This article was original published on January 17, 2003 - the day after Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular had its media premiere at Disney's California Adventure (as it was known then).  With yesterday's announcement that Aladdin would be closing in January and replaced with a Frozen show next summer, it seemed like a great day to look back.

On the evening of Thursday, January 16th the Disneyland Resort transported hundreds of invited guests to the magical world of Agrabah. Our journey began as soon as we arrived at the Timon parking lot. Large spotlights shot up into the clear night sky. A large tent was setup in the parking lot and colored lights transformed the structure from fuchsia to blue while a large image of "Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular" remained. As we approached we were greeted by the president of the Disneyland Resort Cynthia Harriss. She directed us to a carpeted pathway which lead to the Hyperion Theather. On either side of the carpet were several camels along with their handlers. Two powerful and intimidating looking palace guards stood with their spears crossed over a covered pathway. As we approached they opened the barrier and we walked along a covered pathway which was lined with various decorations including overstuffed pillows, birdcages, and hookahs.

Suddenly the mood shifted as fog filled the corridor and the unsettling chords of the Twilight Zone could be heard. Rod Serling style narration and numerous billboards told the story of an ill-fated hotel. Lightning bursts illuminated the attraction currently under construction which was visible as this part of the pathway was covered in a transparent material.

Once again we were transported back to Agrabah by the sight of numerous palace guards. They were all standing at perfect attention holding their tall spears with eyes locked straight ahead. The carpeted path took us straight to the queue for the Hyperion for our check-in to receive our tickets for the evening performance.

The front of the Hyperion Theater was brightly lit as numerous camera crews set up for shots from the premiere of Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. A pair of musicians played Disney tunes with an Arabic flair. As we entered the theater we recognized numerous Disney celebrities and executives including Art Linkletter who hosted Disneyland's opening day ceremonies, Imagineering Senior Executive Marty Sklar, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Jay Rasulo and others. We noticed Cynthia was making her way around the Theater chatting with the various guests, especially those with children.

For tonight's performance each guest received a full color show program which listed the various actors and their roles as well as offering quotes from those involved in the project's development including Anne Hamburger, Francesca Zambello and Lynne Taylor Corbitt. The program was sealed with a dated vellum. Once inside the theater each group of guests was escorted by a cast member to their seats as they attempted to fill each seat in orderly fashion.

The musicians who had been entertaining us just outside the Hyperion entrance were now inside playing tunes that included Heigh Ho and Prince Ali. As curtain time drew near they departed and the usual medley of tunes from the show filled the theater.


Doobie Moseley
Doobie is the co-owner of having founded the website with his wife Rebekah is 1999. He became a "hardcore" Disney fan in 1995. His favorite Disney film is Snow White and his all-time favorite attraction is the PeopleMover. Having lived near both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, he's visited them literally thousands of times.