AutoMatters & More: Changes Coming Soon to Disneyland Park

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Load the gang into the car. It’s time for a road trip!

As summer winds down and the extended 60th anniversary celebrations are rapidly drawing to a close at Disneyland Park, two popular special events will be concluding soon – on Labor Day, Monday, September 5th. With that in mind, recently we went to Disneyland Park to take advantage of one last opportunity to enjoy – in all of their splendor – and to photograph the brilliant “Paint the Night” electrical parade and the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks and light show.

“Paint the Night” parade theme float

There are two nightly opportunities to view the “Paint the Night” electrical parade: once as it slowly winds its way through Disneyland Park to where it concludes shortly beyond Disneyland City Hall, and then again as it returns after “Disneyland Forever.”

A great way to be in a good position to see and take photos of both the parade and the fireworks show begins by making your way to Main Street, USA early enough to watch the first “Paint the Night” parade. Ideally sit on the curb across the street from the “Penny Arcade,” where you will find yourself directly beside the gigantic parade floats (bring your wide angle camera lens). After that first parade has ended, quickly move with the crowd into the middle of the street and get ready to be blown away by the light show and fireworks.

A worthy successor to “The Main Street Electrical Parade” (which will be making a long awaited return to Disneyland Park in early 2017 for a limited engagement), the “Paint the Night” electrical parade consists of over one and a half million flashing and glowing LED lights. Disney characters delight fans of all ages in this, the hands-down most colorful nighttime parade in the park’s history. The performers are covered head to toe in LED-lit costumes, as they twist and twirl and dance along to the music.

The parade, led by Tinker Bell, begins with the stirring sounds of the “Paint the Night” theme song, and then a gigantic drum float appears, featuring colorful “Paint the Night” graphics moving to the beat.

Mack – a 54-foot big rig from “Cars”

“Cars” is well represented by Lightning McQueen and Mack – a 54-foot long red big rig that seemingly can just barely make the tight turns.

Gaze in awe at the shimmering icy castle from “Frozen” as Anna and Elsa wave from above, and as Olaf the lovable snowman brings up the rear; and delight to floats from “Monsters, Inc.,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Toy Story,” in addition to appearances by Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie and, of course, Mickey Mouse in the finale.

“Paint the Night” will end on September 5th, but will return for a limited engagement on selected evenings during the upcoming holiday season.

Icy castle, Anna & Elsa from “Frozen”

The “Disneyland Forever” fireworks celebrate Disneyland’s 60th anniversary. A hush sweeps over the audience as the celebration begins with a musical “Diamond Fanfare” and inspirational words from Walt Disney. Peter Pan makes an appearance and – dating all the way back to its beginnings in 1961 – Tinker Bell sprinkles some magic pixie dust from high above.

Simultaneously, colorful projections of light adorn the storefronts along Main Street, USA – including animated chimney sweeps from Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” and herds of thundering animals from “The Lion King” – while large inflatables dance in the breeze on the rooftops.

“Disneyland Forever” fireworks & light projections on Main Street, USA

Enjoy images from “Mary Poppins” and Rapunzel from “Tangled,” and a light-hearted visit with Winnie the Pooh. Next up it’s off to Africa with “The Lion King” and “The Jungle Book.”

Airy, rising bubbles will surround you in the undersea world of Nemo, Sebastian, Ariel and colorful, whimsical fish, as singing crustaceans serenade you.

Things get a bit chilly as you visit the kingdom of Arendelle and “Frozen.” A hint of snow is in the air and we warm our hearts to the uplifting theme song.

“Disneyland Forever” concludes as the buildings (actually projections on them) shake on Main Street, USA, and an enormous burst of fireworks turns the night into day. The soul-stirring orchestral soundtrack – recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, England – concludes with an emotional rendition of “A Kiss Goodnight” by beloved Disney composer Richard Sherman.

From there head on over to “it’s a small world” to watch “Paint the Night” again, or perhaps go on some rides before calling it a night.

Join in the conversation. Send your comments and suggestions to

Copyright © 2016 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #451