Looking back at the year, there were definitely shows that I wanted to cover – in particular, some no longer with us – but didn’t have any pictures to share and decided I couldn’t do full features on them without proper photo accompaniment.
But today, I’d still like to give some praise to those couple of former shows that I would have featured in more depth individually if I could have.
I’ll start with a short-lived but fun parade at Disneyland Park that ran from 2009-2010:
Celebrate! A Street Party Parade
I may be literally the only person on earth who loved this parade. I credit it to the great musical selections and high energy dancing (no surprise here!) that always made me have to stop and watch and dance along!
Most people seemed to regard it as just a low budget production with very simple floats for the characters to ride upon and accompanying bicycle carts. And pretty much everyone agreed that its replacement, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade (to be spotlighted here at a later date!) was a vast qualitative improvement – and even I can’t argue that.
But there was a joy and a fun to Celebrate! that I dearly loved – whether it was interacting with the DJ-style hosts at the tops of the floats or the performers along Main Street, U.S.A. I can’t recall having a better time at a Disney parade than this one. Just hearing the first strains of “Hey! Get up! Get loud! Start pumpin’ up the party now!” would get me excited and I’d head right for the parade route.
Its counterpart at Walt Disney World Resort would probably be the Move It! Shake It! Parades (I will be doing a flashback at some point on the early incarnation of Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! at a future date). These are both parades designed to invite the guests to join in the fun and I really like that aspect of it. However, I loved the music of Celebrate! at Disneyland Park best. It made me so happy to hear upbeat songs like “The Cup of Life (Ale Ale Ale)” with the accompanying stilt walkers and conga line or “You Can’t Stop the Beat” – possibly one of the most dance-worthy songs ever!
That’s probably why I got teary a few years after it ended when I happened to be at EPCOT at park open and they had a brief opening musical moment that included Celebrate’s signature song “Celebrate You!” This song was also used in the Magic Kingdom’s former parade, Celebrate a Dream Come True (also due for a future flashback feature!). But for me, the energy of it worked best at Celebrate! at Disneyland.
For me, this was closer to a traveling dance show with long choreographed performances and constant cast member costume changes than an actual parade and that’s probably why I loved it and maybe why as a parade it wasn’t so successful!
Instant Concert! … just add water
Another terrific and sadly missed show that lasted for over two years at Disney California Adventure is Goofy’s Instant Concert! … just add water.
This terrific five-minute-long show was introduced with the re-theming of the park in 2012 and would play several times per day at Paradise Pier. “Maestro” Goofy in his finest almost black tie and tails would conduct the water fountains to rise and sway in a tuneful show coordinated against a silly symphony of classical music.
Personally, I thought this was one of the best character shows I’ve ever seen at a Disney park. And again, I’m sure I’m in the minority, but frankly I liked it WAY more than World of Color (to be spotlighted eventually!)!
I thought it was a great showcase for Goofy as a character and a wonderful callback to his classic animated short cartoons – really, it was like watching one of them come to life! Especially with the classical music soundtrack.
It was also a great daytime use of the water fountains of Paradise Bay that were otherwise dormant until used in the evenings for World of Color.
Plus in the warm weather, the kids loved the chance for any splashes from the fountains that sometimes reached the shore!
I’m still hoping that someday this wonderful show might return!
Beauty and the Beast at The Royal Theatre
As a big fan of Tangled at The Royal Theatre in Disneyland’s Fantasyland, I went far less often to the other regular show that appeared there simultaneously starting in 2013 – Beauty and the Beast.
I did quite enjoy Beauty and the Beast, as like Tangled, the show had great charm and comedic appeal to youngsters and grown-ups alike. It also had an audience sing-along to the classic title song. And it included a special guest appearance by Belle, who helped re-tell her story of meeting the Beast and how she got to live happily ever after.
As with Tangled, Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones took on the various other roles of the story – in this case, to particular effect as the Beast and Gaston, respectively.
But since Tangled offered two characters (Rapunzel and Flynn) on stage vs. the one in Beauty and the Beast, plus Mr. Smythe got more song solos in Tangled and I felt the humor was just a touch more sophisticated and less silly than in Beauty and the Beast – which always seemed to play better to the young ones in the audience, while Tangled seem to appeal more to the adults – I just preferred the latter to the former and went more often to see it.
However, the Beauty and the Beast show, in my opinion, is still superior in every way to the current Frozen production currently playing in The Royal Theatre. But if only one were to come back, I would still hope for Tangled by preference.
Still, that magical moment of seeing Belle step out onto the stage in her yellow ball gown never ceased to elicit gasps of awe and amazement from guests of all ages and I do miss that very special Disney moment in the show.
Well, that and “Monsieur” Jones teaching the Beast how to dance. Always a very funny bit, too! And the talking teapot and clock… and…
Okay, yes. I miss quite a bit about this show. And I would gladly trade Frozen in a heartbeat to have it back, too!
Did you ever see any of these shows when they were at the Disneyland Resort? Would you like to see any of them return?
Update 11/19/16: Happily, Beauty and the Beast did return to The Royal Theatre this year (along with Tangled), with just a few changes to the production. Check out my feature on it here!