Tiana's Showboat Jubilee: A Return To Disneyland Magic

Child: Mommy, I love Princess Tiana!

Mom: Is this your favorite princess now?

Child: (with great enthusiasm and smile on her face) Yes, Mommy! She really, truly is!

Over this weekend, I have had a chance to both watch and participate in Tiana's Showboat Jubilee, the new musical spectacular at Disneyland celebrating Disney's 49th animated feature The Princess and The Frog. I had been looking forward to this show just because of its use of the Mark Twain Riverboat, one of my favorite attractions, as well as New Orleans Square, arguably my favorite area of Disneyland. But, watching it for the first time stirred more than just high anticipation. It transported me back to a time when I was a kid and the pagentry and production I was used to at Disneyland.

Not to be too disparaging, but, after almost a year of watching Celebrate! A Street Party, the non-parade that Disneyland has run for it's "What Will You Celebrate?" campaign, I pretty much thought that Disneyland had lost it in terms of street entertainment. Tiana's Showboat Jubilee, however, marked a wonderful return to the Disney magic. This show had me entranced, starting with a processional that dances its way through New Orleans Square and ending in showstopping number after number on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

I am also so glad to have been given a special boarding pass where I got to participate in the show. It's not only an opportunity to experience the show from a unique vantage point, but, not only do you get to meet Tiana and Naveen with the beautiful settings of the Rivers of America in the background, you also get to meet Louis the Aligator (the only place in the park to do a meet-and-greet with him)! I've only interacted with him a couple of times but he's already become a favorite character!

The reason why I started with that bit of dialogue I overheard at the park was because, aside from being great entertainment, it's really genius marketing. Before the movie even starts, I'm already singing the songs and getting to know the characters. For a new generation, Tiana is going to be their princess and not a princess handed down from generation to generation. So, it is amazing to hear little girls claim her as their favorite because this is the first one they'll be exposed to on the big screen.

And, frankly, I want this film to do well. I've missed 2D animation. While I love everything that Pixar's done and they do it well, Disney, to me, is about the majesty and artestry of hand-drawn animation. I'm glad they're returning to it and hope they continue to recognize it as a viable and legitimate form of media.

Aside from Tiana's Showboat Jubilee, there is an opportunity for people to meet-and-greet with Tiana and Naveen. The Court of Angels in New Orleans Square has been transformed into a royal courtyard befitting of a princess. I, at first, thought it would be a nightmare to queue people up in this area, but, thus far, the crowd control has been done very well.

I am looking forward to continue watching Tiana's Showboat Jubilee and going to the meet-and-greets. I hope that Disneyland will pick up on the specialness of this and find more opportunities like this to promote their films...after all, while everything in the end is marketing, for many of us,it is also magic and memories made!

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