World of Color is a water "nighttime spectacular" running at Disney California Adventure, in which "dancing" fountains (plus lasers and fire spouts!) perform to iconic Disney and Pixar sequences (such as the "speaking whale" scene from Finding Nemo). Think of it as Las Vegas' Fountains of Bellagio meets Fantasia in a good ol' Disney Acid Sequence.
Business-wise, it could possibly be billed as the "main attraction" of California Adventure's billion-dollar makeover. The show is designed in such a way that sequences can be changed out and fountains reprogrammed fairly easily, with the football field-sized fountain platform only needing general routine maintenance. Also notable for prominently featuring the mist screen technology that started with its Long Runner predecessor Fantasmic!
The title, opening sequence, and theme song are a tribute to Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (a.k.a. Walt Disney Presents), though that is about as far as the homages go. From 2015-2016, a new incarnation of the show hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse focused on Walt Disney, Disneyland and work from Disney's early years subtitled Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney debuted for Disneyland's 60th anniversary celebration (the "Diamond Days", as they called it; this celebration used rhombus diamonds like The Classics in the 80's and 90's).
In 2023, the show received another major update known as World of Color: One and it showcases Disney's most corageous and inspiring characters. It also is the first Disney nighttime spectacular to feature all of its four brands (Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars) in one single production. This show debuted as part of the Disney100 celebration.
World of Color provides examples of the following tropes:
- Art Evolution: Originally, effects were limited to those created with the equipment installed in the lagoon and the lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel. Scenes added later broadened the show's canvas with additional lighting and projection effects made on the California Screamin' roller coaster.
- The Artifact: The show's merchandise still heavily features Chernabog, despite him being reduced to a single very easy-to-miss cameo in 2015's Celebrate! show.
- Audience Participation: The "Glow with the Show" ears, which connect to the show via radio waves and flash across the audience. The preshow features games the audience can play along with on their smartphones, such as a "Simon Says" Mini-Game using the giant wheel.
- Award-Bait Song: The re-imagined theme to the Wonderful World of Color TV show.
- Big Word Shout: The word "COLOR!" in the theme song.
- Birthday Episode: For the Disneyland Resort's 60th anniversary, a version of the show called World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney premiered hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse.
- Busby Berkeley Number: Queen Grimhilde's part of Villainous! has this done with skeletons in a giant cauldron along with her raven inside a skull.
- Christmas Episode: A Christmas-themed show, World of Color: Winter Dreams, premiered in Winter 2013. This was replaced with World of Color: Season of Light in 2016.
- Christmas Songs: Famous Christmas songs are on the soundtrack for World of Color: Season of Light.
- Close on Title: Lasers write out the logo after the finale ends.
- Cover Version: At the end of the Celebrate! show, a cover of the Bob Dylan song Forever Young plays sung by Christina Perri.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Colored water fountains, lasers, and pyrotechnics show various scenes from Disney films that are accompanied by music.
- Dueling Shows: Semi-invoked example with Fantasmic! When both shows are playing on the same night, they are almost always scheduled around the same time in order to force guests to choose between them. This effectively solved the lack of nighttime crowds for California Adventure, therefore downgrading Disneyland's nighttime crowds from "crazy ridiculous" to just "ridiculous". Technically speaking, they are more companion shows rather than dueling shows, partnered up as Disney continues to work through crowd problems on its California property.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- Energy Weapon: The show features laser effects.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Good Lord is this show sparkly. Bonus mention for the Pixar Pal-A-Round ferris wheel and Incredicoaster rollercoaster in the background, which are programmed to light up in sequence with the music.
- Expy: Shelley Marie is a lot like Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice. Both are Perky Goth girls who want a little bit of dark fun and end up meeting all kinds of monsters including one designed by Tim Burton. Her dress is also inspired by Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: Winter Dreams does this with Christmas songs and the ball replaced by the bottom third of Olaf's body.
