On Friday the Magic Happens parade officially debuted at the Disneyland Resort. After a soft opening on Thursday, it was clear that fans were ready to see the parade. Hours before the parade began the parade route was lined with fans eagerly awaiting Disneyland’s newest parade.
By the time the first parade began at 3:30 PM, the crowds were excited and cheering on the performers as they made their way from it’s a small world to Town Square. The energy was palpable as people shouted for their favorite stories, floats, and performers. Within minutes of the first parade ending, people started getting situated for the second parade at 6:00 PM.
The second parade at 6:00 PM came just after the sun had gone down. By the time it reached the North end of the route, it was fairly dark. This led to a beautiful demonstration of what this parade will look like when it is presented after dark. Some of the effects on the floats were even more noticeable in the night and this parade looked even more magical.
Magic Happens‘ theme song was written by Todrick Hall, who began his music career at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. Jordan Peterson is the show director. He began his Disney career as a parade performer and has appeared in over 18 parades around the world in Disney Parks. David Duffy is the creative director for Magic Happens. He has been with Disney Live Entertainment for nearly 30 years. His Disney career also began at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
There are many more people that help bring the magic to life for Magic Happens. This includes over 90 performers that bring the parade to life. There are over two-dozen of these performers that are Disney and Pixar characters. The join a team of choreographers, scenic designers, music producers, costumers and makeup artists, along with production and technical experts to make this parade happen.
With two original songs and 9 new floats, Magic Happens has a lot to offer. This includes the following:
A Swirl of Magic – Mickey Mouse
- The eclectic and artistic performers who open this stunning parade represent stylized aspects of “Disney magic,” from beauty to strength and everything in between. These “magic makers” – normally invisible to humans – are right there any time a pumpkin becomes a carriage, or a sword is plucked from a stone.
- The lyrics of the opening theme song, “Magic Happens,” are printed on two of the costumes to represent the magic of music.
- Costumes worn by the opening performers are inspired by many sources, including modern fashion runways, with designs that are edgy and fashion forward.
- On the opening float, 300 LED lights shimmer on Mickey’s giant, magical hat.
- Mickey’s magical hat is nearly 15 feet tall and more than 9 feet in diameter. This float is hand painted and textured with custom iridescent colors.
- Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip n’ Dale join Mickey as they kick off this magical parade.
A Wave of Magic – “Moana”
- This is the first full-scale “Moana”-inspired float to be created for a Disney park.
- The sea of performers who lead the “Moana” float represent ocean waves, bringing the magic of the ocean to life.
- On her voyager canoe, Moana journeys forth on the crest of a towering wave. The wave is inspired by beautiful koa wood carvings and inset with LED panels, providing a dazzling glimpse into the magic the ocean holds.
- Guests will want to look closely at the beautiful flow of the ocean, watching for a friendly character cameo (or two) from Disney and Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.” The heart of Te Fiti may also be spotted under the water.
- Guests will see Gramma Tala represented at the top of the float in her manta ray form, watching over Moana on her journey.
- The “Moana” float is more than 32 feet long, 22 feet tall and 12 feet wide.
- Joining Moana on her journey is Maui, who travels along on his own magical piece of the islands with Moana’s adorable pet pig, Pua.
- Maui makes his official Disneyland Resort debut in “Magic Happens.”
- The percussion instruments played on the Kakamora unit that follows the “Moana” float are inspired by traditional Polynesian drums.
A Bridge to Magic – “Coco”
- This is the first time the Disney and Pixar film “Coco” has inspired a float for a Disney Parks parade.
- On this float, Miguel appears in person for the first time, celebrating the magic that happens when he strums his guitar.
- This float connects the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead with a vibrant marigold More than 30,000 individual marigolds decorate the bridge on the “Coco” float.
- The performers in front of the “Coco” float represent the beautiful marigold flower petals, as they fall off the bridge, spin, twist and float to the ground.
- The performers wear skirts that have been designed to easily convert into capes, allowing for an easy transition from a costume piece to a prop, and back again. The skirts were created by cast members from Disney Live Entertainment Costuming.
- Miguel’s dog, Dante, can be seen transforming from his dog form into his alebrije form as he crosses the marigold bridge.
