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Best Theme Park Show You Have Seen.


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I saw my first show at KINGS DOMINION during my first visit there in 1978: it was a Broadway-styled show called "New York, New York". The other shows I remembered that came later were "Celebration", "Fantasy", Parmount's Ice Shows, and "The Ghoulish Rockers" ( in which I saw first at Carowinds before it appeared at Kings Dominion a year later).

 

The was another show at Busch Gardens Williamsburg that ran for a few seasons and I got to see it about four or five times. I cannot remember the title, but they featured different types of shows from circus acts to TV shows.

 

Six Flags America had an improv show during one season, and in another season showed how movies were made.

 

Other shows I've seen - Magic, circus, stunt work, and music bands.

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I don't like "ranking" things so I'll just list some of my favorite shows I've seen, in no particular order....

 

- Happily Ever After - Magic Kingdom

 

- Illuminations - Epcot

 

- Fantasmic - Tokyo DisneySEA

 

- Once Upon a Time - Tokyo Disneyland

 

- Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration - Magic Kingdom (Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party)

 

- Boo To You Parade - Magic Kingdom (MIckey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party)

 

- Disney Dreams - Disneyland Paris

 

- Frozen Sing-A-Long - Disney's Hollywood Studios

 

- Frozen Fireworks - Disney's Hollywood Studios

 

Honorable mentions:

 

- Beauty & The Beast show cira 1987 on the old Videopolis Stage in Disneyland. (It probably is the show responsible for me getting into Broadway musicals)

 

- Whatever that seriously fucked up fish show we saw at Sea Paradise in Japan where they taught a whale shark to do tricks.

 

- Raveleijn at Efteling - But only the part where they set a horse on fire! (Yes, this is TRUE!)

 

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of theme park "shows" and mostly the ones I like are going to be "nighttime spectaculars." It's also very very rare that I will see a show outside of a Disney park that will impress me. Most of them are garbage. I admit that I'm a musical theater snob and when it comes to theme park shows with any singing & dancing, whether it is an original show, "musical revue" type of show, or based on a movie/theatrical production, I'm usually not going to be impressed. I do not really like "nature" shows so anything involving fish, birds or animals is usually a huge turn off to me EXCEPT for in Japan where they get their animals to do some seriously messed up stuff! (or that show in China that had like a money on a unicycle balancing a bear on it's head or something. I'm remembering it wrong, but it was something really screwed up like that! lol)

 

So yeah, in short, blow some stuff up, and I'll probably like the show!

Edited by robbalvey
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Not normally a fan of theme park shows, but the ones that stand out to me are:

 

Illuminations at Epcot

Wishes at Disneyland Paris

Raveleijn at Efteling

 

I also seem to remember Waterworld at Universal Studios Hollywood was pretty good, although it was a long time since I've seen it

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I rarely, if ever, used to watch any theme park shows as they just never interested me. Rikki, however, is drawn to them, so we usually budget time now to check out a show or two when visiting a park known for them. I, too, am a bit of a theater snob, and usually I end up just focusing in on all of the visible seams in the performance. Occasionally I'm entertained, but I haven't really found a show yet that blew me away.

 

In recent memory, the ones I've seen have been the following:

 

Dollywood

 

Atahualpa - I remember this being fun, but longer than it needed to be.

Mother Africa - Same as above, but with more botched tricks.

It's a Wonderful Life - Meh. Movie is better, and that's from someone who doesn't really care for the movie too much, either. However, the performers and production were both solid, so if you're a sucker for the story, you'll like it.

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Again, performers and production were both solid. However, the show left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It's nothing but a nostalgic, "rose-tinted glasses" look at what I'm sure Dollywood's target audience wishes their Christmases could still be like rather than a true telling of what they are now. I don't know, I get that it has an audience that appreciates it, but it's just so fake to me. I don't get living in the past.

 

Six Flags Great Adventure

 

Smash - Your basic, run-of-the-mill "Shock Magic 101" Halloween magic show. Meh.

 

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

 

Celtic Fyre - So far, probably my favorite one. I appreciated several aspects of the performance, primarily the singing and choreography. Downside is there isn't really a cohesive story, and, at least for my performance, a poor mic mix.

OktoberZest - Maybe this would be better if it weren't in the middle of an active dining hall, but I ended up just feeling bad for the performers, desperately trying to cater to a bunch of disinterested diners.

Edited by michaellynn4
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Celtic Fyre @ BGW will always be my favorite, but being Irish I'm biased as hell.

 

Canada's Wonderland's projection show was amazing last time I saw it, too, but that was years ago, I keep missing it since then.

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I have a few favorites (all of which have been replaced/revamped):

 

Emerald Beat @ Busch Gardens Williamsburg

 

Blue Horizons @ SeaWorld Orlando

blue-horizon-seaworld-orlando-ending.jpg

 

Best Night Time Show: Ignite @ SeaWorld Orlando

 

My absolute favorite- Katonga @ Busch Gardens Tampa

4815056041_43e6f6db02_b.jpg

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I don't like "ranking" things so I'll just list some of my favorite shows I've seen, in no particular order....

