Why Disneyland’s New Parade References A Show That Happened At Walt Disney World

Wishes logo

When Disneyland's newest parade, Magic Happens, arrives on Main Street U.S.A. today, it will unveil a host of brand new impressive floats, some using technology we've never seen in a Disney parade before. It will also include some brand new music that, from all accounts is going to be quite impressive. However, amidst the new music that we'll hear for a first time during the parade, there will also be some nods to previous Disney live entertainment spectaculars, though not all of them will be familiar unless you've spent time at Disney's other U.S. destination.

Jordan Peterson, the show director of the new Magic Happens parade at Disneyland, got his Disney Parks start working as a performer at Walt Disney World, but he's not the only one involved in the new parade for whom that's true. Peterson told me that, when he heard the first music that singer/songwriter Todrick Hall has created for the show, he noticed a musical nod to the popular Walt Disney World fireworks spectacular Wishes. According to Peterson...

Todrick [Hall] was a performer at Disney World the same time and he actually took the first pass, this is his music, and he had this nod in there and I called it out, I was like ‘Did you put a nod to Wishes?’ And he was like ‘Yeah, that’s my favorite.’ So it was a super great experience where we bonded over that.

Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams saw its first show and 2003 and ran, with occasional interruptions for holidays or other events, until 2017, when it was replaced by Happily Ever After, the current fireworks show. Jordan Peterson told me that he loved Wishes so much, that when he was working at Walt Disney World he used to stay after work just to watch it, from what was, likely, the best seat in the house...

Wishes is my all-time favorite Disney spectacular fireworks show. I used to sit on the rooftops at [Disney World], please don’t tell my supervisors, back in the day, I don’t think they can do anything now, right?

Jordan Peterson went to work for Disney first through Disney's college program, but was hired as a performer at then Disney/MGM Studios, now Disney's Hollywood Studios, for the Stars and Motor Cars parade which ran in the early 2000s. Growing up the live entertainment aspect of the parks, parades and shows, was always more interesting to him than rides, which led to his interest in becoming part of those shows. He estimates that during his tenure at both Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort, he participated in every live performance show that took place.

Because he Jordan Peterson knows what it's like to be a performer, he has a unique perspective when it comes to creating the show. He now hopes he can help create live shows that will inspire another generation as he was.

Peterson believes that art works best when it's personal, and so he took the opportunity to include a few musical references that meant something to him into the new Magic Happens parade. If you've only ever visited Disneyland over the last couple decades, then the musical easter eggs might not be familiar when you hear them during the finale float, however, if you're equally familiar with Walt Disney World, you'll hear musical references to both the Wishes fireworks show, and the Remember the Magic parade...

You’ll hear the Wishes chord hit and you’ll hear the word 'Wishes.' And then you’ll hear 'It’s time to remember the magic.'

It's not uncommon for parades or fireworks shows to make the jump from coast to coast and appear at one Disney park after a successful run at the other. However, shows like Wishes and Remember the Magic never made such a trip, though elements of Wishes did appear in Disneyland's Remember, Dreams Come True fireworks show. This will make those references in Magic Happens a tad more obscure, but for the fans that catch them, they'll likely be that much more special.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.