Every day thousands of people end their day in the Magic Kingdom with one of my favorite things – Wishes! This fireworks show started back in October of 2003 and has been melting the hearts of young kids and adults ever since. Sure, fireworks are always amazing, but when Disney puts their touch on it, with music from numerous classic movies, you know it’s going to be a show stopper. Disney once again enlisted the help of composer Gregory Smith to bring this nighttime spectacular to life. Smith has a long history with Disney, with such shows as Illuminations 25 in Epcot, Remember Dreams Come True in Disneyland, and Disney’s Electrical Parade at California Adventure, to name a few.
Like many people, I can vividly remember the first time I saw Wishes. It was in the summer of 2004, my first trip to the Magic Kingdom since I was 6 years old. After spending a very long but fun day with my family, we settled in on Main Street near Casey’s corner about 30 minutes before the show. I love when you start to hear the music creeping in and all the lights go out on Main Street; it gives me chill bumps every time! Wishes starts off with a child singing “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.” I know when I was younger I used to say this all the time when wishing on stars, so this already had me choking up because it brought back great childhood memories. I also love the line “do as dreamers do”, because to me that is a connection to Walt himself, one of the greatest dreamers of all.
The next few portions of the song focus on several Disney characters and the wishes they would like to have come true. Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and Aladdin all tell us their wishes. Jiminy Cricket then tells us “Any wish is possible; all it takes is a little courage to set it free.” The section ends with “Go the Distance” from Hercules, and by this time I’m feeling like I could have all my wishes come true!
I like to refer to the next section as the ballroom dancing scene. Here, music is playing from many of the Disney princess movies, and you can’t help but dance as if you were at the ball with your Prince Charming. Even when listening to the Wishes CD in my car, I tend to find myself swaying to the music, much to the confusion of people sitting next to me in traffic. Following the ballroom dancing there is more fun and whimsy, where Genie grants some wishes, and we hear some great music from Fantasia.
Just when you think it is safe, a classic Disney villain enters the mix. The Evil Queen from Snow White wants her wish granted as well. Just when things start to get ugly, the Blue Fairy comes in to save the day. She tells us to always believe in our wishes and again we hear “star light, star bright.” This time it is sung by a children’s choir, and this is usually the point where I start tearing up. Disney really knows how to bring in the kids to tug at our heart strings. The icing on the cake is when the full choir comes in singing “like a bolt out of the blue…” So many people instantly recognize this song and I believe it was the perfect choice for the climax of the fireworks. The show ends with the choir hitting all the right notes with the Wishes theme and Magic Kingdom is filled with thousands of smiling faces.
Seeing Wishes is amazing, but the music can stand alone so I would recommend buying the soundtrack the next time you are in Walt Disney World so you can relive the magic at home. The CD can be purchased in all four theme parks as well as Downtown Disney and many of the resort hotels. Also, if you ever have the chance, watch Wishes from outside the Magic Kingdom. In some out of park locations, they also play the music, so you get the full experience. A great location that offers a very different view is from the top of the Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Tower. These areas will require you to either have dinner reservations at the California Grill or be staying at Bay Lake Tower, but the views are spectacular. Another area that is great for view is the beach at the Polynesian Resort, and it’s free and easy to get to. If you are lucky enough to get a reservation at ‘Ohana it is an amazing spot. I recently got to experience Wishes there while enjoying my birthday dinner with close friends, and it was an experience I will never forget.
Contributed by: Shalon Given (NDI#167) Shalon is the DDL Music Blogger.