Disneyland offers Soundsational summer

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Disney’s new Soundsational Parade on Main Street at Disneyland.
Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda

By Catherine Gaugh
Staff Writer

The sounds of music — and I mean sounds with an “s” — can unlock a flood of memories. Disneyland Resort proved it in the for-media debut last week of two new rides and an enthusiastic, riveting parade that had the curbside audience dancing in the street.
Collectively, the Disney 2011 summer experience is called “Soundsational Summer”, with an emphasis placed largely on music from the studio’s successful animated films. Just try to spend a day in either of the parks without hearing several songs. It won’t happen, and your day will be better for it.

Ariel’s Underwater Adventure
An opening ceremony for Ariel’s Underwater Adventure in California Adventure Park began with a flood of songs from “The Little Mermaid” film released 21 years ago. When Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in the animated feature, came on stage to sing “Part of That World”, the little girls in the audience first squealed with excitement, then sighed with happiness.
They weren’t the only ones riding an emotional wave. A group of young Disney singers who started the show had the adults, even those with silver hair, bouncing and singing along to “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea.” How did we forget what great music the movie had?
The sounds continued inside the ride. We climbed into an open clam shell that glides into a large round room. We weren’t underwater, but the soft blue lighting made it seem so. Here we were serenaded by Ariel, Sebastian (the crab) and Ursula (the octo-villainess.)
There are nearly 130 assorted characters from the film participating in “Under the Sea”, including, appropriately, blowfish on trombones. The sounds truely surrounded us; the music seemed to emanate from every wall.
The ride makes heavy use of audio-animatronics technology: Ariel seems to swim, with her red hair waving above her head. A pack of starfish spin around. It’s enchanting.
This 5-minute child-friendly ride can transport even the most weary and cynical among us to a lighter, happier mood. I mean, really, there’s a crab that sings about life underwater. What is not to like?

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
This daily procession of dancers, singers and floats down Main Street pays a colorful, sparkling homage to the most recent memorable Disney films. The music is loud and full of joy. Mickey Mouse and Goofy are reinvented as rock star drummers. And they’re good.
And there’s the music, from “The Little Mermaid,” “Alladin,” “The Jungle Book,” “Princess and the Frog,” “Mary Poppins” and even “Peter Pan.” During a debut performance last week, members of the crowd danced on the sidewalks and in the street.

Star Tours
Of the lush symphonic musical score John Williams composed for the “Star Wars” movies, the most familiar refrain is the powerful, trumpeting “Jedi Theme,” and it can be heard inside a revamped Star Tours ride in Tomorrowland.
Hearing the music transformened nonchalant media types into junior high kids; these grownups hopped with excitement as they waited in line inside the skyport, watched the mini-movie at the entrance to the spaceship, and recalled how they felt when they first saw Darth Vader appear on the screen with his deep rumbling voice and evil intentions.
Inside the ride, with our 3D glasses on, we saw the warrior himself: Darth Vader appeared on screen, barking orders at us to land and give up one of our passengers (a spy!). The hapless and accidental pilot, C-3PO, and trusty companion R2-D2, managed to blast away, evading the Imperial forces. We cheered!
After a dizzying, Mr. Toad’s type wild ride through the Kashyyk Jungle, Princess Leia materialized, urging us to alter our course and aid the Rebellion. That took us straight to the Death Star spaceship. The grownup children laughed, clapped and shouted out at each turn.
There is more vibration and movement than the previous version, and the 3D effects make for even a bumpier ride. Disney park people told us that there are 50 random story combinations, so that fans can get a different experience each time.

Ticket prices
The thought of going to Disneyland could make anyone quiver in terror at the expense. Last we looked, a one-day park hopper ticket was $101 for you and $91 for each of your children.
But there is a bit of good news for those who plan to go this summer, anyway.
SoCal residents can buy a three-day ticket, good for three separate visits to one park per day, for $139. A $15 per ticket upgrade is available to make it a 3-day park hopper ticket, so you can visit both parks on each of three different days. It’s good until Sept. 5, but there are some black-out dates, including the Independence Day weekend. Check for tickets online at www.disneyland.com/summer.

catherine.gaugh@sgvn.com

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