The Happiest Place on Earth, better known as Disneyland, opened its gates in 1955. Disney kicked off a 60th anniversary special last year, and the theme park in Anaheim, California is still celebrating throughout 2016. Disney invited fans of the park and company, really, to be their guests Sunday night for a bedazzled special on ABC called The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60. It was a literal song and dance combining performances in Disneyland and the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with montages and tributes. Celebrities abounded; some were there as presenters and others belted out renditions of Disney classics.
If you’re a Disney enthusiast, the special offered plenty of warm and fuzzy moments. I mean, just seeing Dame Helen Mirren in Mickey Mouse ears practically made watching the two-hour event worth it.
Disneyland was Walt Disney’s first theme park. He had the grandest of dreams and realized them. With Disneyland, he created a place where people of all ages can escape to a magical place. It’s a constantly changing location with new sights and sounds to offer. The special spent a little time looking back and peppered the historical glimpses with syrupy but not necessarily untrue statements from celebrity guests about the park, but more about Disney in general–films, characters, etc. In fact, Disneyland wasn’t a huge part of the celebration despite being the reason for it.
If you didn’t watch the diamond-encrusted, fluff-filled extravaganza, what’s the tl;dr? I have you covered.
The Big News
The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 wasn’t really about news, though they teased the Harrison Ford and Star Wars announcement endlessly. We’ll get to that in a second, but first, we’ll touch on the other news-y item: Bryce Dallas Howard appeared and introduced the premiere of the first look at the remake of Pete’s Dragon:
And onto the Star Wars land preview! Ford introduced it as the Star Wars Experience. (I’m dying to know how much he was paid to be there, by the way.) The glimpse into the future showed some concept art we’ve seen before but also new imagery. They teased the E ticket Millennium Falcon attraction that will put riders in the pilot’s seat of the fastest ship in the galaxy. The footage made it appear as if the rider will have full control and will end up in a battle between the Resistance and the First Order.
Renderings also teased a street market with “local delicacies,” a local cantina, and a dinner club. Head to the gallery below to see a ton o’ screenshots of the concept art from Star Wars land. The brief peek ended with a rousing round of Star Wars Live in Concert; it marked the first time I’ve heard music from The Force Awakens played outside the soundtrack and it gave me chills. You can see even more of what the
Memorable Performances and Special Guests
“Rey’s Theme” wasn’t the only amazing tune to grace the speakers of the Dolby Theatre and Disneyland. Fall Out Boy put their own spin on “I Wanna Be Like You,” and Idina Menzel sang “Let It Go” because the Frozen song will be part of every Disney special forever. Elton John appeared on stage in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland with a stirring performance of “Circle of Life,” and Dick van Dyke danced on stage for a little bit of “Step in Time.”
Brief segments aired between the music, too. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman previewed Zootopia, there was a montage about Disney Princesses, and the Modern Family cast gave so-so tips for Disneyland first-timers. The cutest interlude was at the beginning when Josh Gad showed off some of the secrets of the park. He covered the delicious Dole Whip (it’s pineapple soft serve and it’s heavenly), visited the Dream Suite and Walt Disney’s Apartment, and shared what I would classify as fun facts about Disneyland. More of those sort of segments and a greater emphasis on the park would have been more fitting than looking ahead at upcoming movies.
Did you watch The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60? What did you think? Head to the comments and tell me about your favorite parts.