“Happily Ever After” Review

“And all our wishes, will come true.” Yeah, yeah, yeah except I wished for Happily Ever After to be good and clearly that wish didn’t come true. Thanks Jiminy, Walt, and Bob Iger for ruining my hopes and dreams. Lets fight.

Okay, okay most of you are probably lost, so let me set the scene for you. Welcome to my life, where if you don’t like Disney, you’re wrong. If you have kept up with the ins and outs of the parks, you might have heard that fan favorite firework spectacular, Wishes, made it’s final showing this week on May 11th at the Magic Kingdom. It has been the nighttime show since 2003, and it’s removal has caused a stir in the Disney community. Yet shortly after announcing it’s farewell, it was also announced that a new show, Happily Ever After, would be replacing it. Pitchfork and torches in hand, Disney fans rioted over the replacement until finally coming to terms with the fact that magic is always changing.

As a huge fan of all things nostalgic, I was not embracing this replacement well, and have gone through this week with an extremely biased opinion. Yet 9 o’clock struck, and there I was, phone in hand, prepped to watch the live stream of the premiere of Happily Ever After (which you can watch here).

And it started out really well. The music began and I started to tear up a little. Just a little, don’t go around telling people I’m weak now. The orchestra was insane and the lighting was magical. I could feel that “end of a Disney day” contentness in my heart, which is exactly what a nighttime spectacular should deliver in my opinion. Yet that’s where those feelings stayed, and ended.

I had heard clips of the soundtrack previously and formulated strong opinions against it’s pop vibe, yet actually hearing it in the show made me hate it even more. Two irrelevant singers performing an original irrelevant song made my heart feel nothing. I had no memories associated with this music. It did not tug at my heartstrings. It was just kind of…there. Also a side note, but no fireworks were even shot until about 45 seconds in. Just interesting.

Yet the pop music faded and entered the Disney magic that we all were waiting for. I loved the recognition of underappreciated characters such as Tiana and Quasimodo being projected on the castle. Even more obscure songs were used, such as ones from Brave, Tarzan, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Yet as incredible as that was to see, it was also extremely confusing. Since a majority of this show featured projections to compliment the fireworks and music, I assumed they were supposed to flow together. Well I was wrong, and that’s what I get for assuming. This first occurred during “Touch the Sky” from Brave. In the midst of scenes playing from the movie, Lightning McQueen from Cars shows up and drives past, followed by the floating house from Up. They don’t even kinda fit the Brave aesthetic? But okay Disney, you do you.

These weird obscure crossovers continue throughout, such as a mechanical/toy backdrop during the song “Bare Necessities”, as well as the castle singing?? Yeah you heard that right and it was kinda unnerving. Can’t explain it, just didn’t appreciate it.

Yet thank the lord that the Frozen scene that was included DIDN’T feature “Let It Go”or else I might have lost it. Yet it did feature this weird, slow, depressing cover of “Love Is An Open Door” that I can’t say I hated, yet was surprised by the mood it took on.

And then something incredible happened. Pirates of the Caribbean happened all over this dang show and made up for all the weirdness I endured during the first half. Following that was a bad cover of “Go the Distance”, but it gave me all the Wishes feels so I forgive it. AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED and Tinker Bell took flight in the best way possible. By far the best part of the show.

Overall, the show had a lot of amazing elements such as marketing underappreciated characters, channeling the 21st century, and adding incredible spotlights and lasers that really enhanced the show, yet I’m opinionated so not everything was happy-go-lucky.

First off, I’d like to remind viewers that this was intended to be a firework show. While yes, there was a lot of boom boom pow in the sky, there were even more projections down below. Keep in mind that we already have a projection show at Magic Kingdom. It was a little too distracting for me to watch the castle act as a screen, while also watching the fireworks, and it took away from the point of the show. Side note, can we talk about all the god awful covers of the classic songs? Please tell me what was so wrong with the originals that they needed to replace them with the ear garbage that was playing.

Also even with the aid of additional visuals, there was zero story line. Wishes told a story throughout the fireworks and used nothing other than pyrotechnics and music to guide the viewer through. Happily Ever After was just a montage of Disney movies placed in what I feel was no rhyme or reason, put to fireworks.

Now I’m not bashing the incredible technology used, because this definitely was an incredible feat to accomplish. I’m just bummed that with all that they had available to them, they were unable to grasp at a viewer’s heartstrings and create the same effect that Wishes had on so many fans.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll feel differently when I see it in person in August, but for now I remain team Wishes, and will continued leaving my biased opinions across the internet until I realize that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Anyways, go forth and formulate your own opinion and feel free to fight me because I’m ready to have a grown up debate about this.

@Disney, I don’t love you any less, I promise.

xoxo,

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2 thoughts on ““Happily Ever After” Review

  1. Natalie says:

    I haven’t seen this yet, but this sounds so disappointing! I honestly find that they don’t Ned’s the projections when they already have a projection show. I will always miss Wishes, and I will always be on team Wishes!

    Like

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