World of Color - Winter Dreams
World of Color - Winter Dreams is a monumental improvement upon the standard World of Color spectacular, making better use of the water as a medium, stronger narrative and thematic cohesion, and altogether treating the space with much more realism.
I have heard many complaints about Winter Dreams being essentially a Frozen commercial, a point I frankly find moot - it’s a winter-themed movie, and if it were not featured prominently, it would appear just as odd. The show would be strange if Frozen were NOT the focal point.
It’s all hosted by Olaf the snowman, who takes us on a journey throughout the winter season in various Disney franchises, including the Tinker Bell series, Bambi and Thumper ice-skating (one of the highlights for me), Toy Story, and of course Frozen.
The ice-skating scenes, like of Bambi and Thumper, and Mickey & Friends, work exceptionally well because it treats the Paradise Bay space as if it were real - they skate back and forth, while the bed of ice remains the same; the characters don’t wisp away and disappear like in the standard World of Color.
The knockout scene for me, however, was “Let It Go” from Frozen, an outstanding song which will undoubtedly become a Disney classic. It alternated between footage which (I imagine) is straight from the film, and more abstract winter imagery and blue fountains.
World of Color works best when it uses water as an abstraction, while maintaining the integrity of that space - it should not be a substitute for a movie screen, a problem the original World of Color faces scene after scene.
The two parts I would change were the Toy Story Nutcracker, which felt somehow disjointed and forced; it was a cute idea but the Fantasia Nutcracker segment would have been a far more appropriate choice. I also would have re-worked the introduction, using voices connected by the internet (I laughed out loud when the announcer told us that). Musically, that section was gorgeous and incredibly serious in tone (which was appropriate, given the very different feel of Winter Dreams) but a bunch of floating heads on a snowflake looked slightly amateurish… the music could speak (sing?) for itself and it would have been far more effective.
Overall though, I love World of Color - Winter Dreams for its stronger specificity and focusing on a handful of core scenes, rather than the ADD trip of Disney canon that the standard World of Color presents. I think this is a great addition to the Disneyland Resort, and further raises the bar of entertainment offered in Disney California Adventure.
Viva Navidad (with Spoilers)
I am not exaggerating in the least when I say Viva Navidad is one of the best live entertainment shows from Disney Parks and Resorts - it’s so high-energy and features great music and dancing. I’m also particularly fond of it for giving The Three Caballeros the limelight (though I also love that they have a segment in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade), as well as creating an entirely new story/celebration rather than a simple retelling.
The show begins with dancers emerging from the Paradise Garden gates, followed by The Three Caballeros and then a mariachi band, performing a unique version of “Wonderful Christmastime.” Both Panchito and Jose showcase music and dances from their respective nations (Mexico and Brazil), while Donald tries to keep up. (Definitely watch them during the show - they are played to perfection!)
Viva Navidad is also full of surprises, from the giant papier-mache figures swooping through the street party to the swarm of Brazilian dancers who honestly come from nowhere to Mickey and Minnie zooming around on bicycle carts.
This is a show unlike anything I’ve seen at a Disney Park, for being so consistently high-energy and fun. Plus, it’s great to see more Disney in Disney California Adventure, so this street party is an excellent addition to the park. This is truly one of the best shows Disney has put out in the past few years, arguably better than the Buena Vista Street entertainment, and will undoubtedly become a new holiday tradition!
Cozy Cone Motel - Southwest Scramble Cone Review
I’m glad the Cozy Cone Motel now offers breakfast cones, making Cars Land one of the great sleeper quick-service hits of the Disneyland Resort. Just like the dinner cones, these are hefty, value-friendly alternatives to the pricier (albeit larger) dining options at Flo’s V8 Cafe.
The Southwest Scramble Cone includes eggs, black beans, bell peppers, corn, and avocado salsa. A lot of food stuffed in to the (same) bread cone as the dinner ones, but the salsa flavor didn’t quite stick to the cone like the chili sauce does; at the end, you have literally an empty bread shell. Which is still yummy, just not with the leftover flavor the other cones have.
Something else to keep in mind is how drippy this breakfast cone is; I walked from the Cozy Cone over to Flo’s leaving behind a trail of God knows what leaking from my cone. I needed several napkins’ worth to collect all this excess grease, so be warned!
Score: 3.5 / 5