For years I have not been so happy experiencing a new attraction at Walt Disney World. I mean I’m more excited (Happy Forever) and more horrified (Rise of the Resistance), but it took a quick star show to fly through the seat of my pants to make me feel some good happy old-fashioned.
Kite Tails is a 10-minute performance that takes place six times a day (weather permitting) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lagoon.
The first half of the program is loosely based on Finding Nemo. This section takes place on the lower levels of the amphitheater seats, with puppeteers (kiteteers?) Moving colored stars in strokes and bobs before and sometimes above the audience. The stars are charming and are happily hoisted by performers.
My favorite aspect of Nemo’s bit is when the performers take bouquets of turtle stars and offer them to the children in the audience, allowing them to be a brief part of the show. Something about the taste for music and the riot of color made most kids comfortable enough to jump in to participate alone. Little parental budding was needed.
The second half of the show is guys with jet skis riding in circles with themed stars. These stars have shape and volume. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t entirely gigantic, but if you imagine you’ll be in the minor league version of this ballpark.
I’ve seen two different versions of the show, one with music and characters from the jungle book and one with music and characters from the lion king. They both wear the same kind of props and acting style and they will both make you smile. It doesn’t matter much what you see, but if you have a particular preference for one set of songs over the other, you can ask cast members for the attraction that will happen during each performance track.
What happens with these stars is that there is no air of importance; there are no interludes of dark villains; the music is not organized in a minor key; and no serious message about conservation or world peace. It’s no special after school: it’s a giant floppy bear dragged through the air by a man with a small motorcycle tied to the water. It’s cheerful and ridiculous (with lowercase g).
Adding to the energy is the real possibility that something is going wrong. Star in the water! Comet on a tree! The crowd wants the stars to fly very high, but if they hit their head on the lake, then it’s great too. This sense of “maybe we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen” is something that is sorely lacking in Disney entertainment, which is usually practiced and polished with invariable precision.
Without a touch of irony, I profess my love.
KiteTails is silly, messy and healthy. And I want it to stay.
Would you like to see this show? Let us know in the comments.