- Hector and Imelda, two animated figures, can be seen on the opposite side of the marigold bridge, performing for guests from the Land of the Dead.
- On the back of this float, 12 unique Chihuahuas are part of the singing dog act from the battle of the bands scene in “Coco.”
- The “Coco” float is 11 feet wide, 19 feet tall and almost 36 feet long.
- Whimsically dressed performers adorned in masks and fanciful outfits represent the spirit guides, or alebrijes from “Coco,” who are moved by Miguel’s song and join in the celebration of family and life.
A Magical Forest – “Frozen 2”
- The performers that lead this float are an extension of the Enchanted Forest; the male performers represent the trunks of the Aspen trees and the female performers are the canopy.
- This float shows Anna and Elsa exploring the mysteries of The Enchanted Forest protected by the Nokk, the mystical water spirit, as their friends Kristoff, Sven and Olaf tag along.
- This float is designed to provide a sense of discovery as it passes by; guests will notice more characters and details as the float moves down the parade route.
- Olaf and Sven appear as animated figures on this float.
- The large snowflake behind Elsa incorporates the four elemental symbols from the film, representing water, fire, earth and wind.
- At nearly 39 feet long, the “Frozen 2” float is the longest in the parade.
A Magical Dream – Grand Finale
- The regal grand finale of “Magic Happens” celebrates magical moments from several classic Disney stories.
- Each finale performer wears a slightly different costume piece and flag, representing the kingdom they are leading.
- The finale brings together a collection of iconic magical characters, including Genie, Aladdin, Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, Blue Fairy, Pinocchio and Fairy Godmother. These characters lead the way as more floats are introduced, each highlighting moments of magic that changed the characters’ lives.
- The finale score includes musical nods to past Disney entertainment productions that have special meaning to show director Jordan Peterson, weaving in themes from the “Remember the Magic,” parade as well as “Wishes” and “Remember… Dreams Come True” fireworks spectaculars.
The Pumpkin – “Cinderella”
- The “Cinderella” float captures the moment of “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo,” as Cinderella is seen inside a grand pumpkin, just as it magically transforms into a glistening carriage to whisk her off to the ball.
- Vines begin to take shape as wheels, while leaves stretch into stained glass, creating a translucent jeweled form of a carriage.
- The float reaches 16 feet at the top of Cinderella’s carriage, and it’s approximately 10 feet in diameter.
The Sword – “The Sword in the Stone”
- On this float, Merlin wisely leads the way for young Arthur, who finds the magic within himself as he pulls the sword from the stone and claims his place upon the throne.
- Guests will be able to see Archimedes, the educated but irritable owl from the film. Archimedes is an animated figure on the figure on the float, and his neck and eyes move.
- Two squirrels, named Arthur and Hazel, are perched on top of the gothic architecture featured on the float. They serve as a nod to the sequence in the film where the characters transform into squirrels.
- Arthur makes his official Disneyland Resort debut in “Magic Happens.”
- This float is approximately 19 feet tall, 15 feet long and 12 feet wide.
The Kiss – “The Princess and the Frog”
- Tiana and Naveen are seen amidst a swirl of golden flowers where they share a kiss, completing their transformation back into human forms.
- The flowery swirls surrounding Tiana and Naveen rotate, creating a beautiful and magical movement.
- The tree that stands above Tiana and Naveen is modeled from an actual mangrove tree.
- “The Princess and the Frog” float is 19 feet tall and 11 feet in diameter.
The Once Upon a Dream – “Sleeping Beauty”
- The happily-ever-after scene from “Sleeping Beauty” features the three good fairies – Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather – revolving gracefully atop turrets at the front of the float.
- Princess Aurora is seen dancing with Prince Phillip, and her gown shimmers between hues of pink and blue.
- The flag symbols are all designed in the style of Sleeping Beauty, as if to represent the different kingdoms and banners found in her castle.
- The Sleeping Beauty float is the tallest float in the parade, with the top turret reaching approximately 30 feet tall.
Magic Happens is now being presented daily at the Disneyland Resort. Have you seen it yet? What do you think of it? What is your favorite part? Share your thoughts in the comments below!