Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bon Voyage to the “Dream Along with Mickey” Castle Show

By Rebekah Coley




As Walt once said, “As long as there is imagination left in the world, Disneyland will never be completed.” Although Walt didn’t know that his dream would become the worldwide phenomenon that it is, he understood that the show must always be kept fresh. This school of thought has guided the direction of every Disney Park, giving fans countless reasons to make return visits. As a result, we get to experience new touches of magic on every Disney journey. On the downside… we are forced to part ways with attractions and shows that have held a special place in our hearts for years. On April 2nd, the curtain will be dropping on WDW’s long-running Magic Kingdom castle show, “Dream Along with Mickey”. Before we part with this magical production, let’s remember what made this show a “must-see” during its impressive ten-year run in today's new article...









Many visitors (including myself) couldn’t imagine a day at the Magic Kingdom without sitting through the “castle show” at least once. Even if I didn’t see the first showing, I never felt like my day had truly started until I could hear the soundtrack wafting down Main Street. Prior to “Dream Along with Mickey”, a different show held court on this stage. Literally. The show was called “Cinderellabration” and centered on Cinderella’s coronation, which was attended by many familiar “courtiers” (princesses). This show was brought in from Tokyo Disneyland for The Happiest Celebration on Earth in 2005-2006. During this time, special shows and entertainment options were offered in the worldwide Disney parks to honor Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. (Side note: This is when I purchased my beloved golden anniversary Minnie ears.) Anyways, while I remember that the show was charming, I wouldn’t say it was park entertainment at its finest. While the costumes and ballroom dances were lovely, the sugary girlishness of the show simply prevented it from captivating the largest demographic. (And for the most part, Disney does avoid being 100% princess-focused thanks to their roster of quirky comic-relief characters and other original stories.) So, while the show was absolutely a treat for many fans, someone recognized that it was time to bring in a production that would cast a net over a larger audience.




Cinderellabration




As a result, “Dream Along with Mickey” was brought to the castle forecourt stage and delighted visitors for a solid decade. This show features Mickey and his friends, a smiling ensemble of skilled dancers, and other various Disney characters. Mickey has gathered his friends for a party to celebrate and share their personal “dreams” with one another. While Minnie and Goofy relive their daydreams in a couple of entertaining dance sequences, Donald (the ever pessimist) dismisses the idea of following one’s desire. When Maleficent intrudes and boasts that darkness can easily engulf the world, Donald is suddenly inspired to defend the concept of “dreams” and his sense of hope is restored/the day is saved.








All in all, this is a straightforward and predictable show. However, the longevity of its run gave me reason to pause and ask, “What made this show special?” Below, I’ve listed a couple of reasons as to why I feel this show stood out from standard theme park fare.

1. Unique Characters

Unlike the cast of “Cinderellabration”, the roster for this show is a bit more diverse. Although a handful of princesses are featured, this production also features Mickey and his friends, several characters from Neverland, and the ever popular Maleficent. This means that I still got my “fix”, but the fans who were less enthused about princesses didn’t walk away feeling that they saw “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique the Musical”. Considering that Universal Orlando has a history of attacking Disney for solely catering to princess lovers; the significance of combating this image cannot be overstated.











2. Original Music

If you’re anything like me, you have a special love for music that is written specifically for park shows and attractions. While I obviously love to hear songs from my favorite films, I love music that transports me back to the experience of my past Disney trips. Specifically, the soundtrack for this show features two original songs bookending the entire show: “Join the Party” and “Any Dream is Possible”. Both are parade-esque cheerful tunes and both are the kind of songs that could inspire people to arrive at MK for rope-drop. They’re that catchy.








3. Impressive Choreography

As a dancer, I notice that most choreography in a Disney parks show falls into one of the two categories: Mind-Numbingly Simple or Skilled and Snappy. Luckily, the choreography of this show falls into the latter category. Even novice audience members, who may not be able to recognize the difference between a pirouette and a tour jete, can recognize the beauty of perfectly polished movements and Rockette-inspired kicks. You know that the dancers are highly trained and pleasing to watch when you find yourself admiring their finesse over watching your favorite characters.








4. Storyline

Yes, the plot of the show is simple (after all, it was written for a production that is supposed to run under a half an hour several times a day), but it still has enough of a storyline to tie all of the musical segments together with ease. In doing so, the show is not merely a revue of songs, yet it also avoids awkwardly tying together scenes with a sentence or two of uninspired dialogue. Although the point of the show is simple, it reiterates the encouragement to follow your dreams (and considering that you are watching the show in a park that was created by a man who dreamed of the impossible), can there really be a better way to start off your day in the Magic Kingdom?








For those who want to relive the magic of this great show, you can watch it in HD below:








… and, in this next video, you can listen to the full soundtrack:








Although I’m sad knowing that this show will be gone in less than a month, I continue to remind myself that the parks are ever-evolving places (and they are much better for it). I am hopeful that the new show that has been announced to debut this summer “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” will provide the same high-quality entertainment as its predecessor. This show will specifically feature characters from the newer films. In all honesty, I admit that I have mixed feelings as I do not want the recent movies (cough cough Frozen) to continue to upstage the classics, but that is an article for another day. For now, I will be optimistic and certainly put the “castle show” at the top of my to-do list during my next trip!





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Rebekah Coley is a Pittsburgh native who has been obsessing over Disney films (and the corporation in general) for her entire life. Starting with a childhood of constantly dressing up in princess costumes, memorizing songs, and watching the newest Disney VHS tapes on repeat, her love and passion for Disney magic has not faded over time. In fact, she met her fiancé at an audition for the Disney College Program and although they are not annual WDW pass holders yet, the future possibility is inevitable.

In addition to loving the most popular Disney movies, Rebekah has a soft spot for underrated works that didn’t receive the same fanfare (e.g. A Goofy Movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.) It is a passion of hers to remind other fans of their existence and excellence.

By day, Rebekah works in professional development and holds a Bachelors degree in Human Resources Management from Point Park University. By night, she performs in community theater musicals, reads and exercises compulsively, and strives to stay on top of any Disney-related news. As a lover of entertainment, Rebekah’s blogs focus on reviewing Disney’s theme park productions, stage adaptations, films, and books.

You can find additional examples of Rebekah’s work on her personal blog- https://toeachhisownblog.wordpress.com/.

You can find all of Rebekah's articles here.

4 comments:

  1. This show was one of our favorites! I didn't know it would be gone soon. Thanks for this great article!!

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  2. What a fun article! Looking forward to the next one AND the next castle show as well. Keep up the great work guys.

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  3. What a great way to send off a great show. Thanks for the article.

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  4. Dream Along with Mickey is a reused show concept from Tokyo. While the opening and closing numbers are the same, the internal numbers were changed to fit the princess and pirates theme to go along with the current WDW marketing focus. The TDL show is available on CD. About half the show is sung in Japanese.

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