Nighttime entertainment at Walt Disney World has been getting an overhaul in 2016, with the removal of the Main Street Electrical Parade in early October, and the announcement that the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be taking a short break later this year to make way for the new, seasonal Jingle Bell Jingle BAM show.
However, it looks like Disney isn’t done making changes yet to its nighttime lineup just yet, as they recently surprised fans with the reveal of a brand new show at the Magic Kingdom (well..."brand new" as long as you're not a regular Tokyo Disneyland visitor, that is) that will be debuting in just a few days. But first, we've got some bad news for fans of Disney's existing castle projection show...
Say goodbye to Celebrate the Magic...
Celebrate the Magic premiered on November 13, 2012 and now it looks like almost exactly four years after this show debuted at the Magic Kingdom for the first time, Disney fans will be saying goodbye to it forever on November 3, 2016. This comes as quite a shock, as Celebrate the Magic went down for refurbishment earlier this year, with many assuming that it was getting some upgraded projectors during its downtime.
However, it looks like this refurbishment may actually have been to install upgraded equipment for a brand new show, that is going to debut just one day after Celebrate the Magic takes its final bow…
New show Once Upon a Time to debut at the Magic Kingdom on November 4, 2016
Disney has confirmed that it will be debuting a new show named Once Upon a Time next week on November 4, 2016. This new show is based on an existing nighttime spectacular at Tokyo Disneyland and features Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast sharing familiar bedtime stories with Chip inspired by classic Disney films like Cinderella, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Interestingly, the original Once Upon a Time show at Tokyo Disneyland (which debuted in 2014) makes extensive use of fire, laser light and pyrotechnic effects, and has served as the nightly spectacular for this park up until last year (when the limited-time Sky High Wishes debuted at the park).
However, as this show will be taking over Celebrate the Magic’s spot right before Wishes, it seems unlikely that this version of the show will include these kinds of effects. In addition, Walt Disney World's official attraction page for Once Upon a Time lists the runtime for this show as 14 minutes, which means that some pretty hefty edits will have to be made to the original 19-minute show.
A badly needed addition?
With the removal of the Main Street Electrical Parade earlier in October (and seemingly no replacement in the works), Disney has been cutting back on evening entertainment at the Magic Kingdom. After bouncing back and forth between the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland several times over the past four decades, the over forty year old Electrical Parade will be making one last pilgrimage to Disneyland this fall before being retired forever.
Although in many ways the introduction of Once Upon a Time in place of Celebrate the Magic appears to be a like-for-like replacement (and in no way compensates for the lost parade), at least it will introduce something new to the park's line-up and give guests a reason to stay later into the evening. As we've suggested before, the loss of the Main Street Electrical Parade has created some crowd-control headaches for Cast Members, making it more difficult to stagger guests' exit times from the Magic Kingdom. The introduction of a fresh new show may go some way to easing this problem. After repeated news of attraction closures and removals, it's also great to see something different being added to the line-up of the world's best-attended theme park.
Fortunately we won’t have to wait too long to see what changes are made to the Walt Disney World version of the Tokyo Disneyland original, as it is debuting just a week from today. Are you sad to see Celebrate the Magic take its final bow at Walt Disney World? Or are you more excited to see Once Upon a Time make its debut at the Magic Kingdom next week?