“Disney Enchantment” is the new nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park, which debuted to guests on October 1, 2021. The new show helped kick-off “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” an 18-month event in honor of the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. The show debuted with mixed reviews. What did we think and what do you need to know? Learn all about the show below.
1 – Disney Enchantment
“Disney Enchantment” adds its own new chapter to the storied 50-year history of nighttime entertainment at Magic Kingdom in a spectacle of Disney music, stunning fireworks, enhanced lighting, and immersive projection effects that extend for the first time from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. It plays out above and around guests in ways never experienced before at The Most Magical Place on Earth.
2 – You Are the Magic
Inspiring everyone to believe in the magic that lives within them, “Disney Enchantment” features characters, moments, and music from cherished films from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. An emotional original song anchors the show’s stirring soundtrack, “You Are the Magic,” written and performed by multiple GRAMMY® winner Philip Lawrence. His musical career began as a Disney cast member performing in Walt Disney World shows.
3 – Upgraded Projections
During the show, Cinderella Castle is aswirl in scenes of wonderment, thanks to state-of-the-art projection technology. Guests set sail across the sea with Moana, soar above the clouds on Aladdin’s magic carpet, and more. These projections extend down Main Street, U.S.A., complementing the images on the castle while creating an entirely new immersive and expansive environment for Magic Kingdom. We really feel that the upgraded projection technology is a big step up from Happily Ever After. The images are sharper, clearer, and easier to follow. They really add to the experience of the show.
4 – The “Story” of Disney Enchantment
The story of the show is not as defined as Happily Ever After. In Disney Enchantment, guests are invited to join dreamers like Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog,” Miguel from Disney and Pixar’s “Coco,” Rapunzel from “Tangled” and brothers Ian and Barley from Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” as they set out on a journey beyond the ordinary to a magic land filled with adventure, wonder, empowerment, and enchantment.
In one sequence, Joe Gardner from Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” brings guests with him into “the zone.” As he plays his piano, shimmering blue and purple lighting extend beyond the castle, transporting guests into a magical realm inspired by the art of Disney Legend Mary Blair. This dream-like space is filled with characters from Disney classics such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Alice in Wonderland” to contemporary tales including “Wreck-It Ralph” and Disney and Pixar’s “Luca.”
Through it all, these heroes discover they have only to look within themselves to find the power to believe and make dreams come true because the magic lived inside them all along.
Narrator Angela Bassett inspires the crowd with these words:
And so, we have found what we seek. The magic of dreams come true, in fact, lies within you. This magical kingdom remains a beacon to those with a wish in their heart, gifting every person who walks through these gates this enchantment. Look inside yourself and realize that you have everything you need to make all your dreams come true. Anything is possible, for you are the magic.
The journey builds to a crescendo as Tinker Bell takes flight and spreads shimmering gold pixie dust over the park, empowering everyone to believe in themselves and the magic all around them.
5 – So Many Disney Movies Represented
Like Happily Ever After, Disney Enchantment celebrates Disney movies – a lot of Disney movies, in fact. One unfounded criticism of the show is that it doesn’t include the “classics,” and that is simply not true. There are over thirty-five movies represented, and there are plenty of classics and lots of Disney princesses! Here is a rundown of the movies we spotted in Disney Enchantment. We spot a few more each time we watch. This list will likely grow as we spot a few more we missed.
- Alice in Wonderland
- Beauty and the Beast
- Finding Nemo
- Inside Out
- Lady & The Tramp
- Lilo & Stitch
- The Lion King
- The Little Mermaid
- Monsters Inc
- Peter Pan
- Princess and the Frog
- Raya and the Last Dragon
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Sword and the Stone
- Toy Story
- Wreck It Ralph
6 – More Fireworks Than Happily Ever After
One thing I love about this new show is that there are a lot more fireworks than Happily Ever After. That show simply did not have a lot of fireworks, especially compared to Wishes. To be fair, Wishes was a traditional fireworks show with no projections, so of course, it had more fireworks. But I always wished that Happily Ever After had more fireworks. Disney Enchantment delivers on that.
