The Path to the “Once Upon a Time” Projection Show


A nighttime show of Cinderella’s Castle. Photo courtesy of JD on Flickr

The “Once Upon a Time” Projection Show made it’s debut on November 4 and, to some newer Disney fans, it might seem like a one-of-a-kind show. But Disney has been doing castle projection shows for years now and has been making small tweaks from each show to the next. And Disney might want to pretend that they are the first to do projection shows, but it seems that they took a lot of inspiration from a rather strange place.

Ralph Lauren did his first projection show in November 2010, with the brand’s advertisements and symbols being projected on 888 Madison Avenue in New York. You can check out the show, courtesy of Ralph Lauren, below.

The castle projection show was added to the nighttime line-up after the light parade and before the fireworks in 2011. The first show was “The Magic, the Memories, and You,” which you can see some of below.

Each year, Disney does a new theme to their park with new tagline (ie. the Year of a Million Dreams, which was so popular, the year lasted 27 months). “Celebrate the Magic” took over 2012 to go along with a new theme and was kicked out in 2016 to make way for “Once Upon a Time,” which was brought over from Tokyo Disneyland. The original one in Tokyo is a projection show, with the added elements of fire, lasers, fireworks, and searchlights. The Magic Kingdom version, though, does not have fire or lasers.

The new show is Mrs. Potts reading bedtime stories to Chip, featuring bedtime stories about “Frozen,” “Tangled,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Peter Pan,” and finishing off with “Beauty and the Beast.”

Check out the full show below (courtesy of Theme Park Review) and let us know in the comments if you love the new show or wish “Celebrate the Magic” or “The Magic, the Memories, and You” could just come back!


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