My Review of Disney’s World Of Color Show

I finally got down to Disneyland to check out World Of Color this past weekend.  The park was not nearly as crowded as I’d expected on a semi-holiday weekend.  With judicious use of fast passes, we didn’t wait for more than 20 minutes to ride anything. Even got my girlfriend to ride California Screamin’ and then she wanted to go again.  Score one for me. 🙂

One thing that really surprised me was a lack of Princess and the Frog stuff.  It’s been less than a year since it came out.  I expected to be battered about the head with it.  I saw, maybe, 3 items the whole time we were there.  A painting in the World Of Disney store, a quick flash in WOC, and one other thing somewhere.  The movie was a big hit, so I’m perplexed as to why they weren’t pumping it more.  Not even a window display at the Emporium.

So, on to World of Color… Overall impression?  Super cool and I wouldn’t hesitate to see it again.  It’s eye candy of the highest form, but could use some improvement.

The first thing I noticed, during the day, is that you can see all the fountain heads sticking up out of the water.  So instead of a nice shimmering lake, it looks like and industrial accident.  Walt wouldn’t have allowed it.  I would think they would either fill the lake higher or have put the fountains on a platform that could be raised and lowered for the shows.

We opted to get the picnic meals that get you the fast pass for the first show of the night.  The meal itself was better than I expected out of cold fried chicken and potato salad.  Or we were just really hungry. 🙂  But since we spend most of our vacations eating anything we can get our hands on, I’ll say it was better than we expected.  Larger portions than it looks like in the pictures too.

Our fast passes got us into the blue section.  Not sure how they decide who gets what section, but the sight lines were pretty decent from the bridge.   I just wish they wouldn’t STILL make you get there an hour ahead of time even after paying extra for the fast pass.  If I have to pay, I want to be able to show up 30 minutes before and get a decent seat.  Then again, there are no seats, so there ya go.

So we hang out for 30 minutes or so, then a pre-show show gets underway.  It involves two singers/MCs and some cool Lion King on Broadway style puppetry.  Huge light up puppets of Tigger, Genie, Mike W (from Monsters Inc), Lumiere, and Sebastian.  They MCs do a sing along, hype the crowd thing involving the characters to some obscure song from Tarzan.  I liked the puppets a lot.  Nicely designed.  The singers are obnoxious.  It’s what you’d expect from Disney.  Overblown rah rah by a girl and a guy with their best radio voice on.  And the original song they sang was totally unmemorable and so sweet it made your teeth hurt.

The music is Disney’s live in-park events is always lacking to me.  I know it has to be palatable and easy on the ears, but that can be done better.  I mean, Colors Of The Wind is one of the sappiest songs ever written, but the melody carries it so well.  Why can’t they get better songs for their shows?

So that show lasts 15 minutes.  Which leaves us with another 15 minutes to stand around.  I love that they try to entertain you while you’re waiting for the main event.  But that last 15 minutes in between gives you that “don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” feeling.  They either need to lengthen the pre-show or just put it in the last 15 minutes and segue right into the main show.

Then the show begins… And like I said, it’s beautiful eye candy.  This thing makes the fountain show at the Bellagio look like a drinking fountain.  It follows a formula somewhat like Fantasmic.  There’s the funny/goofy section, the love section, the dramatic artsy section, and the villain section.

However, unlike Fantasmic, there’s not plot.  Admittedly, Fantasmic’s plot is thin.  But what can you expect out of a 20 minute show?  WOC has no plot at all.  Which makes it more like a “Disney’s Greatest Hits” show.  Except, as many hard core fans have noticed, they miss a lot of hits.  Only the briefest references are made to the oldest Disney films, including Snow White.  Though I really liked the minor key version of “April Showers” from Bambi.

Most of the show though is “give them the catch phrase and go” entertainment.  Crush the Turtle yells “Righteous!” and Wall-E says “Eve” and Buzz Lightyear says “To Infinity And Beyond!”.  A couple short scenes from the film and that’s it.  I understand they probably wanted to keep the show fairly modular.  And a plot makes that more difficult.  But it needs some plot really badly.

As a comedian, I’m very attuned to the energy of a crowd.  And this show dropped them in the last five minutes.  I could feel the audience thinking “I’m just about done with this”.  That never happens in Fantasmic because the energy and the plot build to keep them engaged.  WOC turns the knobs to 10 right off the bat and there’s very little ebb and flow.

But like I said, it’s great eye candy and definitely worth watching.  I’ll repost these videos of the show below, but they don’t really do the thing justice.  If you’re going, make some time to see the show.

Phil Johnson

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