Premiering November 2012, Disney World guests in the Magic Kingdom will be able to experience ‘Celebrate the Magic’, an all new nighttime projection show on Cinderella Castle featuring the same elements and technology utilized in The Magic, The Memories, and You!, which started showing in January 2011 as part of the “Let the Memories Begin!” marketing campaign. Disney has announced that this new show will feature all new music and special effects, and it is anticipated that the “story” of the show will be entirely different.
To make way for ‘Celebrate the Magic,’ the last date ‘The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ will be shown is September 3rd. This will be the last day for the show at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, although Disneyland will not be receiving ‘Celebrate the Magic.’
While ‘The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ featured guest and stock PhotoPass photos due to its tie-in with the “Let the Memories Begin!” campaign, it is anticipated that this new show will focus more on its own story, albeit through loosely connected vignettes. More importantly, it is expected that there will be some “infrastructure” (for lack of a better term) and audio/video upgrades made to the projection system. The exact nature of the upgrades is presently unknown, but considering that there’s a two-month plus downtime to change shows that otherwise can (and have when seasonal updates came online) be swapped out overnight, expectations and rumors are that this new incarnation of the Cinderella Castle projection show will be slightly plussed over the previous version.
Eliminating the guest photos from ‘The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ is the first step towards legitimizing the Castle projection show. With the exception of the inclusion of these photos, ‘The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ was actually pretty good…for what it was. While The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ drew the ire of the fan community when it was first announced, it eventually grew into a very popular show at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom (it was never as popular at Disneyland).
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical of ‘The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ when it was first announced. Not vocally skeptical like those who proclaimed, “IT WOULD RUIN THE CASTLE, I’LL NEVER VISIT WALT DISNEY WORLD AGAIN!,” but I did think it might be a bit gimmicky and that the Castle was an inappropriate canvas. I also didn’t really care to see others’ photos on the Castle (at Walt Disney World), but it wasn’t the end of the world. I was mostly just annoyed that the grand promotion for the year centered around a relatively insignificant Castle show. I still don’t think the Castle show is a “big deal,” but it’s nice for what it is.
When I finally saw it at Walt Disney World, I was very impressed. In fact, I remarked in our Disneyland Spring 2011 trip report: “The projections come alive, and at various points, it almost seems as if someone is drawing on the facade, as if vines are growing on it, etc. I was really impressed. I was much more impressed with the show at Walt Disney World…It wasn’t especially moving or anything, and I still could do without the photos of people, but I am hopeful that this technology will be used in the future for great effect. It has so much potential.”
I think that’s likely what’s happening, and I’m optimistic that the ‘Celebrate the Magic’ will further this potential in a way that makes this an even more compelling show for guests. I’m not quite so enthusiastic (or crazy) that I think this will compare to ‘Disney Dreams’ at Disneyland Paris, but I think it could be a remote step in that direction. I think the guest reaction to ‘The Magic, The Memories, and You!’ was so resoundingly positive and pyro is so expensive that Disney is likely considering ways to eliminate or scale back on a dedicated fireworks show like Wishes!, so a hybrid show might not be too far away.
Only a few years ago I would have thought it unthinkable for the Magic Kingdom not to have a classic fireworks show, but with the success of Disney Dreams (light fireworks) and World of Color (no fireworks), it now wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a show at the Magic Kingdom that replaces Wishes! and leans less heavily on pyro, but instead finds ways to incorporate other technology. While I love fireworks, storytelling is paramount to me, and I’d much rather see a compelling and unique multi-faceted show than a fireworks show like Wishes!
To be clear, I don’t think ‘Celebrate the Magic’ will sound the death knell for Wishes! (very clearly: it’s in addition to Wishes!, not in replacement of Wishes!), but I predict that it’s the precursor to such a future show that will end up replacing fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. My prediction is based in nothing other than my own prognosticating, so don’t fret if you’re a huge fan of the traditional fireworks shows–I could be totally wrong.
Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong about the future of nighttime shows after ‘Celebrate the Magic,’ I think the new show, if executed correctly and upgraded appropriately, should be a nice little improvement for the Magic Kingdom. It certainly isn’t a major announcement or upgrade, but it’s nice to see Disney continue to tinker with these things.
My only complain…the name. Disney’s marketing team needs to learn that the words “celebrate,” “Dreams,” and “Magic” aren’t automatic recipes for an awesome name. They throw around these terms so regularly that they’ve lost all meaning.
What do you think about the announcement of ‘Celebrate the Magic’? Are you excited to see this new show? Let us know in the comments!