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Impressions of Happily Ever After!

Unlike some of my colleagues, I was excited when Disney announced that they would be replacing Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom with a new show they called Happily Ever After. It\’s easy to feel nostalgic and love something familiar–something we sometimes feel is already great–and to fret when it\’s being replaced.

Disney promised that this would be a new show–something we hadn\’t seen before–combining fireworks with state of the art new technology using something called projection mapping technology. They were creating a new musical score and using the latest in fireworks, lasers and pyrotechnics.

On the Disney Parks Blog, they said, \”The show will take guests on an emotional journey as favorite Disney characters set out to pursue their dreams, encounter obstacles (and villains!) to ultimately prevail and find their \’happily ever afters.\’\”

I thought that was a pretty big claim. An emotional journey? I\’ve been known to get a little choked up as the Magical Express bus pulls away from my resort at the end of my Disney World stay, and yes, I\’ve done a small sob when I am leaving the Disney ship for the last time and the Cast Member has that big Mickey hand and waving goodbye but an emotional journey in a fireworks show?

My family was visiting Disney World May 2-8 which was just a few days before the debut of Happily Ever After. I was glad I could see Wishes one last time–see Tinkerbell fly through the air and start the show, but I was also a little disappointed that I wouldn\’t get to see the new show. Luckily, we had a company get together planned for June, so I was getting the best of both worlds!

I watched the debut of the new show on May 12 as Disney Parks did a live stream. I thought it was pretty amazing stuff and couldn\’t wait to see it in person.

But seriously…I was not prepared for how amazing it was in person! The projections are amazing. Somehow they put up these beautiful animations of all your favorite Disney and Pixar movies right onto the castle. As you watch, your whole childhood unfolds before you in brilliant colors and amazing music…and not just your childhood, your children\’s childhoods, too. I was watching it with my 12-year son who has suddenly perfected the tween eye-roll and who is not so keen on hanging out with his mom any more, but there were all his favorite movies–Cars, Up, Lion King, Aladdin and even Pirates of the Caribbean! He was excited, and we took turns trying to be the first to name the movie!

Both new and old movies are represented from Peter Pan to Tangled, Jungle Book to Brave and everything in between! (By the way…no Let it Go in this show! It has Love is an Open Door instead!)

The turrets turn into rockets (during the Aladdin part), lanterns from Tangled soar to great heights, and a giant bunch of balloons lifts a small house on its way to Paradise Falls.

Tinkerbell comes flying from the castle and then the new song, Happily Ever After, reminds us:

It\’s just beginning

Feel your heart beat faster

Reach out and find your happily ever after.

OK, I did. I choked up a little with a few tears. It\’s truly beautiful.

I think Walt would have been proud of this!

If you want to view the show in its entirety, check it out on YouTube:

Susan Burks is a military wife, and a homeschooling mom to a chess playing space-loving 12 year old! In addition to many Disney World trips, Susan has done eight Disney cruises and one Disneyland trip! She has her next Disney World trip planned and two upcoming Disney cruises!

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