Show Spotlight: Paint the Night

“When can we do this again?”

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What is Paint the Night Parade?

The new LED-filled nighttime parade has debuted for the Disneyland Resort 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. And it is a beauty, for sure.

I’m going to try to give a quick rundown of the highlights of the show here, so if you want to avoid parade spoilers, I suggest you stop reading now!

Who are the performers?

Kicking off with the opening float of a drum, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell is a beautiful homage to Disneyland’s classic Main Street Electrical Parade (I will be spotlighting the Walt Disney World Resort version of that parade later this week!) – along with showing exactly what a technology upgrade has happened between these shows!

Even the size of these new floats is incredible – and you first really see that with Mack the truck from CARS.

Mack from the CARS section of the parade.

Mack from the CARS section of the parade.

Another thing you will notice are the amazing overwhelming COLORS in this parade – the range and depth of them are exquisite – as seen in The Little Mermaid float.

Ariel says hello from The Little Mermaid float.

Ariel says hello from The Little Mermaid float.

It’s also great that several characters are mic’d so they can personally greet the crowd!

Another special factor is the ability of the performers to interact with the crowd and their various “Made with Magic” merchandise (glowing ear hats, bows, gloves, wands, and paintbrushes).

The individual dancers between the floats in the parade have really creative costumes – some favorites included the CARS dancers and the jellyfish in The Little Mermaid section.

One of the less successful floats for me, however, was the Beauty & the Beast one – while the large rose was beautiful, seeing a “normal”-sized Belle in an oversized dress just has a very odd perspective to it. And I’m not sure I get why Rapunzel and Cinderella trailed behind randomly on tiny gilded cage-like carts.

Belle’s big dress on the Beauty & the Beast float.

Belle’s big dress on the Beauty & the Beast float.

But the clear showstopper unsurprisingly was the Frozen float of Elsa’s ice castle. This display was immense, enormous and exquisite – from the detailing on the castle to artwork of the sisters’ childhood – you can’t help but gasp in amazement as this one approaches and passes by with Elsa and Anna at the front and Olaf waving from the back.

Elsa and Anna on the Frozen float.

Elsa and Anna on the Frozen float.

And yet, I think one of my favorite features was on the final Sorcerer’s Apprentice float. There was this exotic whirligig of color twirling around and around that I found hypnotic in its beauty – though I had to be careful not to stare at it too long in case it triggered motion sickness!

Whirligig on the back of Sorcerer Mickey’s float!

Whirligig on the back of Sorcerer Mickey’s float!

When and where can I find it?

Paint the Night is currently running twice each evening along the parade route – it starts either from It’s a Small World and moves toward Main Street, U.S.A or the reverse route depending on which show you see!

Why spotlight it?

Because it’s new and it is gorgeous!

I do wish some different characters and films had been represented – it feels like we continually get the same ones featured in each show or parade. But I guess they’re still what’s popular. And there is some disappointment in having gotten a parade that debuted at another park first (Hong Kong Disneyland) rather than getting something completely original. However, we did get the new Frozen float that Hong Kong does not yet have.

But the detailing on the floats is amazing – from Mack’s eyes moving around to classic toy favorites like Lite Brites appearing on the Toy Story float. And the nostalgia factor is high as the rosette at the tip of Tinker Bell’s wand is actually from the Main Street Electrical Parade! There are other nods to that Disneyland classic as well with the drum float and later fab five units – and if you listen closely, you might even catch a musical tribute mixed in there too!

Overall, the new parade is clearly going to be a resounding success. It’s an entertainment and technological wonder that is captivating to behold. But like the daytime Mickey’s Soundsational Parade – it is a marvel of form, but still seems to lack some of the heart of earlier parades like the Main Street Electrical Parade or the magical and still unforgettable Lion King Celebration daytime parade. Those are the ones I still remember with great affection and awe so many years later. Only time will tell if Paint the Night will eventually join those ranks.

Have you seen the new Paint the Night parade yet? What do you think of it in comparison to the Main Street Electrical Parade?

Update 8/3/16: The Disneyland Resort has announced that this parade will end at the conclusion of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration on September 5th.  Rumors and speculation range from this parade being sent to the Walt Disney World Resort and/or becoming a seasonal offering at Disneyland that may return later this year or next year.  But for now, if you’d like to Paint the Night, I’d suggest doing it before it closes next month!

Update 4/7/18: Paint the Night will be returning to the Disneyland Resort as of 4/13/18 but it will be moving over to Disney California Adventure!  There will reportedly be some changes in the floats with Frozen being removed and a new float featuring The Incredibles being introduced in its place in June.


2 thoughts on “Show Spotlight: Paint the Night

  1. Thank you for providing the update of the new parade. I have been searching the net to find it but alas could not find much. You have done a great job giving info and taking pictures. I can only hope they still have this parade the next time we get to California.

    Liked by 1 person

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