Light Magic

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Light Magic
Disneyland
Area Fantasyland and Main Street, U.S.A.
Status Closed
Soft opening date May 13, 1997
Opening date May 23, 1997
Closing date September 8, 1997
General statistics
Designer WED Enterprises
Duration 20 minutes

Light Magic was a parade/street show that ran at Disneyland from May–September 1997. Originally billed as a replacement for the venerable 24-year-old Main Street Electrical Parade, Light Magic opened to poor reviews and closed four months later. Though Disney officially stated at the time that the show would return in the year 2000, it never did.

Despite the show's short run, infrastructure improvements made specifically for Light Magic – particularly in Fantasyland – are still used today.

Synopsis[edit]

Light Magic was a "streetacular" (a portmanteau of "street" and "spectacular"), with floats moving into two performance zones, one located at the Small World Mall, the other on Main Street. Upon reaching the performance zones, the floats would stop and the pixie characters, who were the focus of the show, would awaken to perform step-dancing routines for the audience, later being joined by Disney characters and audience members. During the performance segment, a portion of each of the floats would open to reveal a screen upon which images were projected from equipment hidden in the surrounding buildings. As part of the grand finale, the fairies would use their 'magic' to throw pixie dust, Confetti Falls from the sky, the buildings light up with a shower of twinkling lights provided by fiber optics embedded in the structures.

Light Magic's music was very Celtic-influenced, and some of the songs in the show included but were not limited to:

Criticism[edit]

Annual Passholder premiere[edit]

Light Magic had a difficult role to fill as The Main Street Electrical Parade had been a favorite at Disneyland for over 20 years. Expectations and apprehensions were both high as Light Magic made its debut at a private event for Disneyland Annual Passholders. The premiere night did not go well as technical problems came up with aligning the floats with the projectors, various cues were missed, and sound equipment failed, as well as the fiber-optic lighting not yet being functional. The initial show was prefaced by then Disneyland President Paul Pressler announcing to the passholder crowd that the show was to be a dress rehearsal and not the show in its finished form.[1]

Annual Passholders are known for being both the most ardent supporters of Disneyland, while at the same time being its harshest critics. The response to the poor performance of Light Magic's debut was very negative, with long lines extending from City Hall on Main Street demanding refunds, as passholders had paid $25 each to attend the special event under the impression, based on all of the information that had been distributed, that they would be the first to see the finished product, not a test audience with which to work out the bugs. Word of mouth reports quickly spread that Light Magic was not worth seeing, even earning the nickname Light Tragic.

General public response[edit]

Light Magic played for the remainder of the summer season in 1997 with the majority of the response from the public ranging from lackluster to complete dislike. Many fans of the Main Street Electrical Parade regarded Light Magic as an unworthy replacement.

Disney announced that Light Magic would be on hiatus until the year 2000, but 2000 came and went without any indication of Light Magic returning.

Legacy[edit]

Despite the show's disastrous reception and short-lived run, much of the infrastructure built for Light Magic – especially in the Small World Mall area – is still used for Disneyland's parades today. These infrastructure improvements included:

  • Painted asphalt along the parade route was replaced with concrete to accommodate the large, heavy show platforms [2]
  • The plaza area in front of It's a Small World was widened and terraced to allow more guests a better view of the parade route, similar to the way some areas of New Orleans Square were terraced for Fantasmic!.
  • A walkway was added parallel to the parade route between Storybook Land Canal Boats and It's A Small World – landscaped to block the view of the parade route from the walkway – in order to allow guests to move in and out of the It's A Small World area during parades. This was added in response to crowded conditions for guests during the final months of the Main Street Electrical Parade's run.
  • Lighting towers constructed for Light Magic on Small World Mall and atop the Main Street, USA buildings allowed Disneyland to run the same parade in the afternoon and in the evening, rather than running separate afternoon and evening parades as was done for several years of the Main Street Electrical Parade's run (e.g., The Lion King Celebration).

Three towers constructed on Small World Mall for sound and lighting technician use in Light Magic are still standing. Two currently serve no explicit purpose, but their exterior façades are still maintained. One has been returned to service as a projection tower for Remember... Dreams Come True.

Soundtrack[edit]

Baroque Hoedown was incorporated into the finale of Light Magic.

A partial soundtrack for the show can be found on:

The Light Magic theme song "Dream Our Dream" was later used in 2002 in a show called "Minnie's Birthday Surprise" at Videopolis theater in the Disneyland Park in Paris.

Production[edit]

  • Produced by Bruce Healey
  • Engineered and Mixed by Paul Freeman
  • Announcer: Randy Crenshaw
  • Dream Our Dreams Opening Play On (Vocals by Ellis Hall)
  • Dream Our Dreams (Vocals by Richard Page)

Show facts[edit]

  • Grand opening: May 23, 1997 (Memorial Day Weekend)
    • Annual Passholder Premiere: May 13, 1997
  • Closing date: September 1, 1997 (Labor Day Weekend)
  • Show length: 20:00
  • Cost: Approximately $20,000,000
  • Fiber Optic Cable Length Used: 4500 Miles
  • Strobe Lights: 1520

References[edit]

  1. ^ Based upon first-hand report from Annual Passholder attendee.
  2. ^ "Disney describes the 55,000-pound, 80-foot (24 m)-long behemoths as 'rolling stages,'") - Source OC Register May 23, 1997

External links[edit]