Down Under Disney

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

Disneyland Entertainment: Pyromania, Parades and Pantomime

While the unique rides of Disneyland are the reason I love going, many  simply go for the atmosphere and fantastic entertainment. There are plenty of options available for these types of visitors, including the world famous fireworks, the Fantasmic Nighttime spectacular and an array of shows and street entertainment that could easily fill up 1-2 days of your trip. Keep reading to find out more!

 

 

Fireworks

Image result for disneyland ca fireworks

A little taste of the brilliant Disneyland Fireworks. Image Sourced from Orange County Register

 

Show Type: Pyrotechnic

Show Times: 9:30pm every night (Except during inclement weather)

Show Length: 15 minutes

Best Vantage Point: Main Street USA (Fireworks can be seen from multiple positions in the Resort)

Current Show Theme: Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular.

Recommendation: Unmissable (Literally because you can see it from most points of the park)

 

Overview

This is one bit of entertainment that Disneyland was never going to be without. It was in Walt’s plans from day dot that there would be a Fireworks show, acting as a “kiss goodnight” for his guests, before they headed home.

In its early days the fireworks show consisted of simple pyrotechnics. Today it is a full blown spectacular, combining music, characters and themes (depending on the time of year) that literally goes off!

Currently, the Fireworks show has a Pixar theme and features Buzz Lightyear flying around the castle.

 

Verdict

Honestly, if you are not taking time out of your trip to watch this Disneyland institution then you really shouldn’t be going. While not as big as a typical New Years Fireworks show it is still way better. Partially because there’s not thousands of drunk people surrounding you but also because it’s Disney…Simple as that!

 

Fantasmic

Related image

The Finale to Fantasmic is pretty sensational! Sourced from Disney Tourist Blog

 

Show Type: Pyrotechnic/Water/Character/Music

Location: Rivers of America/New Orleans Square

Current Show Times: Weekends: 9:00pm and 10:30pm (Check App)

FastPass: Yes

Opened: 1992 (Revamped 2017)

Show Length: 25 Minutes

Best Vantage Point: Get a FastPass Ticket early and hope for the best.

Recommendation: Unmissable

 

Overview

Fantasmic is rated by many as the best show at Disneyland and it’s hard to disagree. It involves a combination of pyrotechnics, water, lights and character appearances.

The basic premise here is that we have entered Mickey’s dream. However, as he conducts streams of water, in time to music (Like in Fantasia), an epic battle breaks out between the forces of good and evil and he loses control.

During this battle we see everything from holograms on the mist to ships full of Pirates and the biggest, fire breathing puppet/animatronic I’ve seen. They have also recently included a new scene featuring Aladdin and Jasmine on their Magic Carpet.

It is important to have a background knowledge of this show as it is not really that clear what is actually happening. This, however, does not take away too much from the spectacle.

 

Verdict

If you looked up nighttime spectacular in the dictionary, guaranteed there would be a picture of Fantasmic. This gargantuan show is really not to be missed, even though it is sometimes a little hard to follow.

 

Top Tips:

  • As mentioned above, you will need a FastPass for this attraction to reserve your place. Get one as soon as you enter the park to reserve the best possible space. To read more about this process please read my FastPass Post.
  • Despite having your spot reserved, you are only given an area to stand in. Getting there early will ensure you get the best possible position for your area.
  • Buying, then eating dinner at your reserved spot is a good way to kill two birds with one stone as you wait.

 

 

Parades

Day Parades are not for everyone but you have to appreciate the effort that goes in!

Show Type: Flotilla Parade

Location: Main Street/The Hub

Current Show Times: Weekdays: 6pm, Weekends: 3:30pm and 6:00pm

Show Length: 45 Minutes

Best Vantage Point: Front row up and down Main Street.

Recommendation: Great for Kids

Current Parade Theme: Pixar Play Parade (During Pixar Fest)

 

Overview

Parades are often a feature of large theme parks and cities throughout the world. We all know how they operate. With the budget of a Disney Park, however, these parades are always detailed, visually stunning and have the added bonus of featuring a whole heap of characters all at once.

