Disney has announced new and returning entertainment, with stage shows and nighttime spectaculars coming to Disneyland and California Adventure in early and Spring 2022. This post takes a look at the latest additions to the lineup, with some added commentary.
This update builds upon recent news of festivals coming back to Disney California Adventure early in 2022, with Lunar New Year and DCA’s Food & Wine Festival occurring back to back from late January through April 2022 (with a short gap in between). Those two excellent events follow DCA’s Festival of the Holidays, which is now underway.
Since reopening, Disneyland Resort has already brought some fan-favorite entertainment, including the Disneyland Band, Citizens of Buena Vista Street, Dapper Dans, the Bootstrappers, Five & Dime, Guardians of the Galaxy Dance Off, and more. Plus, lots of holiday entertainment included with regular admission, like A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe…In Holiday Magic fireworks at Disneyland or the superlative “¡Viva Navidad!” street party and Mickey’s Happy Holidays over at Disney California Adventure.
The latest additions announced today will further strengthen that, leaving pretty much only Magic Happens Parade and Frozen – Live at the Hyperion as the big question marks. The former was brand new–literally only a couple weeks old–when the parks closed, so we’re assuming it’ll come back sooner rather than later. Frozen is more of a question mark, especially with it making sense for the Hyperion to produce a Marvel stunt show or something of that sort.
Anyway, here’s a look at what’s next on the horizon for entertainment at Disneyland and DCA in 2022…
“Celebrate Gospel!” – Disneyland will celebrate the soulful spirit of Gospel music with the return of “Celebrate Gospel!” In February 2022, “Celebrate Gospel!” will expand and feature live choir performances, each sharing its own distinctive style and inspiration. This powerful event moves to the Fantasyland Theater in Disneyland, where guests will be able to enjoy uplifting choir performances on select days during the month of February.
For those who are unfamiliar with Celebrate Gospel, it’s actually not a new event–this is its 12th year. Normally, Disneyland Resort celebrates Black History Month with Celebrate Gospel as a one-day event. In the past, it has taken place in Stage 17 or Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure, with over a dozen guest gospel choirs from throughout Southern California to perform from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. “Celebrate Gospel” is included with theme park admission.
Here’s the Celebrate Gospel Choir lineup from 2020:
Amazing Grace Conservatory (Los Angeles)
Eastvale Bible Church Mass Choir (Norco)
Faithful Central Bible Church Choir Fresh Generation (Inglewood)
Friendship Baptist Church Mass Choir (Yorba Linda)
Greater LA Cathedral Choir (Long Beach)
Greater Zion Church Family Voices of Destiny (Compton)
Inland Empire Voices of Unity (Riverside)
KJLH Radio Free Voices (Harbor City)
LA Inner Mass City Choir (Inglewood)
Life Church Voices of Life (Jurupa Valley)
Lorenzo Johnson & Praizum (Los Angeles)
New Hope Presbyterian Church Choir (Orange)
Rhythm and Moves Children’s Youth Choir (Pasadena)
West Angeles Church of God in Christ New Generation Choir (Los Angeles)
Worship Beyond Walls Mass Choir (Menifee)
“The Sound,” a vocal group that performs during Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure, typically has performed during Celebrate Gospel, too. (The Sound is fantastic–here’s hoping they return for this.)
Tale of the Lion King – After that in Spring 2022, the Fantasyland Theater in Disneyland will become home to Tale of the Lion King. A hit with guests when it debuted a few years ago in Disney California Adventure, Tale of the Lion King is led by Mwongozo and brought to life by the Storytellers of the Pride Lands, a troupe of traveling performers who present Simba’s beloved and timeless journey in a unique story-theater style with live music and dance.
The performance is presented in a contemporary story-theater style that retells the tale through language, song and dance. The Storytellers of the Pride Lands have come to share this ancestral story of how a cub became a king. Tale of the Lion King features new musical arrangements of favorite songs, including “Circle of Life,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Hakuna Matata,” among others. The live drumming and singing, along with the set and costumes all celebrate the cultural roots of this beloved Disney story.
