World of Color – ONE (I will not mock the name, I will not mock the name…) is California Adventure’s new nighttime spectacular that debuted for the Disney 100 Celebration. The show features fountains, lighting, projections, and a little bit of pyro all moving around to music and clips from Disney movies. World of Color – ONE typically shows twice a night (9 and 10:15 PM) when DCA closes at 10 and only once when the park closes earlier than that. In this post, we’ll review the show with a few slight spoilers.
Before I get into the actual show, I should talk about the process of seeing World of Color – ONE. Every day at noon, guests will be able to enter a virtual queue for the show through the Disneyland app. You do need to be inside of California Adventure or Disneyland (with a park hopper ticket) by then. We recommend entering the virtual queue and then watching the show from the splash zone as it will give you a much better view with a minimal chance of getting wet. You can read more of our viewing tips here!
The original World of Color debuted in 2010 and has come back multiple times after Disney has tried other iterations of the show. That isn’t uncommon, just look across the esplanade at how often Disneyland changes out their firework shows. Unlike the fireworks, what has become clear is just how difficult it is to match the pacing and wonder of the original show. The main attempt at this was in 2015 when World of Color – Celebrate! debuted for the the resort’s 60th anniversary. Celebrate! didn’t make the emotional impact that the original did.
Now, World of Color – One tries to propel us forward in honor of Disney’s 100th anniversary. Honestly, the task is unenviable with the history of the show plus the smashing success of Disneyland’s new Wondrous Journeys. Those are two entities that the new show will be put up against and, unfortunately, can’t measure up to.
World of Color – ONE’s ethos is stated plainly – “It takes only a single ripple to make a huge impact.” The theme is played out through different clips in the show and through the original song, “Start a Wave”. It’s a nice sentiment, the kind of clear cut, inspirational idea that a nighttime spectacular should work off of. On top of that, “Start a Wave” is one of the highlights of the show. It’s a really good addition to the Disney Parks original song canon.
Where World of Color – ONE falters is in a few confounding decisions, poor transitions and a heavy focus on clips and pictures, over the use of music. Every time the show is seemingly ready to take off, there’s a lack of payoff and something that pulls it back down to the ground.
Go with me here for a second. A few years back I went to a hip-hop concert to see one of my favorite artists at the time. The show was fun and enjoyable but part of it was frustrating because whenever a song got to a verse that featured a different artist, the song just ended. While there were memorable moments, the concert felt fragmented. Obviously, this isn’t a hip-hop show but seeing World of Color – One felt similar in that way.
There are a few segments in the show that were fully realized, including most of Pocahontas’ Colors of the Wind followed by Encanto’s Waiting On A Miracle and later a stirring musical number from The Lion King score. There’s an exceptional Star Wars moment during the show and some beautiful visual ideas throughout. It’s what lies between the different moments where World of Color – ONE falls apart.
I didn’t expect this nighttime spectacular to be the one that’s bogged down by having too many entities in it but that’s what happened. World of Color – ONE is the first nighttime spectacular to include characters from Disney animation, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel. While there are certainly characters in each of those entertainment divisions that fit the theme of the show, it’s a lot to ask of both the creators and the audience to thread them seamlessly together.
The issues aren’t always that complex. There’s an overreliance on movie clips and slow songs. World of Color – ONE’s best segments are followed by confounding choices, where the show comes to a screeching halt. It’s not that those slow segments are bad on their own, it’s just that you can’t keep letting the thrill ride get slowed down.
At this point, I wonder if the problem is bigger than just this show. World of Color works but none of the subsequent iterations have, although we can argue semantics over the Christmas editions. Maybe the original deserves more praise? Pulling off a 25+ minute water and lights show to a standing audience is an achievement and one that’s not easily copied. In the future, maybe it’s time to try something completely different with more of a plot-driven idea.
World of Color – ONE does certain things really well and is nowhere near the worst nighttime spectacular I’ve seen. After coming back to it a few times since the original viewing, I really enjoy the first 5 or 10 minutes before the transitions become frustrating. There are parts that fall flat and that hold the show back. I don’t think this edition will be particularly memorable. For now, it seems only the original is destined for that designation.
Have you seen World of Color – ONE? Let us know what thoughts you have, along with any questions, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends and like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Attraction Reviews