Currently, due to Pixar Fest, the theme of the Disneyland parade is a refurbished version of the Pixar Play Parade, which once roamed the streets of California Adventure. Floats in this parade include:

– Inside Out

– Up

– The Incredibles

– Toy Story

 – A Bug’s Life

– Finding Nemo

Along with the floats, there are also street dancers and acrobats entertaining the crowd, as they pass along the parade route.

 

Verdict

Generally guests of Disneyland love the parades. Personally I’ve never been a massive fan of any type of parade. I think it wastes perfectly good ride time! Having said that, Disney still does them better than most and if you are there for five days they are definitely worth seeing.

I have only seen video of the brand new “Pixar Play Parade” but like all Disney parades, they are a great opportunity to see characters that you wouldn’t normally see and the floats are very complex and detailed.

I give it a do, especially if you have kids!

 

Mickey and the Magical Map

Image result for mickey and the magical map

Mickey and the Magical Map at the Fantasyland Theatre. Image Sourced from Disney Geek.

 

Show Type: Stage Show (Pantomime)

Audience: <12

Location: Fantasyland Theatre

 Current Show Times (Check App for Updates): Friday-Sunday; 12:00 p.m., 1:05 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5:20 p.m.

Show Length: 22 Minutes

Recommendation: Great for Kids

 

Overview

This theatrical show takes you on a journey with Mickey as he makes his way through exciting and colourful lands courtesy of, you guessed it, a magical map. The show features a host of classic Disney characters including:

– King Louie (Jungle Book)

– Pocahontas

– Mulan

– Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (Tangled)

– Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)

Each land you and Mickey visit features a fully choreographed song and dance number, to some of the best Disney movie tunes out there. Mickey and the Magical Map also includes a lot of crowd participation so be prepared to sing, yell and dance.

 

Verdict

Even though this show is aimed at the young ones (under 12), there is (as with all Disney entertainment) enough for the adults to keep interested. However, I wouldn’t really bother too much if you are without children.

 

Story Telling at the Royal Theatre

Image result for story telling at the royal theatre

Enjoy a could ol’ fashioned pantomime at the Royal Theatre. Image sourced from Disneyland 4 Ever.

 

Show Type: Stage Show (Pantomime)

Audience: <12

Location: Royal Theatre

 Current Show Times (Check App for Updates): Daily, 

Show Length: 22 Minutes

Recommendation: Great for Kids

 

Overview/Verdict

Not too much to write about here. Quite simply, a comical duo (Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones) re-enact scenes from both Beauty and the Beast and Tangeld. It is very much a pantomime performance with melodramatic acting and crowd involvement a must.

Much like Mickey’s Magical Map, this show is made for kids but there is plenty to chuckle about for the adults accompanying them. Once again, don’t bother if you are not with children.

 

Street Bands/Shows

 

Show Type: Live Music, Park Atmosphere

Audience: All Ages

Locations: Various

Show Length: 10-20 Minutes

Recommendation: Can’t Miss (literally)

 

Overview

Street bands and shows are integral to the atmosphere at Disneyland. Whether you see/hear one during lunch or as soon as you enter the park, they really set the tone for your day. Not to mention they are also, high quality entertainers.

You can see a variety of different performers throughout the park and they are all themed to where they are based. Below is a list and description of Street Entertainers at the Disneyland Park.

 

The Disneyland Band

Show Times: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm,1:25 pm, 2:25 pm, and 5 pm (Can vary)

Location: Mainstreet USA/Frontierland

Recommendation: Fun for all.

 

The oldest and most famous of the Street Entertainment at Disneyland, The Disneyland Band is as popular as ever. It is simply a marching band that plays medleys of Disney songs. Really good fun to watch. They appear predominantly on Mainstreet but also do a different set in Frontierland daily.

 

Spoiler Alert: A sample of the Disneyland Band playing Pirates. Video thanks to DAPS MAGIC.

 

 

The Dapper Dans

Show Times: 10am11am12:30pm, 1:35pm, 2:35pm, 4:10pm, and 5pm

Location: Mainstreet USA

Recommendation: Fans of acapella will love it!

