World of Color - Ariel'sI’ve started this post about World of Color, and my experience viewing it last year, at least three times, but each attempt seems to fall short of explaining just how much I love the show and just how special it was to me.  But, hopefully, I’ve finally come close to expressing my love for World of Color.

As many of you may know, last year was particuarly rough for me.  In fact, it is not a stretch to say that it was the worst year of my life.  The shining ray of hope for me was definitely my birthday trip to Disneyland in September.  The anticipation kept me going through the year, largely due to the opportunity to see World of Color for the first time.  I even counted down the days until the World Premier of the show and I watched in awe as the event unfolded on a live-stream on my computer.  Even this little, pixelated form made me more and more excited to see the real thing.

Mike pre-showSo, when the event calendar for the days I would be in Disneyland was posted on, I was crushed to see that World of Color was conspicuously missing from the line-up.  I campagined on Twitter, Facebook, and even the official Disney Parks Blog for the shows to be extended into the Fall.  While I have no misconceptions that my small, but mighty, internet voice resonated with Disneyland executives, I couldn’t help but pat my self on the back when the show suddenly appeared on the Disneyland calendar just weeks before my vacation.  We rapidly booked our reserved seating dinner package at Ariel’s Grotto – which was no small task itself, as the Disney Dining computer system was perpetually unable to book our reservation – and spent the next few weeks mulling over maps, guides, and trip reports on to find just the right viewing spot for the show.  In hindsight my behavior might have been a bit comical, in fact.  I armed myself and my mom with printed copies of one forum member’s color-coded, copiously detailed map of Paradise Park and instructed her to get to the front rail of the reserved seating section even if it meant leaving me behind to find her later.  :D

WOC afterThe plan was to see World of Color on our first night in the parks, and a small snafu with our dining reservation at Ariel’s Grotto aside, the plans went off without a hitch.  And, as a side note, while Disney Dining lost our reservation, the management team at Ariel’s worked expediently to ensure that our experience was minimally affected by the problem.  Stomachs full, we lined up for the Great Cattle Herding, aka World of Color “queue,” a couple of hours before the show, and, thanks to my copious plans, we quickly took our spot at the front rail of the reserved seating section included with the dining package.  The wait even went quickly – we chatted with a fellow Disneyland-er standing next to us at the railing – and about 30 minutes before the show was scheduled to begin, the fun pre-show began.

I had heard mixed reviews of the pre-show and I didn’t know what to expect, but when the speakers started blasting the theme from the 1990 Party Gras Parade, I was in love.  My memories of the 35th Anniversary Party Gras are so special that they probably could have just played the song a few times without any entertainment and I would have been happy.  Thankfully, however, there was also an entertaining show with over-sized, glowing Disney characters dancing through the crowd.  Shortly after the end of the pre-show, the lights dimmed and it was time for the main event.

WOC FireAs soon as the show started, I was in awe.  It was so mesmerizingly beautiful.  I loved everything about it… how every movie clip was separate but still seamlessly flowed into the next and how each movement of the water matched every second of music or dialogue.  Beyond all of that, however, was what this show respresented in my life.  A year of struggle, a fight to get to that point, even the fulfillment of a wish that seemed so close to slipping out of my grasp.  It was the perfect Disney magical moment.  A pixie-dusted miracle of sorts, made just for me in that moment.

My mom and I stood there for a long while after the show ended, each enveloped in our own memories of the magic.  The warm glow of that moment seemed to linger with us for the rest of our trip.  In fact, one of my favorite memories of the whole trip was when we realized that we could hear, and partially see, the show from our balcony at the Grand Californian.  We sat there is darkness, drinking tea and reveling in the wonderment of World of Color and the blessing we had received to be able to live that experience.

© 2011, Rays of Disneyland. All rights reserved.

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