneyland was packed with summer guests, and D23 was invited for a peek at all the new happenings as Nightastic! takes over the park this summer.
First stop was the new TLT Dance Club in Tomorrowland. Also known at the Tomorrowland Terrace, the TLT Dance Club is packing in the crowds with the new lights, videos screens and sound system playing today’s hottest tunes. The place burst into wild screams when guest performer Mitchel Musso of Hannah Montana fame took to the stage and rocked the house with a seven song set that included his hit “The In Crowd.” Look for other surprise guests to drop in on the Dance Club all summer long.
Following Mitchel’s mini concert, guests were escorted to Main Street, U.S.A. to watch the premiere of the summer fireworks spectacular, Magical. To start things off Disneyland’s Russ Marchand came out to talk all about the excitement of Nightastic! before introducing the voice of the new Magical show, Broadway star (and Disneyland veteran performer!) Eden Espinosa. Eden wasn’t the only celebrity on hand; next Russ brought Wizards of Waverly Place stars Selena Gomez and Jennifer Stone on stage — what better way to kick off something “magical” that with some wizards? When Russ asked if they were having a good time at Disneyland that night, Selena replied, “How can you not?” before revealing they had blasted off on Space Mountain four times. Sorcerer Mickey came up on stage with a pair of sorcerer hats. “Oh my God!” exclaimed Selena, before donning the hat — and picking up a special Nightastic! magic wand which they used to kick off the festivities.
At that moment, the magic of Magical took flight. Using new launches and fireworks, some classic Disney music (sung by Eden) not often heard in the parks like “Baby Mine” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” and a brand new Dumbo puppet that soars through the air, Magical indeed lived up to its name. And while the show will only run though August 23, Disneyland’s Director of Entertainment, Doug McIntyre, says it may return in 2010. “There’s a chance it will come back as our summer offering,” Doug revealed. “It will go back to Remember… Dreams Come True after the summer. We’re looking at some yet-to-be-announced possibilities for Halloween. Then we’ll have our Christmas show, and then back to Remember. And Magical could possibly become a summer offering.”
Following the fireworks, guests hit the Rivers of America to witness the enhancements to the already spectacular Fantasmic!. Thanks to HD technology, the projections now virtually leap off the screen — and they’re not the only things leaping! A new crocodile lurches and snaps at Captain Hook as he swims behind the pirate ship looking for a snack. Plus, Ursula’s “hench-eels” Flotsam and Jetsam now menacingly sweep through the waters. All these wonderful new characters posed exciting challenges to Disneyland’s creative team. “Obviously, any time you create new show elements — and Flotsam and Jetsem and the crocodile are examples of that — you go through some teething problems in testing and adjustments,” Doug explained. “Certainly we went through those but they worked out really great.” And Doug and his team aren’t done playing yet! “We talked tonight about making a new adjustment to Flotsam and Jetsam.” Currently the two slither out together from the same side of the river. “We’re talking about doing a version where they come from different sides of the river. We’re still learning as we see it.”
One thing guests didn’t see was the new Maleficent dragon, who wasn’t quite ready for her close up. “As one of the very few people who have seen the dragon in its functioning mode, I’m thrilled by the dragon,” Doug noted. “In our test-and-adjust period, we had a situation where we had a mechanical issue we knew we had to fix and we knew we weren’t going to be ready. So we’re working on that and will get it into the show as soon as we can.” And Doug says, when she makes her debut, guests won’t believe their eyes. “I think is going to be one of the most spectacular additions to a Disney show that’s ever been done. It’s certainly the largest Disney character that’s ever been created in animated mode. And it’s a huge leap from what the dragon used to be. This is full, three-dimensional, fully articulated, 45-foot-tall, 32-foot wingspan, with 18 axis of motion, it takes five computers to run the thing — it’s what you’d expect from Disney with all of the technology we have at our hands!”
Last, but certainly not least, it was over to Disney’s California Adventure to get a look at Disney’s Electrical Parade, which features a brand-new Tinker Bell float and the return of three other floats: the diamond mine from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and two from Pinocchio. All the floats glitter and gleam like new, with the help of LED technology (Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat now disappears!), and an enhanced soundtrack gives to depth to the musical elements of the parade. But the returning floats are sure to bring a smile to the face of any fan of the Electrical Parade. “The parade has almost been around the world,” Doug explained, when asked how the Snow White and Pinocchio floats found their way back into the show. “Here at Disneyland, then it went to Disney World for a while, then it went to Paris, and finally it ended up in Hong Kong. When we brought it back here, the diamond mine and the Pinocchio units were left behind in Hong Kong. They were sitting in a storage facility in Hong Kong.” When Nightastic! was in the planning stages, Doug and his team thought it was the perfect time to bring them back from overseas. “So we called Hong Kong, shipped them out, refurbished them, and put them back in the parade.” Combining the perfect blend of exciting new offerings and emotional nostalgia, Summer Nightastic! is sure to be a crowd pleaser for any Disney fan.
