08-08-2022  11:57 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Dwight Brown NNPA News Wire Film Critic
Published: 14 June 2022

Disneyland is on its game and Celebrate Soulfully is the OG amusement park’s new tribute to Black culture. It’s a welcoming series of events designed to highlight African diaspora heritage on multiple levels. Come to Disneyland for the immersion into all things African, stay for the fun and rides. You’ll treasure both experiences forever.

Black Music Month Reigns June 1st to July 4th

black music month med

Stroll through Adventure Park, stop at Carthay Circle and hear soulful music dating back to the roaring twenties and up to modern times. Sundown at the Hollywood Backlot, live groups perform on stage: Midnight Hour’s Motown, Urban Music Society’s R&B and funk delights.

Then visit the Downtown Disney District and pull up a chair at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, where jazz pianists tickle the ebony and ivory keys. Soul music is the heartbeat at Downtown Disney LIVE! Stage, as sung by Singers of Soul, Denean’s Soul Foundation and The Rhythm & Blues Brothas. Saturdays and Sundays DJs spin as Disneyland guests can dance in the streets.

 “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” touring exhibit embraces our country’s most traditional music form and the Joe Gardner character from the film Soul.

Tale of the Lion King – Familiar Story. New Show!

disneyland tale of the lion king by dwight brown

The Lion King saga returns to the stage as a condensed but emotionally powerful 25-minute mini-musical. Performances are featured at the Fantasyland Theater, an open-air but roofed amphitheater.

This adaptation features new direction (Paul Bryant), choreography (brothers Kevin and Marcel Williams), sets, costume designs and those classic songs: e.g., “Circle of Life.” The Storytellers of the Pride Lands, a traveling troupe, re-enact the Swahili tale: Simba the lion prince must weather life lessons before becoming a king. The talented cast’s singing and dancing will awe the whole family.

Dine on Soul Food, African Cuisine, BBQ and more!

disneyland chef natalie photo by dwight brown

Chef Natalie has created a special Afrocentric menu in concert with the new Lion King show. Stop over at the Troubadour Tavern at Disneyland Park, and you’ll taste her fresh, natural and flavorful cuisine. Try the chicken-coconut curry sweet potato, snack on the berbere-spiced popcorn and drink the tasty cardamom cold brew.

Soul food abounds at Adventure Park (Foot-long BBQ pulled pork dog to cream funnel cake fries). Visit the Black-owned food trucks that assemble at the Downtown Disney District.

Cozy up to the Creole cuisine at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and feast on the New Orleans stye Beignets, Gumbo Ya-Ya and NOLA BBQ Shrimp & Grits.

Spectacular World of Color Shows are Big and Bold!

 disneyland world of color photo by dwight brown

Bring on the night. When the sun goes down Disney’s magnificent "World of Color" shows set the night on fire at the Paradise Garden Park. Jets propel water spouts up from a grand fountain spraying 19,000-square-feet of H2O. Colorful lasers pierce the waters displaying a kaleidoscope of images of Disney and Pixar characters. 

View Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. Black Panther characters. Mickey, Minnie. The Avengers and Star Wars icons. It’s all topped off by a dazzling array of pyrotechnical feats, which augment the spectrum of brilliant colors. It’s an OMG display that defies imagination.  

Hop Aboard the Stars Wars Juggernaut and Hold on!

disneyland star wars galaxy s edge by dwight brown

Step into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland Park, walk around the evocative Tatooine dessert/moon terrain and you’re pulled into an astonishing netherworld. If you run into Chewbaca, word is he likes to do selfies! 

Hop onboard the “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” ride and you’ll be strapped into a bumper car, pulled, pushed and spun around in a truly immersive universe. Encounter spaceship locations, galaxies and villains. Count on SW heroes like actor John Boyega, as Finn in from Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Force Awakens, to give you guidance via video screens.  

Pilot a soaring simulated spacecraft onboard the “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run” ride. Pick your spot in the crew: pilot, gunner or engineer. Fly over landscapes, mountains and into space at warp speed as you fight the bad guys.

Avengers Campus and Wakanda Forever

disneyland wakanda forever photo by dwight brown

Disney’s new school heroes now have a home at the Avengers Campus, in the Disney California Adventure Park. “Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure” lets you go after the web guy’s enemies. “Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!” places you on a mission to rescue the Guardians from the Collector’s Fortress.

For real combat training, try the “Wakanda: The Disciplines of the Dora Milaje” attraction and experience. The royal guards show you how to protect Black Panther’s beloved Wakanda.

Shop at Inspirational Black Businesses like Post 21

disneyland post 21 photo by dwight brown

The mother-daughter duo of Juana Williams and Blair Paysinger run the Black-owned business Post 21 and are mainstays in the Downtown Disney District. They timed the opening of their business to commemorate the June 1, 1921 destruction of Black Wall Street during the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Stop by. Say hello and buy some of their beautiful jewelry, limited-edition t-shirts, inspiring kid/adult books and scented candles. This gift shop makes buying and giving a loving endeavor.

Explore Disneyland End to End and Back Again!

disneyland photo by dwight brown

Families, friends, young and old, every ethnic group under the sun, LBGQT+ folks and of course Disney characters roam the grounds in a very friendly, always-smiling atmosphere that you will find welcoming. Go for a ride!

Little kids love the “It’s a Small World” mini-boat excursion.” The “Jungle Cruise” is often led by a very funny captain. The “Mad Tea Party” spins you around in a cup. “Soarin' Around the World” lets you hang-glide. While “The Incredicoaster” includes a mad dash to catch Jack-Jack. 

Disneyland is a paradise, and now the Celebrate Soulfully experience gives more people more reasons to come to this iconic utopia.

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