You’re at a VIP party (a castle party at that), with 600+ of your closest friends, in the middle of history’s most popular theme park… and the world stops moving, time stands still, and you’re in an utterly inexplicable, whimsical daze for 22 minutes.
Leading up to today, everyone knew Dream Along with Mickey would be taking it’s final bow.. but, the manner in which it was done was truly awe-inspiring and a script couldn’t have been written any better.
Cast members, families, fans and friends did the rare 8 a.m. rope-drop wakeup call to head to the Magic Kingdom to campout for the perfect Dream Along viewing spot. And then the rain came.
Torrential downpours flooded the trolley-tracks of Main Street and the day was looking bleak. Guests were reluctant to leave their spots, huddling under umbrellas that canvassed the whole back portion of the hub. As time came closer to the first scheduled performance, music started playing… but it was not the show everyone was hoping for. Mickey and the gang came out for the finale song only; an altered variation of the performance..and it looked like that’s how this crew was going to end their run. The rest of their showings were washed up for the foreseeable future.
With thunder rumbling, and darker clouds began rolling, guests continued to stand their ground despite what the radar on their weather apps was indicating. 3 o’clock rolls around and Disney favorite’s came out to celebrate the Festival of Fantasy Parade… in their standard out fits. Rain had stopped, but with Mickey and Minnie in their standard attire, everyone knew more bad weather was on the way.
Once the parade made it’s way through Main St. unscathed, hundred upon hundreds of fans shifted their focus back to the font of Cinderella’s Castle. Still eager to see the first performance of the day, as well as the last performance ever, tensions were growing and anxiety began to kick in: “It just has to come out today” “There needs to be a formal goodbye” “I might have seen my last show before I even knew it” were some over the blurbs coming from fans starting to lose their optimistic outlook.
4:05 rolls around (4:20 scheduled showing) and all of the guests who weren’t completely invested in their iPhones and social media let out a loud cheer. No, Mickey didn’t come out early, but stage technicians brought out the final batch of pyro– a telling sign that the show would go on.
Several moments later, Walt Disney World Ambassador (and former performer) Nathaniel Palma walked down the entrance ramp with other former performers who opened the show 10 years ago. The crowd erupted with excitement. Now, about 4:15, it starts to drizzle and you hear a collective “aw” coming from the sea of people. All of a sudden, the music on Main Street goes silent, you start to feel it in your bones… and then the flute plays and Minnie, Donald and Goofy run out on stage. In unison, the crowd sings every lyrics, every song and every quote of emphasis throughout the show. It was surreal. Something out of a storybook. You could feel the emotion and you wanted to give the person closest to you a hug.. because at that point you are all feeling the same thing; you all have that same emotional connection to something much bigger than anyone in attendance.
A fun-loving show, with tremendous crowd interaction and unprecedented feedback began to slowly quiet down towards the end of the show. Looking around, you knew it was coming to an end, but you were so caught up in it that nothing else mattered at that point. As the finale goes on, Mickey and Minnie step on the lift and rise up above everyone. It’s near dead-silence and Mickey says “Take the dream with you, wherever you may go!” and then the cast, guests, nearby CM’s and everyone within what seemed like a 50-mile radius had tears rolling down their joyful faces. The show is now over, and the massive crowd doesn’t move… doesn’t talk… doesn’t think… just continues to clap… and then, out comes everyone for one last goodbye.
Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Snow White, The Prince, Cinderella, Prince Charming, Princess Aurora, Prince Phillip, the handful of dancers and even Maleficent (despite not having a formal invitation) were welcomed to the stage one last time as the crowd sat there and admired the culmination of creative entertainment along with heartfelt, emotional performing. The cast on stage hugged, bowed and waved as the fans on the grounds hugged, cried and returned the gesture. On a day where it didn’t look like Mickey was going to get to say a proper goodbye to his own show, a little bit of magic happened and he and his friends got to go out in one of the most unimaginable ways possible. You couldn’t have asked for a better send off.
It was the quintessential closing to the perfect castle party.
But why is was Dream Along with Mickey so pivotal?
Dream Along with Mickey was the longest running show Cinderella’s Castle stage has ever seen. A shade under 10 years in the books; the strides in entertainment were monumental. In 2006, when Mickey and his friends first stormed the castle, there was **something missing** but you only recognize it in hindsight. Towards the end of the show’s tenure… Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy added a certain element to their performances, allowing the characters themselves to voice their thoughts. Seeing Mickey talk for the first time set the bar for what Disney creative entertainment can do.. and from that point on, they’ve only exceeded expectations. No other theme park in the world has even dared to try what Dream Along has done for a number of years. So yes, while it’s sad to see this come to a close… we can only prepare to be blown away when Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire debuts this summer.