And the second article is an interview with vocalist for Magical, Eden Espinosa:
The Broadway star returns to her Disneyland roots to sing the theme for the new fireworks spectacle Magical.
“I’m such a Disney girl, and I have been since I was growing up here in Orange County,” Eden says. “I’d always come to Disneyland as a kid. It was always a dream of mine to work here and be in entertainment here.”
If you’ve been a regular Disneyland visitor for a while, chances are good you have seen Eden Espinosa in a show — she did more than a half a dozen during her career in entertainment at Disneyland, before moving to New York City where she starred in such musicals as Wicked, Rent and Brooklyn. This summer, park guests will be able to hear Eden’s rich vocals nightly; the incredible talent recorded the music for the new fireworks show Magical. D23 sat down with Eden for an exclusive interview and learned about her favorite attraction, her best Disneyland job and why she needs to reach for a box of tissues any time she hears a Disney song.
How did they approach you about singing the theme from Magical?
One of the talent bookers, Dana White, contacted me and said, “Bruce Healey [Disneyland's Senior Music Producer] wanted to get your number, and I wasn’t sure if I should give it to him.” And I said, “Dana, it’s Bruce Healey! He cast me in Dickens Carolers when I was 18. You can give him my number! It’s fine!” [Laughs] And he called me and wanted me to send a couple of clips of things that he could show the director, because the director wasn’t too familiar with me. And that was it. Then he called me back and said, “We’d love you to be a part of it, if you want to do it.” I was like, “Are you kidding me?!”
Was Dickens Carolers your first Disneyland job?
Actually my first job was A Christmas Fantasy parade, the first year they did it with the live carolers. I was in it. And then I started doing the stage shows.
Do you have a favorite memory from working here?
My first solo, I think. I did the Carolers and then I was in the Hunchback of Notre Dame stage show.
Were you Esmerelda?
No, I was just Gypsy No. 4! [laughs] But then I was cast as Pocahontas in Animazement the Musical, and it was my first solo in the park. That moment, being able to do the montage [with songs from Pocahontas, Hercules and Hunchback of Notre Dame], which Bruce Healy actually arranged, was pretty cool.
Didn’t you do [the Disney music revue] Steps in Time at Disney’s California Adventure, too?
I did Steps in Time too — both versions! I did Route 66 in the park too, that was the last thing I did before I left the park. I did a lot!
Do you have a favorite attraction?
I love Tower of Terror. But my favorite Fantasyland ride is Peter Pan. I love Peter Pan. I think the concept is well executed. I love how you fly above the city with all the little lights.
And you now open Magical singing “The Second Star to the Right”!
I know! It’s great.
Was there a favorite song you got to sing for Magical?
Honestly, all of them are on a favorites list. But I think getting to do “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins was awesome. And also “Baby Mine” [from Dumbo]. You don’t get to hear that very often. And I love the original song Greg Smith wrote as well. I love all of it!
What was it like watching Magical for the first time?
I had heard it before I saw it. Bruce sent me a CD earlier in the week, and I’ve been intentionally listening to it nonstop because I’m such a Disney girl, and I have been since I was growing up here in Orange County. I’d always come to Disneyland as a kid. It was always a dream of mine to work here and be in entertainment here. I always cry at Disney music in the fireworks shows, in Fantasmic, in the parades — so I was like, “I’m gonna bawl like a little baby!” So I listened to it a lot so I could get all the tears out. But hearing it on Main Street and seeing it happen was pretty cool! It was breathtaking.
After all that time in New York City, are you living back in Southern California now?
I’ve been back in L.A. since Wicked opened at the Pantages, so I’ve been back a couple years now. And I’m enjoying being back in Southern California. I have a solo concert coming up at the Ford Amphitheatre on July 24. I started doing shows at the Upright Cabaret when Wicked was ending and I went back to the show to close it. Then we took it to New York and did it at Joe’s Pub in March. Now we’re bringing to the Ford. It keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s going to be a great show! I’m very excited.
Stay tuned to Disneyland News Today this weekend for continuing coverage from the debut of Summer Nightastic.
Summer Nightastic begins tonight at the Disneyland Resort, and in honor of that, here’s a new Disney press video with footage from all three main offerings, as well as interviews with Carla Carlile (show director for Fantasmic), Denny Newell (senior show director for Disney’s Electrical Parade), and John Addis (senior show director for Magical):
ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 12, 2009) – Tinker Bell is helping Disneyland guests celebrate the nights of summer with “Magical,” the new fireworks spectacular presented by Honda. Tink’s sparkling touch will awaken favorite Disney moments and memories from movie classics such as “Pinocchio,” “Mary Poppins” and “Cinderella.” And, in a very special debut, Dumbo proves that elephants can fly as he joins Tinker Bell in a “Magical” flight over Sleeping Beauty Castle.
