Tonight The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 aired on ABC and really lived up to its name. There were so many heart-tugging montages, tremendous performances and all-star appearances (including Helen Mirren, who kicked off the special with an incredibly regal introduction). The special was also wildly informative, shedding some light on some little-known facts and peeling back the curtain on new experiences that are just around the corner.
1. The Star Wars-Themed Land Is Going to Be Incredible …
The preview for the Star Wars-themed land, coming soon to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, began with an introduction from Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. It then segued to some of the footage that Bob Iger debuted last summer at D23 Expo: a hatch opening up, revealing a mystical, otherworldly land. “For almost 40 years, we’ve watched the Star Wars universe onscreen,” the narrator explains. “Now we at Walt Disney Imagineering have joined forces with the imagination of Lucasfilm to bring this galaxy to life.” When the themed land opens, you’ll be able to step into a “remote, outpost planet and meet droids and aliens.” You’ll be able to visit a street market and taste local delicacies, and “go upscale” in the nicest dinner club on the planet. You’ll also be able to visit the “local cantina,” which from the development art looks even more outrageous than the one in the original Star Wars (or Maz’s castle in The Force Awakens). Even the stores are described as “epic.” We are so there.
2. … No, Like Really Incredible
Oh yeah, there are also the actual attractions: You’ll be able to “pilot the Millennium Falcon, and see if she’s really the fastest ship in the galaxy.” (The pre-visualization footage saw you outrunning TIE fighters on a dusty desert planet.) The other attraction sees you escaping from First Order stormtroopers, in an “epic battle” between the Resistance and the First Order. The ride technology in the pre-visualization looks genuinely next level. Quite frankly, even from these brief snippets of development artwork and computer-generated pre-visualizations, the land (which is still untitled, although Ford referred to it as the “Star Wars Experience”) seems like a bold step forward for Walt Disney Imagineering and a way of transporting guests to a galaxy far, far away in a truly new and immersive way. Like we said, incredible.
3. The Disneyland Announcers Are Married
During a sequence hosted by Olaf himself, Josh Gad (who also portrays LeFou in the new live-action Beauty and the Beast, out in 2017), he noted something that we never knew: Bill Rogers and Camille Dixon, the announcers for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, are actually married. Rogers started doing voiceovers for Disneyland in 1991, and used to do announcements for Disney California Adventure, until his wife took over the gig.
4. The Submarine Fleet Is Huge
This is a fact that we’d heard before, but that Gad brought back up, reminding us of just how cool it is: Disneyland has the eighth largest submarine fleet in the world, ahead of Sweden, all housed within the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction.
5. Jimmy Kimmel Looks Exceptionally Good in Dumbo Mouse Ears
Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC, came on stage to introduce a segment of the show and made a bold fashion decision: Dumbo-themed Mickey ears. But maybe more shocking than his choice was how good he looked in them. He really pulled it off! (Honestly, it kind of made us want some.)
6. The Cast of Modern Family Really Loves Hidden Mickeys
At one point, the special threw to the cast of long-running ABC sitcom Modern Family. The idea behind the segment was for the cast, who are obviously ardent Disneyland enthusiasts, to offer tips and tricks for first-time visitors to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. And while they did offer some solid suggestions (FastPasses are a must), the segment also revealed something previously unknown: that the cast of Modern Family is really into hidden Mickeys. Nolan Gould, who plays Luke on the show, seems to think that he has discovered some all-new hidden Mickeys himself. Who knew?
7. The TRON Ride at Shanghai Disneyland Will Be Spectacular
Priyanka Chopra, the star of ABC’s Quantico (returning, in early March), was a part of the special, introducing the most detailed look we’ve yet seen of the TRON Lightcycle Power Run at the Shanghai Disneyland resort, opening this June. It was really crazy just how much of the attraction, via pre-visualization, was shown: the start-up screen, the long and winding (but not looping) track, the strobe-like lighting effects. It looks like an incredible thrill ride and as the anchor of Disneyland Shanghai’s version of Tomorrowland, will undoubtedly be one of the most popular attractions when the park opens.