This week, Walt Disney World celebrates one year nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After in the Magic Kingdom, replacing the long-running popular fireworks, Wishes, which ran consecutively from 2003-2017. Since it’s debut, Happily Ever After has been met with incredible popularity each evening, and it remains a brilliant showcase of the ingenuity and creativity of Walt Disney Imagineering. Blending cutting-edge technology and a brilliant attention to detail and showmanship, Happily Ever After is one of the most incredible feats for WDI to date.
Like Wishes, the entirety of Happily Ever After is told through a consecutive story and theme, tied together through characters and films supporting that inspirational story. Stories that are often removed from each other are brought together through their common motivations and themes, and told in a brilliant spectacle. The show begins with the journey of the hero, from the humble beginnings and the their desire to follow their dreams. The journey is then told through several elemental sequences, from the ambitious journey to follow our dreams, the friends that will be there to guide you, and the loved ones that will stand beside you no matter where the journey may take you.
The show explores additional themes of overcoming adversity, and overcoming those who seek to stand in the way of your dreams. Only by overcoming these obstacles, can the hero truly pursue their ‘happily ever after’. The show concludes with a finale motivating the audience to pursue their own ‘happily ever after’, no matter what that may be. Brought together through beautiful visual feats and musical elements, this show delivers it’s inspirational message to empower and inspire guests of all ages.
Happily Ever After is one of Walt Disney Imagineering’s most technologically impressive feats yet, blending cutting edge magic projections with stunning fireworks, synced together with a heart-pounding and beautiful soundtrack. The projections used in Happily Ever After utilize every square inch of Cinderella Castle, creating a phenomenal four-dimensional experience that truly uses each spire and brick to its advantage. It’s impossible not to get swept up in the beautiful storytelling behind this classic show, much in part to the stunning visuals attributed to its showcase of talent.
In January of 2018, I received a special opportunity to work in Walt Disney World on Main Street, USA, as a temporary position on the Disney College Program. While this position has kept me busy, it’s an opportunity I absolutely adore and cherish, and one of the most wonderful parts of my special opportunity was having the opportunity to see and hear Happily Ever After on a nightly basis. Seeing, or often hearing, this show every night, gave me the opportunity to appreciate it in new ways, and re-experience it through the many guests viewing it for the first time. I’ve viewed the show from multiple angles, different perspectives, and introduced others to the show, and with each viewing, I still find new things about it that I absolutely adore. It continues to move me, inspire me, and leave my jaw dropped open in sheer amazement of its phenomenal spectacle. Being at the forefront of this majestic show has been an experience I’ll never forget, and I’m so glad I have a personal connection with this incredible work of art.
One year later, Happily Ever After is as brilliant as it was on its debut in 2017. It continues to be a masterpiece, showcasing the innovation and creativity that Walt Disney Imagineering so proudly boasts. Most importantly, it acts as a source of inspiration to the thousands of guests it entertains each day to motivate them to look inside themselves and pursue their own happily ever after that they desire. All we have to do is look inside ourselves, and unlock the magic.