WHAT: “Magical” is a dazzling new fireworks spectacular in which colorful, precisely choreographed pyrotechnics burst and soar to a soundtrack of celebratory Disney songs. With a wave of her wand, an airborne Tinker Bell ignites the night with a myriad of light and sends guests on a journey of magical Disney celebrations. As beautiful beams of light dance in the sky, Dumbo the flying elephant appears for the first time in a Disneyland fireworks show, flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle.
WHEN: Nightly, beginning Friday, June 12, and continuing through Monday, Sept. 7, at Disneyland. “Magical” may be viewed from Main Street, U.S.A., the mall in front of “it’s a small world” and locations throughout the park.
A PYROTECHNIC SYMPHONY IN FIVE MOVEMENTS: “Magical” is composed of five sequences, each celebrating a different magical experience. It begins with “The Magic of Childhood,” represented by the appearance of Tinker Bell waving her wand to launch the fireworks. Next, Geppetto is heard wishing that Pinocchio could become a real boy; sparkles in the sky announce that the Blue Fairy is near to demonstrate “The Magic of a Wish.” The voice of Mary Poppins teaches “The Magic of Imagination.” Then “The Magic of a Mother’s Love” inspires little Dumbo to fly. Music from the tales of Disney princesses leads into “The Magic of Love’s First Kiss.” And the show concludes with a truly spectacular finale: “It’s Magical.”
THE “MAGICAL” VOICE: Broadway star Eden Espinosa is the soloist on the all-new soundtrack for “Magical.” Prior to a Broadway career that has included the role of Elphaba, the “Wicked Witch of the West” in “Wicked,” both on Broadway and at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, Espinosa delighted Disneyland Resort guests in stage shows and special events at the parks. She attended Canyon Hills High School in Anaheim and Fullerton College. Eden’s performance on the “Magical” soundtrack features an original “Magical” theme along with versions of such beloved melodies as “Baby Mine” from “Dumbo,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella,” “The Second Star to the Right” from “Peter Pan” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins.”
“MAGICAL” – FIREWORKS BY THE NUMBERS
- The pyrotechnic devices are fully choreographed to “Magical’s” musical soundtrack, using 750 discreet digital control channels.
- Guests see the burst of fireworks before hearing it because light travels roughly a million times faster than sound.
- The Disney Air Launch system installed in 2004 creates less ground level smoke than the former system that used black powder.
- Disney is recognized as the world’s largest producer of fixed-base fireworks shows, at its parks in the United States, France, Japan and China.
A SPARKLING HISTORY OF FIREWORKS AT DISNEYLAND
- Disneyland opened to the public in July 1955. There was no fireworks show that year.
- In 1956, after seeing fireworks tests in the Disneyland parking lot when the park was closed, Walt Disney said, “Let’s give it a try.”
- Mickey Aronson, who worked in Disneyland Resort Entertainment for more than 50 years (originally as an outside fireworks consultant), began “shooting” Disneyland fireworks the summer of 1956. In those days, Aronson fired the show by hand, touching off the fuses with a flare.
- Beginning in the late 1960s, Disneyland Entertainment developed a system for firing the shells electronically, synchronized to a musical soundtrack.
- During this period, the fireworks “choreography” was storyboarded like an animated cartoon. At one time, the storyboard artist was Roy Williams, the “Big Mooseketeer” from “The Mickey Mouse Club.”
- The current system, with its multiple fireworks launch sites, special lighting and lasers, and high-tech marriage of music and choreographed pyrotechnics, was first installed for the 2000 Bicentennial/Disneyland 45th Anniversary show, “Believe…There’s Magic in the Stars.”
More information about “Magical” and other special Summer Nightastic! shows can be found at www.disneyland.com/summer.
Our newest staff member here at Disneyland News Today, Conner Purzycki, was at this past Wednesday’s preview performance of Disneyland’s new fireworks show “Magical”. Thanks to our fantastic new WDWNTube Disney Parks Video Site, he brings us a full high definition video of the show:
According to the OC Register’s Around Disney blog:
Just a year after Disneyland opened in 1955, Walt Disney saw some fireworks being tested in the parking lot when he thought, “Let’s give it a try.”
In 1956, the first fireworks show was created by hand, with employees touching off the fuses with a flare.
A few years later, technology enabled fireworks to be launched electronically and synchronized with a soundtrack. The current system, which has been in use for about eight years, features multiple fireworks launch sites, lighting and laser effects.
