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Disneyland has used projection mapping on Sleeping Beauty castle and It's a Small World in the past with tremendous success, marrying animated imagery to the architecture of the buildings to create a digital skin that morphs and moves.
In hopes of thinning the gridlocked crowds on Main Street U.S.A. and spreading the teeming hordes throughout the park during the "Forever" fireworks show, Disneyland will introduce projection mapping on Matterhorn mountain and the Fantasmic stage area along the Rivers of America in addition to the castle and Small World locations.
During a recent press preview, I watched rough animation of "Forever" and was impressed by the projection mapping sequences planned for Main Street USA.
I'm looking forward to watching the new fireworks show from various locations in park to see how the experience changes from land to land.
What's clear is that "Forever" will focus as much on storytelling as fireworks. There will still be as many pyrotechnics as your average Fourth of July, but this being Disney you can also expect plenty of animation, characters and emotion.
Spoiler alert: What follows is a detailed breakdown of the five acts of the "Forever" fireworks show as well as the opening and finale. Consider yourself forewarned.
"Forever" opens with the new "Live the Magic" theme song as Peter Pan is projected onto Sleeping Beauty Castle and Tinkerbell flies past on a wire. About 100 spotlights hidden throughout the park will beam like "diamonds in the sky."
The first act, dubbed Clouds, features music from "Tangled" ("I See the Light") and "Mary Poppins" ("Step in Time"). Projections mapped onto the Main Street USA facades will show silhouetted chimney sweeps dancing on rooftops before the Poppins" scene dissolves into a panoramic view of a London streetscape. During the "Tangled" segment, lighted lanterns will appear to hover in the air via the building projections.
The next act, called Enchanted Places, focuses on the world of Winnie the Pooh, with dripping honeycomb projections on the building fronts. At one point, the colorful visuals turn wildly psychedelic as the elephant-like heffalumps and honey-thieving woozles from Pooh's imagination take center stage.
The third act, dubbed Jungle, features music from "The Lion King" ("Circle of Life") and "The Jungle Book" ("I Want to Be Like You"). The visuals will transform from animals marching across the Pride Lands to lightning storms illuminating jungle temples.
Next the story travels "Under the Sea" with music from "The Little Mermaid" as bubble projections paint the surroundings and blue lasers create an ocean surface atop Main Street USA. As the story line turns to "Finding Nemo," the Matterhorn will be transformed into Mt. Wannahockaloogie as the film's namesake clownfish swims by on a wire high above Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The fifth act, known as Snow, turns the Matterhorn into Elsa's ice castle as fake flakes fall on Main Street USA and the crowd sings along to "Let It Go" from "Frozen."
The finale sees the return of the spotlights, Tinkerbell and Peter Pan to the music of "When You Wish Upon a Star" before transitioning into the new original song "Kiss Goodnight."
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