The Walt Disney Company’s 100th Anniversary will be the largest cross-company global celebration in its 100-year history, officially kicking off during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC. This post details what we know thus far about Disneyland’s entertainment plans during Disney100.
“Ten decades of creativity, innovation, and determination created The Walt Disney Company you know today—the most enduring and beloved name in entertainment,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek during the opening ceremonies of D23 Expo. “It’s an awesome responsibility to lead Disney as we begin our second century of telling stories and creating magic that will endure for another 100 years.”
During D23 Expo 2022, the company revealed Mickey Mouse in his shimmering new platinum outfit, which is sure to appear in meet & greets, cavalcades, and more during Disney100 at Disneyland. According to the company, this costume was designed to reflect the optimism and creativity of Disney is it celebrates 100 years and looks toward the next century.
Throughout the weekend, fans heard about incredible new entertainment, experiences, and events coming from every corner of The Walt Disney Company for the celebration. From Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 2023 release Wish and Disney100: The Exhibition, which will tour domestically and internationally beginning next year, to new spectaculars opening at Disneyland Resort, here’s a taste of what’s to come during Disney100…
At Disneyland Resort, Disney100 will kick off in late January 2023 with special limited-time celebrations taking place throughout the whole year. The Happiest Place on Earth will receive new platinum-infused décor, new sparkling looks for Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their pals, special food and beverage offerings, and so much more.
Disneyland Resort guests will be dazzled by two all-new nighttime spectaculars for Disney100. Let’s start with a look at what’s new for DCA…
At Disney California Adventure, “World of Color – One” will celebrate the storytelling legacy started by Walt Disney a century ago.
World of Color – One will tell a new story of how a single action, like a drop of water, creates a ripple that can grow into a wave of change. It brings some of the most courageous, loving and inspiring characters to life in new ways. The show will also feature a new original song, “Start a Wave.”
I wish I could say I’m cautiously optimistic about World of Color – One, but I am not.
Like Disney Enchantment, the concept art for this looks like “A Salute to All Things Disney, But Actually Just the Disney+ Streaming Content We Want to Promote.” If World of Color – One is celebrating the legacy started by Walt Disney and 100 years of the company, it stands to reason that 10% of the show is from the last decade. I’m a reasonable person, and would even be okay with 15 to 20% of the show being from the last decade.
Color me skeptical that this ‘One’ will pass that test.
Even if it does, the scars from Disney Enchantment are still fresh. While there aren’t many fans of Disney Enchantment, it seems like those who enjoy that show do so mainly in spite of its substance, because there’s a certain appeal to pyro exploding over a castle. And they’re right–there is.
There’s also a certain appeal to colorful water fountains, lasers, and the other cool visuals featured in World of Color. But it isn’t the same. World of Color is longer and just doesn’t have the same primal appeal as explosions. Sure, there’s the part with Captain Jack Sparrow and fire that everyone loves, but that’s about it.
World of Color simply cannot “get away with” the same pacing woes, song selection shortcomings, etc. that are evident in Disney Enchantment. Hopefully, a different team is tasked with World of Color – One.
Over at Disneyland, Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom will become a magnificent canvas with “Wondrous Journeys,” a new nighttime spectacular that will ignite the wonder in all of us.
Wondrous Journeys will feature nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date, taking visitors on a journey filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart. It will continue to build upon Disneyland’s state-of-the-art projection effects, turning the park into an artist’s canvas that brings characters to life all around you as fireworks dance in the sky. Wondrous Journeys will feature scenery all along Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, “it’s a small world,” and the Rivers of America.
“Wondrous Journeys” will also feature an incredible new song, “It’s Wondrous,” which D23 Expo attendees heard for the first time!
I’m much more optimistic about Wondrous Journeys at Disneyland than World of Color – One.
This might seem counterintuitive given that most of my fears for World of Color were predicated upon the underwhelming Disney Enchantment. Unlike World of Color – One, that’s a castle park fireworks show…just like Wondrous Journeys.
The difference is that there’s (usually) a certain reverence within the company for anything in Disneyland, and locals hold anything at Walt Disney’s park to a higher standard. It’s one thing to shove a Disney+ sizzle reel into the upstart second gate, but another entirely to pull those kind of shenanigans at Disneyland.
On top of that, Disney has already indicated that Wondrous Journeys will feature nods to all 60 WDAS films, which is a smart move and suggests better balance. (That is, unless the 10 most recent ones are the bulk of the show while the first two-dozen are all part of a single projection.)
Oh, and I really enjoyed the “It’s Wondrous” song.
Finally, the long-awaited return of the “Magic Happens” parade will occur at Disneyland in Spring 2023.
This parade ran for roughly two weeks pre-closure, and is still essentially brand-new. We still have never seen Magic Happens, and have resisted the temptation to watch on YouTube or listen to the soundtrack. Glad to hear it’s finally returning!
Ultimately, it sounds like Disneyland Resort will be the company’s ‘hub’ for the Walt Disney Company’s 100th Anniversary celebration, which makes sense. Whereas Walt Disney World is the cash cow, Disneyland is the original–and still the crown jewel. It’s the home park for the vast majority of the company’s executives, Imagineers, and other creatives.
Accordingly, it just makes sense for Disneyland to play host to Disney100. It’ll be interesting to see how the company uses the parks to have limited time or special events for Californians, and what else is done to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. As always, we’ll keep you posted!
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
Are you ready to dazzled by two all-new nighttime spectaculars: “World of Color – One” at Disney California Adventure and “Wondrous Journeys” at Disneyland for Disney100? Are you more excited or optimistic for one of the two? Pleased to see Magic Happens returning after its very limited debut run? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!