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ValPalMickey: How Disney has Broken My Heart (or at least ruined my Happily Ever After…)

Ok…so maybe that title is a little dramatic, but it is the way I am feeling at the moment. I have a lot of Walt Disney World attractions that are very important to me that I would never want to lose (I am looking at you Haunted Mansion!) but shows, especially fireworks shows, are not typically on this list. I understand stage productions can become stale or dated over time and they need to be refreshed. And honestly, some things can run for too long. So, I will typically try to visit one last time to bid a show a fond farewell and look back on pictures fondly.

I was not a huge fan of Wishes and I totally understand that I just lost many of you with that statement. It was a great show, but because of some silliness from my husband, I really struggled with the music, and I didn’t love waiting for it. We had just seen it so many times that we often just worked hard to be on Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain for a special view of the fireworks. I didn’t like to wait in front of the castle, with a sea of people for Wishes – so I was excited to hear we would receive a new nighttime spectacular.

I thought I might enjoy Happily Ever After and watch it occasionally, but I was not prepared for what I experienced the first time I saw this show. There was something uniquely special about this production. It is not just that the projections are amazing, which they are incredibly so, or that the fireworks are timed well…they are, it is something else. The music…the music is incredibly emotional…unlike any other fireworks show I have seen. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular has an incredible score with music that we are familiar with…that reaches the fans nostalgia. (And I do love that show.) However, Happily Ever After uses its music in a more unique way to tug at our heartstrings. They utilize songs that we are familiar with (some more than others) but in an incredible arrangement that utilizes versions of songs that I have never heard in another setting.

Bear with me, I am going to make another controversial statement – I am not a huge Tinkerbell fan. I know…now you really hate me. (When I was a kid, I thought she was too mean to Wendy, and it just stuck with me…but I digress.) When Tinkerbell took flight in Wishes I thought it was really cool, but it didn’t strike me that much in the feels – it was early in the show. I remember watching Happily Ever After the first time and thinking…oh something must be wrong tonight and Tink is not flying. But then…when she took off from the castle…I started crying. The timing is spectacular… when Tinkerbell makes her flight…it is just perfect. I have never cried so much in a show with fireworks – not in all of these years of visiting the parks. (Even seeing Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular was amazing, but I did not burst out into hysteric tears.) Happily Ever After became a must do for me. I would gladly wait in the heat, with a crowd, to get a great view.

I say all of this to say – Happily Ever After is going away too soon. We were not ready…we didn’t have enough time. I know the pandemic kept us from visiting as much over the last couple of years, but I don’t think more viewings would change my feelings of loss right now. I am not angry, and I do not hold it against Disney because I am sure they have their reasons…but I have a request. Walt Disney World…please at least give me an official soundtrack.

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