It is easy to circle the marquee dates for entertainment offerings on Disney+ — with release schedules still adapting to the new digital marketplace and making adjustments for the COVID pandemic, Disney+ markets the high visibility offerings – “WandaVision,” as well as the forthcoming Marvel titles “Loki” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” as well as “Raya and the Last Dragon” dropping on premier access soon, as well as “Soul” that was released on Christmas Day. However, what sneaks through the press releases are shorter entertainment options that don’t have the same fanfare. Regardless, these entertainment options are wonderful discoveries and you should spend the time to seek them out to full complement your Disney+ viewing experience.
This week after watching the penultimate “WandaVision” episode, we spent some more time looking through the “New Disney+” scrollbar and found three wonderful bits of entertainment that any Disney fan should add to their queue — and each is less than 20 minutes, so you can watch them when it fits into your schedule!
First, we checked out “Disney Illuminations” which features the daily nighttime show from Disneyland Paris. Using their Sleeping Beauty Castle as a backdrop, the show uses the same projection mapping technology that fans have seen used domestically at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, to help enhance the story of some of the Disney classics of the last 30 years — guests will see scenes from “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Finding Nemo,” the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and even a brief “Star Wars” scene. What enhances this nighttime entertainment option and elevates it above anything guests have seen at Disney World is the show is a melding of elements of a fireworks display, musical offerings, as well as the visual display on the castle, but also water screens and water cannons. We were also HUGE fans of the inclusion of distinct intellectual properties without any regard to whether it met the thematic nature of the park — what makes Disney distinct is not the organization of the IPs, but how they make us feel emotionally when we see the scenes and hear the notes of their score.
The second brief offering was “Myth: A Frozen Tale.” This animated bedtime story takes some of the spirits that fans were introduced to in Frozen 2. Prior to the short starting, viewers are given a brief “making of” featurette. What we truly enjoyed about the short was the animation style — there was a distinct layering of the animation and I personally found the use of color to be very engaging and crisp. Even with the featurette, the running time on this short is eleven minutes, so it goes by real quick!
The final thing we checked out was the “Disney Shanghai Grand Opening Celebration.” The scope of the celebration was sweeping — the castle in Shanghai is gigantic and this allowed for a combination of projection mapping on the castle, as well an orchestra playing selections for Disney classic musical offerings, as well as a truly enormous choir, as well as a band of performers a la Cirque de Soleil. Lastly, the festivities are punctuated by live vocal performers singing classic Disney songs in both English and Mandarin. Finally, no grand opening celebration is complete without the events being graced by the presence of the character that started it all: Mickey Mouse.
Both of the shorts featuring the videos were wonderful escapes to the parks while we are not able to experience these shows in person, but also deeply underscored our desire to visit these international parks once we are able to travel again.
What do you think? Have you seen any of these shorts? Do you like these little extra pieces of entertainment that are available throughout Disney+? What has been your favorite so far?