7 – Viewing Tips & Tricks
Like Happily Ever After, the main show is on Cinderella Castle, and so the best viewing location continues to be in front of the castle, around the hub, and in the plaza gardens. However, the projections also extend to Main Street U.S.A, so you may want to stand further back on Main Street to enjoy those projections. If possible, you’ll want to view it in many different locations. And while the fireworks can be enjoyed from anywhere in the park and even at Magic Kingdom resort beaches, the “story” really comes from the projections, so you’re best bet is to grab a good spot early and wait for the show.
8 – Mixed Reactions After Live Stream Debut
The show has received mixed reactions, with some loving it and many more expressing their disappointment and dislike of the show. On September 30, Disney live-streamed the new fireworks show, while the park was only open to a private event. This meant that almost everyone’s first experience with the show was watching at home on a computer screen or, worse yet, their phone. We wish Disney had not done it. There is simply no way you can get an accurate feel for the show when you aren’t in the park surrounded by the music and lights and feeling the fireworks go off. It’s one thing to watch a show you love at home and relive those memories. It’s completely different when you are creating a first impression. Bottom line, we think the live stream, while well-intentioned, ended up being a mistake.
I (Cindy) was in the park on September 30 and watched it in person. It greatly affected my experience. I really enjoyed it, got emotional, loved most of the music, and left feeling happy about it. I posted a short clip of the show on Instagram, shared my thoughts on how I liked it, and thought others would too. However, I was surprised at the negative reaction the next day. Would people have disliked it so much if they had been there in person? It was disappointing that so many people had a negative first experience with the show and seemed to have made their minds up before seeing it in person.
We think another part of the problem was confusion over what the show would be about. Many people thought this would be a 50th-anniversary fireworks show about Walt Disney World. It’s not. It’s a new fireworks show that debuted as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration. There’s a difference. It wasn’t designed to go through the history of the park.
Another common criticism is that it’s all-new movies and ignores the classics. As mentioned above, this is simply factually untrue. We were surprised by how many of the classics popped up, including some we had completely forgotten about. While much of the core music draws from movies in the last 25 years, there is a great spread of Disney and Pixar characters represented. Chances are, almost everyone is going to spot scenes from their favorite movie.
That’s not to say that the show is perfect or the best thing ever. On my second viewing and Chad’s first, I got a much better sense of some of the criticisms. The songs could be better, there could be more Disney songs, particularly in the middle, and the score could be improved upon. Chad felt that overall the music was a mess. There is no strong melody or core song you’ll find yourself singing along with during the show or once you get home (like Happily Ever After). There were moments (like the Moana sections) where the fan-favorite songs were strong and clear. However, during much of the show, it seems they are trying to fit too much in, and some of the mash-ups made the show’s music seem confusing and at times, chaotic. Chad also felt that during the parts where the show’s core song, “You Are the Magic”, is playing, there is way too much going on in the arrangement. It’s difficult to pick out the words, and he couldn’t find the melody. Overall, the music is the biggest problem with the show. If it fails to catch on with fans, this will be the reason why.
However, on the second viewing, I still got emotional at the message, was even more impressed with the projections, loved the fireworks even more, and I liked the song “You are the Magic” more on the second listen. I remember not liking “Happily Ever After” when that song was first released. Sometimes a new song needs time to grow on you. Chad enjoyed the show and also saw room for improvement. While he isn’t crazy about it yet, he thinks the show can grow on him with more viewings.
As we were discussing the show, we remembered our coverage of the debut of Happily Ever After, our review, and the fan reaction. Back then, people had a hard time letting go of Wishes, and the initial reaction was they didn’t like Happily Ever After. Fast forward four years, and Happily Ever After is the best.
All of this to say that we hope you give Disney Enchantment a chance no matter what you hear. We hope you’ll be able to view it in person, and we hope that you’ll view it with an open mind and ultimately find joy in the show, even if it isn’t your favorite. And we hope that when Tink comes out of that castle and flies across Magic Kingdom and the crowd roars, you still get goosebumps like we do!
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