The dazzling Disneyland 60th Anniversary kicked off last year, and we’re thrilled that the festivities are continuing all year long because there’s just so much to celebrate. This week, ABC is giving us a new way to honor “Walt’s first park,” with the premiere of a special presentation, The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60, airing Sunday, February 21, from 8–10 p.m. ET/PT. Tune in this weekend, but before you do, here are 10 things that you need to know before the show:
- He’s performed at venues of all sizes, all around the world, but now Sir Elton John will perform two songs in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park. Sir Elton will perform “Circle of Life” from Disney’s The Lion King and he’ll also debut a brand-new song, “Wonderful Crazy Night,” from his upcoming album—making the night even more wonderful and crazy.
- Main Street, U.S.A will become the “Happiest Ballroom on Earth” when Derek Hough (reigning champion of Dancing with the Stars)—along with past “DWTS” champion Witney Carson—leads a troupe of dancers down the iconic street. Anyone who has watched either of the ABC dance series’ Disney-themed nights knows that when Dancing with the Stars and Disney come together, the result is always magical.
- If you’re not on Main Street, U.S.A., but a main street near you, the Disney Applause app makes it possible for you to participate in the show from the comfort of your own home. The app uses Walt Disney Imagineering’s Made with Magic technology to deliver a second screen, interactive experience that syncs directly to the musical segments and brings colorful light shows and original content right to your mobile phone. Disney Applause is available for iOS and for Android.
- And, as if that weren’t enough of an immersive experience for you, fans can also use the Jaunt VR app (available for iOS, Android, and GearVR) to be transported to Sleeping Beauty Castle for Sir Elton’s performance and for a special dance routine along Main Street, U.S.A.
- With actor Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf in Frozen and soon to be seen as Le Fou in the live-action Beauty and the Beast) as your tour guide, The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 goes inside two rarely seen Disneyland Park locales: Walt Disney’s private apartment and the Disneyland Dream Suite. Disney fans, of course, have long known to look at the windows of Walt’s apartment for the lamp that’s always lit in his memory, but it’s a rare treat to go inside what was once Walt’s private space.
- So we’ve been told… and some choose to believe it (like us!), that among the most anticipated musical performances is a duet between Tori Kelly, 2016 Grammy® nominee for Best New Artist, and Kermit the Frog for an acoustic rendition of “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie. The song remains a favorite for lovers, for dreamers, and for D23, so we’re definitely looking forward to this one!
- Tori Kelly isn’t the only top artist who’ll be appearing on the special. Viewers will also be treated to songs from Fall Out Boy (performing “I Wan’na Be Like You from Disney’s animated classic The Jungle Book), Little Big Town (with “Steve McQueen”), NE-YO, who’ll perform a rousing rendition of the Oscar®-nominated song from Aladdin, “Friend Like Me,” and Pentatonix—with a performance of “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast in their distinctive, inimitable style.
- The most iconic Disney song in recent years will be sung by its most iconic singer in recent years, in honor of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary. Yes, Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa) will “Let It Go” during a performance of World of Color at Disney California Adventure Park—and viewers will have the best seats in the house.
- Stars from all of the wonderful worlds of Disney will come together for the festivities. Zootopia’s Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde—Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman—are on hand, along with Bryce Dallas Howard (of the upcoming Pete’s Dragon), Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Kristen Bell (the voice of Anna in Frozen). ABC favorites who have been announced include Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, and Sarah Hyland; How to Get Away with Murder’s Emmy® winner Viola Davis; Kerry Washington from Scandal, and Jimmy Kimmel. And Neil Patrick Harris, the host of World of Color—Celebrate! (along with the voice that counts you down to blast-off on Disney California Adventure’s California Screamin’), will appear in the special as well.
- News about additional and enhanced Star Wars attractions has been a highlight of the last year for Disney Parks fans, who are still happily celebrating the Season of the Force. Disney fans leapt—and some even wept—with joy when Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that two Star Wars lands are being developed at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. And as soon as the initial excitement sunk in, fans immediately clamored for more details. They’ll get their wish Sunday night when Harrison Ford—Han Solo!—brings the galaxy far, far away to the TV screen in your living room, sharing with viewers an exclusive preview of what Disney fans will experience when these new lands open.
We know that the two-hour special will be jam-packed with additional surprises—and, of course, plenty of Disney Magic. Disneyland continues to dazzle fans at the park, and Sunday night, the Resort will be dazzling them wherever they are.