The Dapper Dans are a Barber Shop Quartet that have been performing since 1959. They have very clever shows and also contribute to the flag retreat ceremony in the evening. Definitely worth a look.

 

Spoiler Alert: Dapper Dans Sing Grim Girnning Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion. Video thanks to Disney Moments.

 

 

Mainstreet Pianist

Show Times: 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:25pm,4:30pm, 5:30pm, 7pm, 7:45pm, and 8:30pm (Times

Location: Mainstreet USA (The Refreshment Corner)

Recommendation: Worth a look.

 

The Mainstreet Pianists are very skilled in their craft and are great performers. They perform Classical versions of Disney songs with an often ragtime feel. Sets last approximately 20-25 minutes. Great for when you need a break.

 

The Straw Hatters

Show Times (Seasonal): 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:25pm,4:30pm, 5:30pm, 7pm, 7:45pm, and 8:30pm (Times may vary)

Location: Mainstreet USA

Recommendation: Non-Essential

 

The Straw Hatters are a small group of members of the Disneyland Band, playing classic up beat tunes on wind instruments. It is not so much the best stand and watch kind of show but they do add good atmosphere to the Park.

 

Pearly Band

Show Times (Seasonal): 9:15am, 10:10am, 11:10am, 12pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, and 3:45pm (Times may vary)

Location: Fantasyland

Recommendation: Worth a look

 

Pearly Band is a 7 piece instrumental group that are dressed like the band at the racecourse from Mary Poppins. They play upbeat, atmospheric songs and are sometimes joined by Mary Poppins and Bert. Give it a whirl, especially if you can catch the aforementioned characters.

Spoiler Alert: The Pearly Band playing the ‘Wonderful Thing About Tiggers’. Video courtesy of Andi Sumpter.

 

Silver Dollar Six

Show Times: One Showing – 9:30 (Time may vary)

Location: Frontierland

Recommendation: Non-Essential

Simply a frontier themed band that plays either on top of the Golden Horseshoe or inside on the stage. They only have one showing at a seemingly inconvenient time, so you don’t have to visit in the least. The provide good atmosphere for the area but you will hardly notice their presence.

 

The Bootstrappers

Show Times: Varying (Check App on the day or ask a Cast Member)

Location: New Orleans

Recommendation: See

This band of rum swilling pirates provides great musically entertainment for all. They have a good bit of banter between their songs and sometimes get the crowd involved. You can find them in the alley ways of New Orleans, or outside Pirates of the Caribbean.

The only issue with this group is that they have no real set showtimes so keep yourself updated, if you are keen.

Spoiler Alert: A small taste of the Bootstrappers from my trip in 2015.

 

Jambalaya Jazz

Show Times: 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 2:15pm, 3:15pm, 4:15pm, and 5:15pm (Times can vary)

Location: New Orleans/Mark Twain River Boat

Recommendation: See for Jazz Lovers

If you love a bit of Jazz then you probably shouldn’t miss out on these guys. Great to listen to while enjoying lunch at one of the many New Orleans’ eateries. These guys perform throughout New Orleans Square and also do a pretty cool set on the Mark Twain Riverboat once in a while.

 

 Royal Street Bachelors

Show Times: 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3:45pm,4:45pm, 5:45pm, and 6:45pm

Location: New Orleans (Predominantly French Market Restaurant Stage)

Recommendation: See for Jazz Lovers

 

The main difference between the Royal Street Bachelors and Jambalaya Jazz is that they have a permanent spot atop the French Market Stage. This enables them to have a drum kit set up along with the usual jazzy instruments.

Sets last about 15 minutes and, like Jambalaya Jazz, are a great atmospheric band for lunch time dining.

 

Spoiler Alert: The smooth sounds of the Royal Street Bachelors. Video thanks to Window to the Magic.

 

Golden Horseshoe

To read about the entertainment available at the Golden Horseshoe have a read of the Frontierland Rides and Attractions post. 

 

Entertainment Round Up

The entertainment at Disneyland (and California Adventure) is the best Theme Park entertainment out there and is streets ahead of any theme park we have in Australia. So if you are tossing up whether or not to visit Disneyland, based on Rides alone, I hope this has helped to sway you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *