"World of Color" Debuts, Part of Disneyland Expansion


Disney's brand new "World of Color" is being hailed as a big step in the rejuvenation of Disney California Adventure park.

The after-dark show of water-based special effects debuted before an audience of celebrities and VIPs at California Adventure's Paradise Bay last week, and is now open to the public.

Inspired by the 1960s TV show, "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color," the spectacular was five years in the making. It uses music, animation, color, light, fire and water, lots of water, as in huge mountains of water on which animation is projected.

Variety calls it "certainly worth watching" and says the mix of effects is "stunning, even mesmerizing at times, as scenes from various Disney toons play out on walls of water rising and falling across the lagoon."

Mickey Mouse, of course, attended the premier, as did Disney's top brass.

Robert Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, called the "World of Color" a "magical event that showcases beloved Disney characters in an entirely new way."

Thomas O. Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, said it marks a milestone in the expansion of Disney California Adventure Park and will "captivate our guests with an end-of-day experience that is exhilarating, emotional and highly memorable." Disney was "excited" about the debut, he added.

The 25-minute show is presented on a mega-scale. It uses powerful fountains that become stars of the show as they create giant projection screens -- imagine a wall of water 380 feet wide and 50 feet high, featuring Disney and Disney Pixar characters.

According to Variety, making appearances in the spectacular are characters from "Toy Story," and "The Princess and the Frog," "The Little Mermaid," "Finding Nemo," and more.

The complex production involves a superstructure of nearly an acre. There are nearly 1,200 fountains ranging in height from 30 feet to 200 feet. There are 30 high-definition projectors, 14 submersible. And then there are flame projections, lasers and other special effects.

Disney says the attraction began with a brainstorming session by the show's director and his creative team, and as the idea grew, Disney sought out new technologies and multimedia to support a basic concept that water can come to life, dance, change character and move the audience.

Get a behind-the-scenes look here:

The soundtrack was performed by nearly 100 musicians and the musical score combines familiar and new melodies including a newly arranged version of the TV theme music for "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color," which is by the same composers -- Richard B. and Robert M. Sherman -- as the music to "Mary Poppins" and "It's a Small World."

According to Variety, the scenes that play out the best on the wall of water are sequences from the water-based adventures "The Little Mermaid" and "Finding Nemo," while "Toy Story" uses lasers in what the magazine calls "a thrilling way" to show a battle between Buzz Lightyear and evil Emperor Zurg.

Variety reports the debut crowd erupted in cheers when they caught a brief projected glimpse of Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow as the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean" was blasted.

Says Variety, "overall, the show is a breathtaking sight worth taking in."

The show is part of a reported $1 billion overhaul of the park.
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