- Whatever that seriously fudged up fish show we saw at Sea Paradise in Japan where they taught a whale shark to do tricks.

 

I don't suppose you have a video of this do you? Both times I've been at sea paradise the whale shark just followed a bucket of food so guests could get a good look at it and that was it but I might have just been unlucky.

P1060348.thumb.jpg.ce3cb1220c21c6dc8e0eab5e5faf5c36.jpg

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-Probably the best show I've ever seen was on my recent trip to WDW. Happily Ever After absolutely blew us away. We LOVED it! Although I hate how early you have to go stake out a spot to get even a somewhat decent view of the thing.

 

-I'm a HUGE fan of whales and dolphins, so I love any show where I get to see whales and dolphins. And yes, I will sit in the splash zone.

 

-Pretty much any show at Disney is just great. Fantasmic was great, Worlds of Color, Illuminations, Paint the Night.

 

-Halloween shows. I remember really liking the ice show at CGA a few years back, the Hanging at Knott's, the Jabbawockeez at Universal. Though not the best ever, we saw one at KI last year we enjoyed.

 

-Dollywood's rendition of It's a Wonderful Life. That's by far the longest theme park show I've ever seen. It felt more like a full-length musical you'd buy a separate ticket for than a theme park show. We also enjoyed an African one on our recent visit.

 

-Though really cheesy, I still enjoyed Iceplorations at BGT. Explore!

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Dollywood's rendition of It's a Wonderful Life. That's by far the longest theme park show I've ever seen. It felt more like a full-length musical you'd buy a separate ticket for than a theme park show. We also enjoyed an African one on our recent visit.

 

I agree with all of this. I guess I'm the opposite of Robb in that I generally don't usually like theme park shows at all UNLESS they include animals but Dollywood is definitely an exception to this rule. Personally I think "It's a Wonderful Life" sucks and I've always thought it sucked (yeah, I'm the guy) but Brit wanted to see it at Dollywood and it actually turned out to be really, really good. The music choices were weird, but they sort of worked (I sort of remember a Polar Express song and a Bette Midler song) and it was a lot better than I expected it to be. I'd see it again.

 

As for Mother Africa, that was awesome. After hearing so much about how bad the shows were during Festival of Nations we were totally unprepared for how great that one was.

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I'm somewhat biased but I absolutely adore World of Color. It's really great during the second showing because there are nowhere near as many people around than there are for the first.

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I don't like "ranking" things so I'll just list some of my favorite shows I've seen, in no particular order....

- Whatever that seriously fudged up fish show we saw at Sea Paradise in Japan where they taught a whale shark to do tricks.

 

I don't suppose you have a video of this do you? Both times I've been at sea paradise the whale shark just followed a bucket of food so guests could get a good look at it and that was it but I might have just been unlucky.

I don't, sadly. This was during our 2007 trip, I believe and if memory serves correct we were seeing the show to get out of the rain and none of us expected the whale shark to do tricks and by the time any of us thought to take video, that segment of the show was over. We've gone back to see the show since and they've never had the whale shark doing tricks again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

*The Saloon Show (SDC - I like all iterations of it, but a few years ago when Dave Wallace was playing Fabian, he sang "You Make Me Love You" and directed it at my friend and it was honest-to-god the best performance I've ever seen at my 20+ years of going to the park; he's so freaking talented! He's also excellent as Scrooge in SDC's rendition of A Christmas Carol)

 

*Listen to the River (SDC - wish they'd do a revival of this one)

 

*It's A Wonderful Life (SDC - First Season cast - my friends and I went to see it twice in one day, we loved it so much! And I've never really been a huge fan of the movie)

 

*Finding Nemo: The Musical (WDW: AK)

 

*Festival of the Lion King (WDW: AK)

 

*Wishes (WDW: MK)

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  • 3 years later...

I am not sure where to put this, but I have an idea an wonder if anyone has ever seen this before...

With more and more parks canceling and/or revamping their shows it made me wonder: "What if a park put a show into a parade format?" 

The idea is simple in nature but probably complex in nature. What if the parade told a story, had some rising action and climactic event, and then a happily ever after moment. 

 

Have any parks done this before, or has anyone seen a parade that actually had a story line other than just a theme (Christmas, magic, Halloween...)? Do you think this would work?

I thought this could be a great way to allow a lot of people to view a show while offering an outdoor socially distanced experience. 

Thoughts?

 

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^I feel like Tokyo Disneyland's Spooky Boo Parade kind of did this.  Parade came out, stopped in the hub and basically told a whole story then left! I'm pretty sure if I understood more Japanese I could tell you definitively if it was a story, but I'm not so fluent so... =) 

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