Disney California Adventure’s New World Of Color Almost Didn’t Include Walt Disney
Walt Disney used to say “It was all started by a mouse,” but of course, it was actually all started by the man who co-created the mouse with Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney himself. The new nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure, World of Color - One, recognizes that, by not only opening the show with the voice of Walt Disney but ending it that way as well. It’s the perfect way to start and end the show, but it very nearly didn’t happen that way.
As part of Disneyland’s 100 Years Of Wonder celebration, which includes a look back at Disneyland history, Disney California Adventure debuted a new World of Color all about how one person can make a huge difference, and so the story is bookended by the voice of the one man who started the Walt Disney Company. I asked Disney Live Entertainment's Jennifer Magill about the decision to open and close the show with Walt, and she told me that the voice of Walt wasn’t part of the initial show design. Magill said…
As we were putting the show together, we didn’t initially have that, and as we started to think ‘What’s missing? What do we have here?’ and we were like ‘Of course, we need to start and end with Walt.’
When World of Color - One begins we hear Walt Disney talking about how meaningful it is to him that so many people appreciate the work that he has done in his career. It’s the best possible way to start the show as what follows is a series of sequences, primarily from Disney’s animated films, that all exist because of the company he founded. And of course, it all takes place in a theme park that also exists because of his dream to build Disneyland.
The show then also ends in a very Walt way, with Disney saying that everything we’ve seen is just a “dress rehearsal” for what is to come. Walt Disney was always a man focused on whatever was next. Whether it was moving from animated shorts to feature-length movies or from building a theme park to dreaming about creating Epcot, a city of the future, Walt Disney was always looking forward. He always said Disneyland would never be completed, and it has remained an evolving theme park ever since.
During the recent 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, there was a feeling from many fans that the event did not properly celebrate the history of the park itself, including Walt Disney. By contrast, Walt is already all over the 100 Years of Wonder celebration, with his name on merchandise and his voice in shows.
At the same time, while Walt Disney was always looking toward the future, he was also a man who understood the power of nostalgia. Main Street U.S.A. is inspired by the hometown he remembered from when he was a child. And for many, Walt Disney himself is that nostalgia. Even for those of us that were born years after his death, his voice takes us to another place and time, which is why it’s the perfect voice to take us into the story of World of Color - One. The show runs nightly at Disney California Adventure.