- Halloween Episode: Premiering in September 2019, World of Color: Villainous! The plot is all about a young Perky Goth girl who loves Halloween and Disney Villains trying to pick which one to be her Halloween costume, all while pondering if she could be as wicked and powerful as any of them. She picks Dragon Maleficent as her costume, and her mother goes as normal Maleficent.
- Halloween Songs: Oogie Boogie sings his villain song from The Nightmare Before Christmas in World of Color: Villainous!
- Intercontinuity Crossover: The show is a crossover of various animated and live action Disney films.
- Monster Fangirl: Shelley Marie, the protagonist of Villainous! is a big fan of all of the Disney Villains.
- Montages: The entire show are various scenes from Disney films projected on water fountains.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The show includes a long montage of fun and (duh) colorful Disney movie moments and then — The Firebird and Chernabog in all their terrifying glory... the Death of Mufasa... Dumbo's mom in the cage... the Beast dying... And cut to the Disney Princesses suddenly! (Admittedly, the theme of the latter three segments seem to be "being with loved ones", but... yeah.)
- Special mention goes to the segue from Heimlich the Caterpillar to the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence which is unsettling to say the least.
- One time, at Christmas, the show began with Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song", which got cut off before the bridge by Prep & Landing.
- Never Trust a Trailer: California Adventure's website advertised World of Color: One as a tribute to "the rich storytelling legacy begun by Walt Disney". To the disappointment of his fans, One doesn't contain any characters from his movies or shows.
- Over The Top Christmas Decorations: A segment of "Season of Light" mixes Goofy with the "Wizards in Winter" synchronized Christmas light show.
- Product Placement: A reminder that Tropes Are Not Bad, if you can believe it. Sequences centered around the newer Disney movies can be easily programmed before, after, or directly into the show. So far, TRON: Legacy, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Prep & Landing, and Brave have received their own sequences.
- Shout-Out: The orange Mickey Mouse balloon at the end of the Up sequence.
- "Simon Says" Mini-Game: Yes, in a theme park. The Fun Wheel Challenge, played before every show. It's basically a multiplayer game of Simon... with the board being Mickey's Fun Wheel. The winner gets to choose the patterns displayed on the wheel for a short period of time.
- Spiritual Antithesis: Villainous is basically this to Sofia the First. Both are about young girls who meet up with all kinds of Disney characters that help them make choices in there adventures. But the difference is that Shelly is a goth girl who Hates Wearing Dresses and meets with all kinds of villains so she can be a villain herself, while Sofia is a Princess Classic who gets help from Disney princess heroines so she can be a proper heroine herself.
- Spiritual Successor: To Fantasmic!
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
- The 2014 incarnation of Winter Dreams doubled down on the Frozen sequences, replacing segments actually related to Christmas with songs from the film that didn't even have anything to do with winter. This continued into the 2015 Celebrate! show, which is generally focused on Walt Disney's work but still features a performance of "Let It Go".
- Celebrate! also has a segment hyping Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Again, in a show that's supposed to be dedicated to Walt Disney and his legacy.
- The Stinger:
- After the finale of Celebrate!, the fountains and music stay on for a little while before playing a short goodbye clip of Walt.
- The regular show ends with a single orange fountain named "Little Squirt" taking a bow, before the lights go out.
- That's All, Folks!: Celebrate! closes out with a clip of Walt Disney saying it's getting past his bedtime and bidding goodnight to the audience.
- Title Scream: During the intros and outros, the singers have a tendency to shout the title. Especially during the end of Celebrate!.Singers: Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate a World of Color! COLOR! COLOR! COLOOOOOOR!
- Villain Episode: Villainous!, natch. Hosted by Oogie Boogie, and with a star lineup of villains which ones? . The plot has most of these villains taking a Goth girl named Shelley Marie under their wing, show her the tools of villainy she wishes to possess, and put on a show for her with the power she wants to obtain.
- Villain Protagonist: Shelley from Villainous!, if the text "Welcome to the Family!" at the end of her book is any indication.