Tale of the Lion King originally had a limited run at DCA as counter-programming during the initial opening months of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. As the initial crowds failed to materialize, it proved to be “unnecessary” and didn’t return prior to the closure. However, it could benefit from the relocation and perhaps a bit of reimagining and expansion in scope and scale. Moreover, with higher attendance at Disneyland, Tale of the Lion King will be a welcome addition to help absorb crowds.
As for moving to Fantasyland Theater, we view that as good news. Even pre-closure, Mickey and the Magical Map was really showing its age. While the performances within it were solid, the technology was looking a bit long in the tooth, and it’s probably time for something new. An expanded version of Tale of Lion King could either be that “something new” or a stopgap until that’s ready. Either way, or guess is that Mickey and the Magical Map isn’t ever coming back–at least not its old form.
Main Street Electrical Parade – In time to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Main Street Electrical Parade will make its grand return to Disneyland. This spectacular pageant of nighttime magic and imagination will be led by the iconic train and drum unit featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy, and proclaiming in lights: “Disneyland Presents — Main Street Electrical Parade.” The parade brings back many guest favorites including Elliot the Dragon and floats from Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan.
No return date or even a season has been set for Main Street Electrical Parade, but we suspect it’s relatively early in 2022. (Nothing whatsoever to corroborate this–just a hunch.) To our knowledge, this is the first time that Disney has confirmed MSEP will return to Disneyland, rather than “Disneyland Resort.” The latter left the door open for it to move over to DCA–this closes that door.
Fantasmic! – A must-see show for guests for nearly 30 years at Disneyland, Fantasmic is Disney’s longest-running nighttime spectacular. It’s an emotional, energy-filled extravaganza of colorful Disney animated film images, choreographed to an exciting musical score. The waters of the Rivers of America come alive as Mickey Mouse’s power of imagination enables him to create fantastic events and images as seen in some of our most beloved Disney classic films such as Fantasia, Jungle Book, Little Mermaid, and more. The original fanfare and theme song make this show a Disneyland classic.
No return date has been set for Fantasmic at Disneyland. We have no clue what to expect here; it’s possible that Disneyland will alternate this and MSEP, bringing back Fantasmic after Main Street Electrical Parade has concluded its run. There’s no reason to believe that’ll be the case and we highly doubt it. This isn’t Walt Disney World–multiple nighttime spectaculars often run simultaneously in Disneyland. Our guess is Spring 2022.
World of Color – In Spring 2022, guests will be able to gather around Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure to enjoy World of Color. This unique combination of music, fire, fog and laser effects, with Disney animation projected on an immense screen of water is one of Disney’s best nighttime spectaculars anywhere.
The unforgettable kaleidoscope of color has enthralled millions of guests at Disney California Adventure as it brings the magic and fun of Disney and Pixar films to life Â— all set to a soaring soundtrack. Audiences are immersed in some favorite Disney stories with memorable sequences of animation and music, including scenes like WALL-E and Eve zipping through the cosmos and Pocahontas exploring just around the riverbend.
Disneyland Forever Fireworks – Originally debuting for the Diamond Celebration, Disneyland Forever is a sky-high celebration filled with sparkling pyrotechnics and immersive projections that envelop guests in a breathtaking journey with surprising special effects. Main Street, U.S.A., and a few other spots in Disneyland become a magical canvas as guests are swept into a world of dreams. Two original songs, “Live the Magic” and the inspiring closing song “Kiss Goodnight,” were written by Disney Legend Richard Sherman.
Like Tale of the Lion King, Disneyland Forever last returned for a summer run during the opening season of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Disneyland regularly rotates fireworks shows–here’s hoping Remember… Dreams Come True is next up–so there’s nothing particularly noteworthy here. This is a really solid fireworks show–the type Magic Kingdom should have received for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Our guess for its return is early Spring 2022.
All in all, another great entertainment update from Disneyland! For one thing, many of these nighttime spectaculars and shows are beloved. For another, this helps significantly in spreading attendance throughout the day–and within the park–which helps Disneyland and DCA scale up capacity, inching up closer to 100%. That means more Magic Key and ticket availability, and more normalcy. Great news all around!
Are you excited about this entertainment news for Disneyland Resort? Happy to see nighttime spectaculars returning? What about shows coming to Fantasyland Theater? 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!