Disclaimer: These are my pre-viewing impressions of World of Color. It's a place for those of us who cannot see the show yet to discuss our thoughts about it. Those who have seen the show should feel free to tell me where I am right or wrong.
If you do secure a spot in the main viewing area, be it through a dining package or Fastpass, there is no guarantee that your view will be unobstructed. Early reports suggest that those finding themselves in the back of these flat viewing areas will miss plenty of eye candy, even more so because this setup encourages parents to place children on their shoulders. This is fine for fireworks, but not so much for a show that is more down to Earth.
The show can be seen throughout Paradise Pier, but these offer limited views of the mist screens, which are used extensively. A third showing is rumored to be unofficially scheduled each night but it's a gamble for the day tripping visitor. Most people wouldn't plan their Disney trip on a rumor.
The technical achievement that is World of Color may very well be marred by poor planning on several fronts, an unfortunate reality that Disney('s) California Adventure is no stranger to.
DCA's Original Design: When California Adventure was built, no thought was given to a massive, groundbreaking water show in Paradise Pier. World of Color was added after it was apparent that Eisner's "build it cheap" strategy would require another billion in capital investment long after the former CEO deployed his golden parachute. Comparisons to Fantasmic! could be made, but World of Color's spouts were not installed 37 years after the fact.
Back in Anaheim, expect to see plenty of craned necks twice a night. The new viewing area specially built for World of Color is nice, but is it enough to provide the best possible experience? Will guests mind becoming dripping wet by the show's end, as early reports suggest? How will this play out during Christmastime where, yes, it gets cold in Southern California at night?
As much as Disney attempts to fix California Adventure, and they are doing a decent job of it so far, the original design will remain an ever present thorn in Imagineering's side.
Disney's Insistence on Catering to Annual Passholders Over All Other Types of Visitors: Casual Disneyland visitors who are enticed by World of Color's media blitz don't know it yet, but they will be competing for prime viewing real estate with other guests who have been planning their attack strategies for months now. Seeing World of Color is not necessarily as simple as purchasing a ticket and showing up an hour before showtime. To secure a prime viewing spot, one may have to race for a very limited Fastpass or purchase a picnic lunch or dinner.
In any case, I would declare the first few weeks of this show's run strictly an annual passholder affair. The latest rumors put the number of passholders at 900,000 to a million, which doesn't just mean large crowds at night, but parking headaches as well. Annual passholders arrive to park with lower automobile occupancy than other types of guests. Less dedicated guests may want to hold off until the interest dies down.
high quality HD video of the show on YouTube. Parts 2 and 3 are here and here. Apparently this person won some sort of radio contest. Here are my video impressions of the show itself because I have a phobia of aggressive water.
World of Color is an amazing technical achievement. I have never seen such synchronization of light and water before. All of the water fountain gizmos I gushed over before the show's premiere deliver on the eye candy and then some. The show looks like it's good for at least one viewing for that reason alone, as if it were an elaborate tech demo of the technology. The standout scenes so far are not the Disney character sequences, but the abstract displays of water, light and color coming together in such unique and impressive ways. It is actually the extended sequences in which those classic Disney scenes we've seen 10,000 times before appear that detract from the show, and, along with a complete lack of story or substance, is what gives the show its "film trailers on mist screens" quality.
The Little Mermaid scene, for example, appears to be culled directly from the film with little modification (the Pixar sequences do appear to feature new animation, to be fair). Even worse is the haphazard sequencing of the show. Unlike Fantasmic!, in which Mickey's imagination is taken over by that awful woman, World of Color is one nostalgic romp through Disney filmmaking after another. In the Up scene, balloons fill your field of vision, which is an impressive effect to be sure, but what does it all mean? We are offered only a catchphrase from the film before we are swept into the next sequence. World of Color has all the flash and style of a Jerry Bruckheimer production, as well as its complete rejection of any substance whatsoever. The show's running theme, if any, is to be visually impressive for the sake of being visually impressive.
Fantasmic! sets the stage with, "Are the powers of Mickey's incredible imagination strong enough, and bright enough, to withstand the evil forces that invade Mickey's dreams? You are about to find out. For we now invite you to join Mickey, and experience Fantasmic -- a journey beyond your wildest imagination."
World of Color might as well be introduced with, "Hey gang! Anybody remember Toy Story???"
Does it make me want to go? Disney's incredible water spout technology almost makes up for its failure to win the Kuka Arm instead of Universal. Comparisons to Fantasmic! are inevitable, and World of Color fails to best the 1992 classic, at least from my limited vantage point. Ultimately, whether or not one decides to visit a Disney theme park depends on his or her preconceived judgments about whether or not it's worth it to make the effort. These are influenced by word of mouth, advertising and media. At this point, I'll probably wait until the honeymoon is over before giving this show a whirl in person.
Maleficent the Dragon in Fantasmic - Loren Javier
My FastPass To The World of Color Cast Member Preview - Loren Javier