Show Spotlight: Disneyland Forever – The Lights Display

“Step into the magic…”

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While the fireworks part of this show failed to ignite my excitement, the lights display had me in jaw-dropping awe and tears very quickly indeed!

Mousertainment Memorandum: I’m going to be using just one vantage point on Main Street, U.S.A. for the photos from this display so as not to spoiler too much.

What is Disneyland Forever?

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Disneyland Forever is the new fireworks and lights display show created for the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration.

The lights display uses digital mapping projection techniques that Disney has continued to expand and perfect after starting with lights displays on various park castles around the world and on Disneyland Park’s It’s a Small World façade a few years ago.

When and where can I find it?

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Disneyland Forever fireworks play nightly over Sleeping Beauty Castle – weather permitting (check the daily Entertainment Times Guide for the schedule). However, the lights display portion of the show can be seen from multiple locations throughout Disneyland Park:

  • On Sleeping Beauty Castle itself
  • On the buildings along Main Street, U.S.A.
  • On the Matterhorn
  • On the riverfront on the Rivers of America
  • On the It’s a Small World façade in Fantasyland

Mousertainment Tip: Where to stand for the show? So far I have only experienced the lights display on Main Street (though I plan to return to enjoy the displays at all of the other locations over the coming anniversary year). But for that location I would strongly recommend standing in the middle of the street back towards Town Square or at least as far back on Main Street as you can get so you can see as much of the lights display as possible on all of the storefronts. This won’t give you a great view of the fireworks over the castle or of the castle display itself, but will give you the optimum viewing spot for a more unique part of the Disneyland Forever show!

Why spotlight it?

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At first, when Disneyland previewed the test footage of this lights display on Main Street, I was concerned about this triggering motion sickness as frankly I couldn’t even finish watching the video!

But I figured at worst, if I became uncomfortable, I could shut my eyes where I was standing or just look down until it was over. Happily that never became necessary.

I still feel that as a show celebrating 60 years of *Disneyland* it doesn’t really connect as the focus here is really on Disney movies and their music. However, from a pure entertainment value standpoint, the lights display combined with the Disneyland Forever soundtrack is pure magic.

My mouth was literally agape as this show rose and swelled around me, immersing me in images and sounds that played perfectly on the fronts of the buildings, often using features of the buildings themselves to tell their musical story or remind of special movie moments.

I really do not want to spoiler this experience other than saying there are practical effects as well during the show that lend to the incredible feeling of experiencing these Disney moments in a whole new way.

However, if you are curious about what some of the musical choices are that inform the lights display, I will say that some of my favorites included The Lion King, Tangled, Frozen and most especially, Mary Poppins!

I think this is a show that really needs to be seen multiple times (and in multiple places!) to experience it all and I plan to do exactly that in the coming months!

Have you seen “Disneyland Forever”? What did you think of the lights display?

Update 4/10/16: Here’s a view of the lights display on Sleeping Beauty Castle during the Frozen segment:

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Update 8/3/16: The Disneyland Resort has announced that the Disneyland Forever fireworks and light show spectacular will end at the conclusion of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration on September 5th.  It will be replaced by the returning Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show (without a lights display component).  So if you’d like to catch this one more time, you’ll want to get to the Disneyland Resort in the next month!


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