Disney's Wonderful World of Color and Can-Do


The cast of Disney characters who appear in the World of Color show


For those of us old enough to remember Walt Disney’s "Wonderful World of Color" every week on Sunday nights at 7 p.m.— and in black and white— the new World of Color extravaganza now exploding nightly on the Paradise Bay Lagoon goes beyond anything we could have imagined.

A choreographed panoply of water flumes, mist, fire, lights, color, animated projection and a spectrum of sound make the cast of Disney characters, old and new, come to life in giant liquid performances as dazzling as anything on the silver screen.

disney world of color little mermaid

The 25-minute spectacular plays twice, and sometimes thrice, a night at Disney’s California Adventure and kicks off what Disney brass are conceding to be one of the largest sweeping product expansions since the opening of Disneyland in 1955.

disney world of color

“This is the largest expansion in Walt Disney history,” says Randy Garfield, president of the Walt Disney Travel Company. “In a time of recession, we are investing in the future. At a time when other companies will be coming out of the recession ready to invest in their infrastructure, we will be emerging with that work behind us, with the wind at our back instead of our face.”

Check out behind-the-scenes footage of the planning of World of Color in the video below:

The expansion ahead is more or less a five-year plan that cuts across a swath of what Disney has to offer these days. At Disney’s California Adventure, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure opens in 2011. The ride takes guests on a journey under the sea, led by special effects and special animatronic characters from the film.

In 2012, watch for Cars Land: a 12-acre turn featuring the world of Radiator Springs and its attractions in an immersive environment right out of the movie. The centerpiece of this new land is Radiator Springs Racers, a twisting, turning, high-speed adventure through the town and desert valleys of Radiator Springs. Two cars race against each other and the wind. But only one wins. Completely interactive and intra-active, the new four-minute ride is expected to be an “e-ticket” heart-pounder.

The park is also bringing LA’s Red Car Trolley back, based on Los Angeles’ historic Pacific Electric Red Car Line. Guests will be able to ride, not walk, between various attractions.

Not far from the Anaheim theme park complex at the Port of Los Angeles, staff is preparing to welcome the Disney Wonder as its new homeport for the cool months of the year. The 2,400-passenger Wonder will be launching seven-night cruises to the Mexican Riviera, from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, with three days at sea between January 23 and April 17, 2011 as well as September 25 to December 18, 2011 for rates starting at $639 per person in double occupancy.

Donald's riding the Disney Wonder to Alaska


But starting May 3, the Wonder starts a summer of seven-night Alaska sailings from  Vancouver, with stops at Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, and back with rates starting at $939 per person, double occupancy, and all the Disney characters one can wish for.

Meanwhile, all hands are on deck for the debut of the Disney Dream that sets sail January 26, 2011 on a schedule of alternating three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay, increasing to four- and five-night sailings in the summer months. The new ship is enormous— a fifth of a mile long, with 4,000 passengers and 1,458 crewmembers— but will maintain plenty of nooks and crannies and a feel of “intimate space,” says Garfield.

Check out some updated enhancements to Castaway Cay in the video below:

The ship offers some one-of-a-kind thrills: an AquaDuck 765-foot tubular slide (consider the length of 2.5 football fields) that guests shoot through at the speed of 20 feet per second in a coaster-style experience that rims 13 feet over the side of the ship for a translucent, bottomless swing out over the sea. Inside, staterooms get a porthole, albeit a virtual window, looking out onto the waves through live video feed with animated Disney surprises coming through the reception now and then.

“Believe it or not,” says Garfield, “the inside rooms are selling out faster than the outside cabins because of this feature.”

And the Dream brings new kids clubs, restaurants and a novel concept in dining – rotational dining where waiters and tablemates come with you as you travel to each restaurant and try new experiences in onboard cuisine.


disneyland hotel room

A renovated room at the Disneyland Hotel


Finally, the Disneyland Hotel is getting a new look and feel, and will soon sport a new signature pool complex. The property dates back to the opening of Disneyland, and has managed to stay current and modern through five decades of style.

Rooms are renovating floor-by-floor, tower-by-tower. with new soft goods and new carved wooden headboards. The new Monorail Pool will display original Disneyland signage and sport two “monorail” slides on either side over a 26-foot waterfall. The monorail pool will be open in 2011 and the entire renovation of the property targets 2012.


disneyland hotel fairy tale suite

The bathroom of the Fairy Tale Suite at the Disneyland Hotel


Meanwhile, the Disneyland Hotel debuted two new themed suites last week: The Big Thunder Suite and the Fairy Tale Suite. The Big Thunder Suite offers two bedrooms, a living room and fireplace, a dining room, two bathrooms and plenty of imaginative décor— starting with the copper bathtub, bucket sinks, stone hearth and a disappearing screen TV.

The Fairy Tale suite that debuted last week is also on the 11th floor (along with the Pirates of the Caribbean Suite and Mickey’s Penthouse Suite), and this one is all about the bathroom. As guests enter, a window lights up in the foyer and Tinkerbell makes an animated showing over a castle of crystal.

Then, the bathroom on the left sets the next wow moment. A large oval tub on a marble pedestal, a long marble vanity and twinkling mirrors create a fantasy mood, especially for the little girl inside the gentler gender. A canopy bed in the bedroom and illuminated figurines of princes and would-be princesses dancing complete the effect. Rack rates for these suites have not yet been set.

Through September, Disney Resort-bound vacationers can receive two extra nights of hotel accommodations and two more days of theme park adventures for free when they purchase a three-night, three-day Disneyland Resort vacation package. For those who already have theme park admission tickets, the Disneyland Resort is rolling out a second offer that takes 40 percent off their room rate at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa; 35 percent off at the Disneyland Hotel; and 30 percent off at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with a two-night minimum stay.  Resort hotel benefits include Disney character wake up calls, easy access to character dining locations, and a Key to the Magic card— which allows guests to charge meals and merchandise to their hotel account. 

In addition, clients staying at any one of these resort hotels are within an easy walk to both theme parks and the Downtown Disney District. The booking window runs through September 1, for travel by September 26.  The “Two More Days & Nights Free for Three Vacation Package” is valid at all three properties. Call Walt Disney Travel Company (800) 854-3104, or visit www.disneyland.com.