June 2010 – September 2010
As California Adventure prepared to launch the World of Color show, Disney anticipated major crowding in the park, especially in Paradise Pier. Disney wanted to design an attraction that would keep guests in the front of the park until the show, thus balancing crowd levels throughout California Adventure.
Glow Fest became an outdoor nightclub, with live music, specialty drinks, and tons of neon. The show was an instant success, scoring as high as World of Color on guest polls. Guests loved the party atmosphere, and the show was the perfect warm-up act for the World of Color spectacular.
This nighttime event actually started at sunset, with live entertainers performing in Sunshine Plaza. The drink carts and merchandise carts sold exclusive cups, glow sticks, and everything neon.
After dark, the party shifted mainly into Hollywood Land (then called the Hollywood Pictures Backlot). The street completely lit up, with groovy VWs lining the sidewalks. The back wall became an interactive screen, projecting dancing guests as neon outlines. A series of floats paraded down the street, each with a different set of dancers or acrobatic performers. Throughout the night, guests were encouraged to dance, sing, and join in the fun, and the party ran until park closing.
Despite its massive popularity, Glow Fest only ran for the summer, closing in September 2010. And though it was so popular, the show didn’t really have much of a theme, and many guests complained that it was too adult-oriented for a Disney park. When Glow Fest closed, Disney designed a new nighttime show based on the Tron franchise, which included a sneak preview of the film. ElecTRONica opened just one month later, and the new nighttime show continued California Adventure’s nighttime party atmosphere.
Glow Fest was not a Disney creation; the park hired Kreate, Inc. to design the event.
The most famous set of performers at Glow Fest was the Bollywood Step Dance troupe, which performed in Sunshine Plaza before dark.
The neon banners stayed up in both lands throughout the day, completely covering most of the facades and really hindering the forced perspective in Hollywood Land.