LuminAria premiered at Disney’s California Adventure on November 9, 2001. It was the new park’s first Christmas.


Read the full YESTERLAND article HERE: LuminAria.


When you are done reading, please leave your comments below.

  • eicarr

    Man, what a cool article! I’ve never seen photos of that.

    Yesterdayland for DCA is a collection of nightmarish bad memories. The DCA photos gave me chills remembering how bad the park used to be. I NEVER would have imagined seeing anything 1/10 as good as Xmas in Cars Land and World of Color in DCA.

  • Matterhorn

    Someone should do an article on the ebb and flow of fireworks at Disneyland & Calif. Adventure. Disneyland gets a fine every night from the AQMD for their fireworks and the pollution/smoke they create. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons “World of Color” is so much about the water: no hazardous air issues there. My guess is that the low level fireworks for California Adventure were due to noise complaints from the neighbors as well as a compromise with the AQMD, since the soot and smoke would theoretically not spread as far.
    I was a Disney employee at the time of the launch of California Adventure (for the Online group). What a lot of spin we got from corporate about how fantastic the park was going to be… and then how guests, etc. didn’t understand the concept and we needed to go to the park to help promote it…

  • Luminaria was interesting. I really wanted to like it, and did like parts of it very much. However, those big ugly boxes in the lagoon were an eyesore and the middle of the show was a long and boring montage of doodles and images. Epcot’s Illuminations gets away with a boring middle because of the globe technology and occasional fireworks. You could tell that Illuminations was the template for Luminaria. In the end, waves of putrid smoke would envelope the audience, choking the crowd and preventing you from being able to see the rest of the show. Audiences left grumbling the same sort of things they did after Light Magic “What the heck was that!”.

    It’s neat that you quote Sue Kruse’s article here, I was actually with her (and Al) the opening night of Luminaria. I still vividly remember being the one in the group who liked it most. I thought there was a lot of creativity in the show, and there was. But it just couldn’t overcome the lackluster music, strange pacing and smoke.

  • Country Bear

    I’m kind of sad that i didn’t have an opportunity to see this live. It looks like it had “potential” that was probably not backed up with budget or infrastructure. It must have been a losing battle to be on the development teams of this show (and DCA in general) during that painful time in Disney history. The corporate approach at that point seemed to be “all sizzle, no steak”. I feel sorry for the creative folks that endured that management era. Thanks goodness we have moved forward and away from that nonsense.
    Although very mellow, I really enjoy hearing the music from this show. Obviously the show that followed years later was worth the wait.

    Thanks for all of your great articles Werner. I really appreciate your perspective and subject matters.

  • SpectroMan

    I didn’t hate it, but as Dusty says the pacing was completely off and it never “built” to anything.

    However, the one lasting legacy of the show that I’m grateful for is the awesome “Shine” song which they repurposed for Wintertime Enchantment. Gives me chills/tears every time.

  • buzzyfan

    I just realized the abbreviation/initials for LuminAria was L.A., whether this was intentional or not, I do not know[as of now].