Not long ago, Disney unveiled the replacement for Wishes, their long running high praised nighttime spectacular: Happily Ever After. Today was the first night of the new show, and like a good Disney fan, I watched it on the official Disney Parks blog, and you can watch it HERE if you want. I want to review the new show, and say my thoughts about it. I will be starting with my overall thoughts, then moving on to three categories: Tech, Music, and Other.
Here’s my review in one sentence: Wishes can rest in peace knowing that Happily Ever After is a worthy replacement that exceeds it in many ways, and most people will absolutely love it. I really liked Wishes (I listened to it religiously while working), and I liked Happily Ever After more than Wishes in almost every way. The way Disney properties are used blew my mind, and the technology used in the show is STUNNING. Almost every scene is photogenic, and every piece of the show is beautifully crafted. It’s definitely much bigger than Wishes, which in this case is a good thing, as it made for a much more fun experience.
While Wishes was focused on the fireworks, Happily Ever After is focused on the projections on the castle, meaning watching from behind the castle is not the best idea. It’s also not as elegant as Wishes, and is way more kid friendly. That being said, if you’re worried that Disney replaced Wishes with something bad, don’t be.
There is no doubt that the technology in Happily Ever After blows the tech used in Wishes out of the water. The way projections, fireworks, and lasers are used along with the soundtrack create a world anyone can get lost in, filled with imagination and Disney. The projections even interact with the fireworks occasionally, which is a really nice touch. As I said in my Overall thoughts, Happily Ever After is on a much larger scale than Wishes, and is much more incredible to watch. Where Wishes was subtle, Happily Ever After is a beautifully crafted technological storm. The Fireworks were absolutely beautiful, and tied into the soundtrack way more than Wishes did. At every turn, I found myself in awe of the technology and the beauty that is Happily Ever After. The show truly is a marvel of technology, and is not to be missed. But what about the music?
A soundtrack is half of the beauty of a nighttime show, so how does Happily Ever After compare to Wishes? What Wishes lacked in technology, it made up for in a really beautiful soundtrack with mostly instrumental segments and a few segments of characters talking or singing. The soundtrack of Wishes is one of my all time favorite pieces of music, right behind Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. In my opinion, Happily Ever After has almost as good a soundtrack as Wishes, but lacks in one area. My issue with the show is that there are very few instrumental sequences, and are instead replaced by Disney movies and their tunes. While these sequences are well done, in my mind they don’t compare to the instrumental sequences Wishes and Illuminations have. Those moments create really beautiful and elegant scenes and visuals, and paired with the great soundtrack, Wishes was great I really like them, as I am big into band and music in general, and those symphonic sequences are truly beautiful. Other than that, the music is good, but not as good as Wishes. I still would probably buy a CD of it and listen to it while working or while on the bus.
Jordan Fisher and Angie Keilhauer sing the new exit song for HEA, titled Happily Ever After. Personally, I believe that HEA is better exit song than Wishes’ exit song. While both are great, HEA excels in getting me to listen to it thirty times in five minutes. That’s how catchy and great it is. Definitely give it a listen HERE.
First off, I want to address the remixes of popular Disney songs used in the show. The first is ‘Friend Like Me’, which includes scenes from Aladdin, Toy Story, and Cars. The remix is done really well, and conveys the mood that they want you to feel: happy. But it doesn’t compare to the other remix: ‘Love is an Open Door’ from Frozen. Typically, I dislike Frozen in Disney shows, as the IP is oversaturated and annoying. But, the version of the song is actually really heartwarming. The way it is sung almost brought a tear to me eye, and the scene it goes with made me feel warm inside, something Wishes couldn’t do without using nostalgia. It is played over a bunch of Disney characters falling in love, and the slow singing it uses makes the scene even better. Honestly, I didn’t think I would like it, but I did.
The projections were great. They get better and better with every new show. The show is centered around these projections, and I’m assuming they’ll be upgraded as technology gets improved. Even though the show is centered around the projections, the fireworks are even bigger than Wishes.
I’ve been gushing over this show for almost the entire post, and I wish I had more negatives (No I don’t), but I don’t. Wishes was due for a replacement, and Happily Ever After exceeds its predecessor in almost every way. Make sure you don’t miss it on your next visit to Walt Disney World.
Credit to @DisneyParks on Twitter for all of the pictures.
Thanks for reading my review! This post isn’t as long as my other posts, but it is just a review of a new show at Disney World. There may be another DI post tomorrow or on Sunday too…