Disney’s World of Color opened this weekend at Disney California Adventure and I had the chance to see it twice. The first time was at the media event on Thursday night, the tale of which is detailed here. On Saturday night, I was able to join some friends for the World of Color Dining Package at the Wine Country Trattoria. For details on how that second viewing went, keep reading.
Our dinner reservation was at 7:20 pm, but we had noticed a line at the restaurant earlier in the day, so we arrived about 30 minutes early. There was no line now and we were seated immediately in the upstairs porton of the restaurant. We were given a special menu and advised that our package included non-alcoholic drinks (soda, tea, etc). The package included a salad, choice of entree and a dessert plate.
The salad was arugula, fennel, red onion, spiced walnuts, and goat cheese with a fig-balsamic dressing. Entree choices included : Chicken breast, Seafood pasta, Halibut, Braised lamb shank, Roast New York and a Vegetarian pasta. We each ordered something different: the Chicken, Seafood Pasta, Halibut and Roast. Since this isn’t really a restaurant review, I won’t go into details of the meals, but I will say that none of us were impressed with our meals, especially with the $39.99 price tag. After the entree, we received a small dessert plate for the four of us: Vanilla bean panna cotta, Seasonal berries and Chocolate espresso tart with caramel sauce.
The service at Wine Country Trattoria was very good. The waitress and assistant were on their toes, and there were a lot of suits milling around making sure things were running smoothly. After we took care of the check (AP discount!!), we received our FastPasses for World of Color. The FastPasses said to return to the area in front of Wine Country Trattoria between 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm for the 10:15 pm show.
It was a few minutes before 9 pm at this point, but the area was already roped off and we were able to line up. There were only a few groups of people in front of us for the preferred seating area. While this was convenient as a waiting area, it was awfully close to Paradise Bay. This wouldn’t matter for the first showing, but for subsequent showings, you’re forced into getting a preview of the show, whether you want it our not.
Soon after the crowd from the 9:00 pm show dispersed, the line started moving and we were led to our viewing area. We were asked “wet or dry”. We chose “dry” and were directed to the steps just above the large circle (fountain area) in Paradise Park. The area for “wet” was below and into the bottom portion of the large circle. Getting in and out of the show went very smoothly. It was also nice that they didn’t crowd the areas.
The good news is that my view for this show was much better than it was two nights earlier. To quote my colleague David Parfitt’s Twitter post from just after the show, “It’s like I never saw World of Color on Thursday”. The bad news is that the good views are really limited. The view from the Preferred Section where we were is good, as is much of the Blue and Yellow Sections to the left and right of it. I’ve also heard good things about the Orange Section (on the bridge). The Red Section to the far right (near the Golden Zephyr) is not good at all. It also helps to be higher up (further back), since the show is so large it exceeds your field of vision.
It’s just sad that Disney created this massive show and then messed up the viewing area. Paradise Park was originally touted as holding 9,000 guests! The actual number ended up being closer to just 4,000, and of those 4,000, I’m guessing (deducting the boardwalk area and the area near the Zephyr) 2,500-3,000 have good views. On a side note: earlier in the day, we heard what appeared to be a Lead tell another Cast Member that they should tell people that the view from behind on Paradise Pier is “a different show, but still a good show”. I’m not sure that I believe him.
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: my review of the actual show (cue buglers). I’ll make it easy for the Disney public relations machine and pull out the quote they’re going to use from my review:
-Tom Bell, DIS Unplugged
World of Color IS visually stunning. The combination of fountains, lights, lasers and fire is amazing and the way they’ve utilized them is gorgeous…if only this wasn’t Disney and I didn’t expect more. And the “more” that I expect from the 25-minute show is a story. There were lots of individually great segments, but nothing connecting them. It seemed like there were too many cooks in the kitchen, each wanting to see their favorite character or sequence stay in the show, and what they ended up with was a very disjointed greatest hits show. Even the Alice in Wonderland section that they promoted for so long barely made made the final cut and is only briefly in the finale.
I don’t want to spoil the show for those seeing it soon, so I’ll only make a couple comments about my favorite segments. People raved about the “Colors of the Wind” section, and I’d have to agree. The opening of that section is visually stunning (oops, said it again). Then, of course, there are the little Disney touches. The things that you might miss if you’re not paying attention. Take for example how Mickey’s Fun Wheel is incorporated into the show, my favorite being how it’s used during the “A Whole New World” section (think “endless diamond sky”).
For the parents of young children, I also need to mention that there are a few scary sections and the fire can be pretty intense.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m going to give to give World of Color an 8. It would have been a 10, but the view issues and story issues dropped it down. World of Color is definitely worth seeing, but make sure you plan ahead. Either book a package in advance (take a look at Tony’s review of the picnic package) or arrive at opening to get a FastPass. Also, if you’re going to be in the Parks late anyway, try the 10:15 pm show. On Saturday, FastPasses for that show were available as late as 11:00 am (then they even added an 11:15 pm show).
Disney has created something big with World of Color and I have a feeling this show will be around for a long time. I only hope that they can tweak it sometime soon and make into something a little more magical.