Let it go, let it snow.
That describes the spirit of the new, nearly 39-foot long “Frozen 2” parade float, on which Elsa, who’s known for singing “Let It Go” in the first film, will make snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.
Later, Cinderella gets her magical moment when she’s inside a giant pumpkin that suddenly becomes a carriage to take her to the ball.
Those are among the nine floats in “Magic Happens,” Disneyland’s newest daytime parade. The procession will premiere Feb. 28.
The parade salutes classic and modern animated movies, everything from Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” to Disney-Pixar’s “Coco.”
“Magic Happens” begins with dancers representing different aspects of magic, followed by a float with Mickey Mouse and a nearly 15-foot high depiction of the sorcerer’s hat from “Fantasia” (1940). Mickey will be on the float and wearing his sorcerer’s apprentice costume.
Jordan Peterson and David Duffy, show director and creative director respectfully for Disney Live Entertainment, stood in front of Mickey’s float backstage last week in a Disneyland warehouse. They told the News-Press and a dozen or so other media outlets that it took more than two years to develop the parade, which incorporates dancing, music, iconic characters and technology.
Mr. Peterson said the parade was a genuine labor of love by people who grew up loving Disney entertainment.
He said the parade was created according to three principles.
“First and foremost, it’s contemporary,” said Mr. Peterson, who began his Disney career as a parade performer at Walt Disney World. “The way we accomplished this was through modern music and choreography.
“We wanted it to feel ‘now,’ but at the same time, feel like a love letter to Disney in general,” he said.
Singer-songwriter Toddrick Hall co-composed the parade score, which incorporates music from Disney and Disney-Pixar movies, and two new songs.
Mr. Peterson said Disney made the parade artistic, the second of the three principles, with fashion-forward costumes and floats that he called “moving pieces of art.”
“Finally, we needed it to be whimsical,” Mr. Peterson said, describing the third principle. “At the end of all of that, Disney magic is whimsical, joyous, heartfelt. You should leave a Disney parade smiling.”
The parade begins with dancers representing different aspects of magic and Mickey Mouse on his float. You’ll also see Mickey’s friends Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ’n Dale.
The music is the song “Magic Happens,” co-composed by Mr. Hall.
In addition to Mr. Hall’s contribution, Emmy-winning choreographer Tessandra Chavez worked with the Disney choreography team on this part of the parade.
“We asked her if she would help with the choreography, and she said, ‘Yes, only if I can come to some of the overnight rehearsals on the streets,’ ” Mr. Duffy said. “It’s not often someone asks if they can come to an overnight rehearsal, trust me.”
Mr. Duffy noted Disney also worked with Emmy-nominated makeup artist David Petruschin, who provided a modern perspective for the parade. Mr. Duffy added that the costumes were designed by Matthew Davidson of Disney Live Entertainment.
Dancers and Mickey Mouse demonstrated the opening act’s energy as they performed in front of Mickey’s float during the news conference.
Before the performance, Mr. Peterson talked about the float.
“The float itself was influenced by what we thought these kinds of waves of ribbons of magic would look like running down the streets of Disneyland,” he said. “It has all these great lights embedded in it.”
After Mickey’s float, the parade jumps forward to “Moana” (2016).
“I know as director, I’m probably not supposed to have a favorite, but I do, and it’s this,” Mr. Peterson said, as reporters and Disney staff chuckled.
The float shows Moana journeying on her canoe on top of a wave. There are also LED screens depicting animation.
“It’s a perfect example of an integration of technology and art,” Mr. Peterson said.
Mr. Duffy noted viewers will see magic through Moana’s eyes.
Moana is accompanied by Maui, who’s on his own magical piece of the islands, and Moana’s pet pig, Pua.
The next float represents “Coco” (2017) and features Miguel playing Ernesto de la Cruz’s famous guitar. The music incorporates a song from the movie, “Remember Me.”
The float connects the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead with a bridge decorated by more than 30,000 marigolds.
“We’re paying homage to the film, but at the same time, we’re finding a new way to interpret the music,” Mr. Peterson said. “We’ll have a great dance party down the street.”
As the street performers go down the parade route, they will snap off their skirts and use them for a flag routine, he said. “Our amazing design team thought outside the box to create something truly unique and special for the streets of Disneyland.”
The next float is from “Frozen 2” and was developed at the same time as other Disney staff were working on the new movie, Mr. Peterson said.
“They would give us their ideas. This float was a labor of love in perfect partnership with our team over there.”
The float shows Anna and Elsa exploring the Enchanted Forest and features Kristoff, Sven and that popular snowman, Olaf.
After “Frozen 2,” a float salutes “Cinderella” (1950), with the Disney princess sitting in the big pumpkin becoming a carriage.
The next float shows Merlin guiding Arthur to remove the sword in “The Sword in the Stone” (1963).
“We knew instantly that this deserved to be a prominent feature in this parade,” Mr. Peterson said. “I can’t think of a better moment to freeze in time than the moment that a boy becomes king.”
After that, the float for “The Princess and the Frog” (2009) show Tiana and Naveen kissing to complete their transformation back into their human forms.
The parade ends with Princess Aurora dancing with Prince Phillip on the “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) float.
Just one thing: What color is her dress?
The good fairies continue to disagree on that as they perform their magic.
“Her dress shifts magically from pink to blue,” Mr. Peterson said, adding,
“What better way to have a happily-ever-after than a waltz on the clouds?”