This summer, Disney is launching a whole new show, “Magical”, which embodies Walt Disney’s idea that, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Disney gave guests a preview Wednesday night, as it went through a practice run in the skies above the theme park. On June 12, the new show officially begins its summer run. It is the first change in the fireworks show since 2005.
After eight months of work, “Magical” aims to keep the tradition of change and growth alive with its use of 750 discreet digital-control channels, Disney Air Launch system, which creates less ground-level smoke than the former system using black powder, and the addition of six high-beam lights shooting up behind the castle.
The 13-minute fireworks show is organized in five scenes, each depicting the different types of magic that Disney offers.
“What we’re doing with ‘Magical’ is celebrating all those wonderful Disney movies that everyone has,” Senior show director John Addis said. “We wanted to have those moments of, ‘Wow! There’s Tinker Bell and she’s darting all over.’ ”
Few Disneyland park-goers were aware, ahead of time, that they would see the first run of the show.
“We just happened to be walking through the park, and who could be more lucky to see the preview? That’s magic,” said Kathy Chance, a refinery operator from Anaheim. “That was the best part for me, was that it was so unexpected.”
In ‘Magical,’ Tinker Bell opens with her famous, traditional flight to the tune of “Second Star to the Right.” A cast member flew from atop the Matterhorn and over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle before landing in Frontierland.
During the show, Disney makes liberal use of the new high-beam lights — which blast color into the sky, an effective technique. At one point, scenes of carousel horses are projected onto the castle.
“I think we are going to surprise a lot of people here,” Addis said. “You don’t usually see a ballad in a fireworks show, but we’re using the song ‘Baby Mine’ from Dumbo, which is one of my favorite pieces of music.”
The scene also features a prominent addition in Disneyland’s firework history, a fully articulated Dumbo puppet, the size of a baby elephant, that flew around over the castle. His ears flap; and he waves with his trunk.
“Dumbo doesn’t fly fast like Tinker Bell — he’s an elephant. He’s going to be flying above the castle, his ears will fly, his legs will move, and he even gets to say goodbye with his trunk,” Addis said.
Fourteen-year-old Emma Doolittle from Santa Rosa, whose favorite Disney character happens to be Dumbo, was happy.
“They meshed Dumbo well with the lighting and the fireworks behind it,” she said.
Music for the show is a medley of classic Disney tunes. There is also an original ‘Magical’ theme song.
The soundtrack’s songs are all voiced by Eden Espinosa, who is best known for her role as Elphaba in the musical “Wicked” on Broadway and at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. Espinosa attended Canyon Hills High School in Anaheim and Fullerton College.
“It was amazing. It was so, so good,” said Cole Younger, 21, from London. “Dumbo being in it was just great. The choice of music was brilliant.”
His favorite part was the finale.
“They mixed so many different fireworks that were so big and covered the entire sky. The change in color of the castle with the three fairies was great. It was awe-inspiring.”
“Magical” runs nightly at 9:25 p.m. in Disneyland from June 12 until September 7.
According to the OC Register’s Around Disney blog:
Guests at Disneyland on Thursday night will likely get a sneak peek at Disneyland’s new summer fireworks spectacular “Magical.”
The new fireworks show officially begins nightly on June 12, but Disney officials plan to test it out in a rehearsal around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday – depending upon weather and scheduling.
Disney characters Tinker Bell and Dumbo, the flying elephant, will take to the skies over Disneyland to lead the pyrotechnics, synchronize to popular Disney music that recalls “Pinocchio,” “Mary Poppins” and “Cinderella.”
It marks the first new summertime fireworks show at Disneyland since the park’s 50th anniversary in 2005. It’s also the first time Dumbo has appeared in a fireworks show, flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle.
After all the kinks are worked out and the show officially gets under way next week, it will run nightly through Sept. 7.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing what our entertainment team has come up with this time,” said John McClintock, a Disneyland spokesman.
Disney put up a new website today promoting “Summer Nightastic!”. This new website offers an overview of the new entertainment experiences coming this summer (the new fireworks show Magical, changes to Disney’s Electrical Parade and Fantasmic, nighttime lighting of Pixie Hollow, and the TLT Dance Club at the Tomorrowland Terrace), 2 commercials (one an overview of “Summer Nightastic!” and the other on the changes to Fantasmic), and lots more. There’s also a downloadable 3D Fantasmic dragon, as well as a pdf of the entire schedule for the summer over at the TLT Dance Club.
Bellow are a few screen-shots from the website:
The new Cheshire Cat in Disney’s Electrical Parade is featured on this page
The Disneyland by Day and Night page has the familiar concept art of the new Tinker Bell float in Disney’s Electrical Parade
To view this amazing website, click HERE.
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