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Disneyland Unveils Plans For 60th Anniversary

Susan Valot |
January 29, 2015 | 9:10 a.m. PST


The Teacup ride is one of the original rides in the park (Susan Valot / Neon Tommy)
The Teacup ride is one of the original rides in the park (Susan Valot / Neon Tommy)
Forget the bubbly.  Disneyland will go with sparkly to celebrate its diamond anniversary.

The Disney Resort in Anaheim unveiled plans Wednesday for the theme park's 60th year. The festivities include a sparkling paint job on Sleeping Beauty Castle, a new World of Color in Disney California Adventure and a new light parade at Disneyland.

"Immersive is a huge word for the 60th," said Sayre Wiseman, director of show production at the resort.

The new parade is a tip-of-the-hat to Disneyland's beloved Main Street Electrical Parade, which featured a catchy tune and a spinning, lighted bugs and animals in the 1970s, '80s and '90s in the park.

Steven Davison, who is in charge of parades and shows at the Disney Resort, said he really wanted to bring the electrical parade back to Disneyland. It won't be back in its original form, but the new parade, dubbed "Paint the Night" will have floats and people adorned with 1.5 million LED lights, all coordinated by computers embedded in the costumes and floats.

"It's such a tradition. It's such a wonderful thing, especially a part of my childhood and many people's childhoods," said Davison. "It truly was special. We're taking it to that next level for today's kids."

Disney characters, including from the animated movies "Cars," "Monsters, Inc." and "Frozen" will make appearances in the parade, along with Mickey Mouse, the park's icon.

"Story is up there foremost," said John Addis, senior show director at Disneyland. He said innovations and technology don't mean much if you don't have a good story.

"That's what we're striving for, so that there's a narrative that we all believe in, that everyone can understand and that touches everybody's heart," Addis said.

The anniversary celebration, which kicks off May 22, also includes a new fireworks show that will encompass the entire park.

The fireworks, called "Disneyland Forever," will coordinate with light projections that will be cast on the walls of Main Street, the It's a Small World ride, Rivers of America and the Matterhorn.

New light projections for the light and firework show (Susan Valot / Neon Tommy)
New light projections for the light and firework show (Susan Valot / Neon Tommy)
Show creators say it will be the largest use of projection mapping technology in any Disney park. The technology means that each section of the light show can be different, putting park visitors into the middle of the show.

"Everything's going to connect to each other. Everything's going to become a storytelling device in wild, new ways," said Davison. "The idea is to put things all over the park."

Davison says with the projection mapping technology, show creators can make different things happen in different little windows around the park.

For instance, during a part of the show with "Tangled," lighted lanterns may flow past you or during a song from "The Jungle Book," lighted vines start to grow and flowers begin to bloom on the walls around you. The show also will include a nod to the 60-year history of Disneyland.

"I really wanted to bring Walt (Disney) into this in a big way. And we do that. We go back to the heritage.  We talk about Walt.  We might or might not see it in the orange groves," Davison said, hinting about Disneyland's history of growing up among Orange County's 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."

Richard Sherman, the songwriter who helped create the music for "Mary Poppins" and other Disney classics, wrote "Kiss Goodnight," the new closing song for the fireworks and light show. Davison says the music will be recorded at London's famous Abbey Road Studios, the recording venue made famous by the Beatles.

The anniversary celebration will also kick off a new World of Color show, "Celebrate!" in California Adventure, which is described as a "salute to the wonderful world of Walt Disney."

Park officials referred back to a famous Disney quote. He said his park would never be completed "as long as there is imagination left in the world."

Reach Contributor Susan Valot here.  



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