Disney legend, Bob Gurr, knows how to tell a story. And today, he has spun the Wheel of Years and landed on a topic which is . . . well. . . a part of history that Disney would probably like to forget. We’ll let Bob illuminate us.

Today’s Wheel of Years has stopped at 1997, so here we go. Everyone remembers the now Classic Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade. Since the early 1970s this wonderful creation has traveled to several Disney Parks and has also inspired similar parade designs in a number of theme parks world wide, some of which are Disney competitors. So how do you top a Classic? Create something even more advanced, since designers have years of operating experience, and the creative equipment and tools have become far more advanced over the years. WRONG!

Sometimes the future appears, but is dead on arrival. The infamous Disneyland Light Magic is just such an example. It came and went so fast, thankfully only a few regular Disneyland guests ever experienced this disaster as it faded quickly into Rocket Rod heaven. The internet has very few images of it’s short life. I worked on it as an outside consultant – ya wanna hear the tale?

My experience over the years as I participated in hundreds of all kinds of projects is that in a simple sense, the most successful ones have a common characteristic – a Champion. By that I mean a person who leads by passion from start to finish. A person who literally “owns” the concept and guides everyone in the practical course to achieve the goal, one who sometimes is the creative person or the administrative leader who takes the creative idea all the way to fruition. But there are an awful lot of projects throughout history that are “committee champion-less”. Light Tragic Parade is one of these.

Fortunately the names of people and organizations involved shall remain nameless in order to protect the guilty. I was contracted at the start of the project by a famed engineering organization hired by the Parade group to develop a concept design for a parade float chassis based on a wordy specification. The Parade folks were a collection of various artists, writers, choreographers, show consultants, and theatrical dudes. My impression at the time was that, here we go again – the Committee!

Since the job had a rigid budget, every time something got expensive in design, items were cut. As an example the Parade was originally intended to have quite a few floats that would be scattered along the parade route in show-stop fashion giving almost everyone a chance to see the show. But over the course of my involvement in float chassis development from December 11, 1995 thru April 11, 1996, the number of floats was drastically reduced. This meant that only the guests that were at the widely spaced show stops would see the whole act – not good!

There are two ways to do a concept; by tedious specification writing, followed by conceptual documents which lead to a low bidder to actually design and build it. Or decide to actually do it by designing the production elements using real parts and materials, not hypothetical stuff just to flesh out words into a visual document for a low bidder war. You see what happens – a lot of man hours and time are burned just to get a pile of what’s called bid documents. Had the job been conceived as a committed real job, every man hour would have yielded an actual real collection of production materials. That’s the way Walt Disney taught us!

An example of what I’m ragging about: When I was asked to size a tire and wheel along with some axle components, I was told to “just make them up to fit our words”. Outrageous! One should always source actual parts that exist and can be bought and used in production. Nope, that’s the way of specification writing and bidding. “Don’t worry Bob, the low bidder will go find the real stuff after we give them the contract”. “Good gosh Gurr, finish your drawings and just take the money”.

During the course of the project I attended many meetings at the Disneyland Parade offices, becoming ever more dismayed at the constant revisions to the designs and operational constraints. I remember noting at the time how happy I would be when my part came to an end. It has remained an indelible lesson in what can go wrong when otherwise bright and qualified folks get swept up into a concept than had an unclear idea then descended into an endless stream of changes which lost any clear focus. The short life of Light Tragic was proof of failure supplied by Disneyland’s summer ’97 guests.

While the Parade project started in the fall of 1995, the Parade did not go into service until May 23, 1997. It lasted only few months, ending on September 1, 1997. I watched the TV preview show contracted to a non-Disney low bid TV channel. The show was a combination live presentation edited with pre-recorded clips of the Parade designers proudly showing off their talents and predictions as to how wonderful this latest attraction will be. I vividly remember a little kid when asked what he was about to see, replied “probably not much of nuthin”. Years of effort summed up by a prescient child. You can watch the results for yourself in this video:

And that’s Light Tragic from my side of the story. Surely some of you bright folks saw this parade as well. Would love to hear your comments.

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Bob Gurr is a true Disney legend who was hired on to design the Autopia for Disneyland. Over nearly four decades, Bob would become famous for developing the Monorails, Submarines, Flying Saucers, antique cars and double-decker buses of Main Street, Ford Motor Company’s Magic Skyway (at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair), Omnimover ride system, Matterhorn and lots more. It has been said that if it moves, Bob probably played a part.

Upon leaving Imagineering in 1981, Bob worked on a number of “leisure-time spectaculars” and “fantastical beasts” for parks and developments all over the world. Most notably, he created King Kong and Conan’s Serpent for Universal Studios Hollywood, A UFO for the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and the memorable T-Rex figure featured in Steven Spielberg’s motion picture “Jurassic Park.”

You can find Bob’s column, Design: Those Were The Times, right here on MiceChat. Though don’t pin Bob down to a schedule, he’s busy being “retired.”

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    It’s amazing to think of these concepts that made it past the drawing board and into the Parks, despite how mismanged their productions were.

    Glad to know a little more history about Light Magic, as tragic as it was!

    • Gene Sands

      Those who designed it and put it together apparently didn’t understand why Walt was always so concerned about having a good story to support whatever enterprise he was undertaking/

  • KingEric

    WOW Bob! I love hearing the inside story, and knowing it isn’t far off from what fans thought this whole time

  • KyleDixonDesigns

    Wow, Mr. Gurr! Thank you so much for the insider stories of all your experiences. I love reading them!

    So wait…two years of development and the “parade” was just that one float and some skimpy fiber optics? And that was supposed to trump the Main Street Electrical Parade? Or…is there more that just didn’t make it on to the video?

    • That’s it. There was more than one float, but they were all the same. They were essentially just stages. The show was horrible. Pixies doing Riverdance with a tiny bit of new Tinker Bell animation. And the original pixie masks scared the kids so much, they had to give up on them.

  • Kevin Yee

    The wisdom of urging Champions to think in terms of real sourced parts and sustainable maintenance cannot be overstated. I would hope that a wise Champion knows to involve a vertically-assembled team early on–not just dreamers, but also the builders, the maintenance staff, the front line workers, etc… and hears objections and ideas while the clay is still wet.

  • cmerino

    i just want you to know: my kids were 12, 10 and 8. they loved the show. we saw it every time we went, which was almost every evening that Summer. My kids knew where to find what they thought was their best view and what time to pause their fun to watch the parade. thanks for your effforts.

    • If only all audience members were as easy to please, the show wouldn’t have bombed so spectacularly. It was such a huge disappointment that Guest Relations was overrun with complaints nightly, the show was the butt of jokes throughout the theme park industry and had to be closed at huge expense after just one summer. OUCH!

      And it all started with Paul Pressler hosting a passholder event and essentially announcing that the show wasn’t ready for prime time. But they never really fixed anything.

      My friends and I would go every weekend, just so we could watch the stunned responses of many guests . . . “They had Electrical Parade glow away forever for this?!”

  • rstar

    I attended the Annual Passholder Preview of the parade, which was a ticketed event. I remember after it was over, my wife and I just looked at each other with “What the heck was THAT???” then we noticed a long line of people a city hall demanding their money back. The story that the City Hall CMs were giving them was that it was only a “dress rehersal” and still had to work the bugs out. Ok, so you are going to CHARGE people to watch a dress rehersal of a show not worthy to be seen yet? Good plan….

    I also remember hearing about a earlier preview for media and family with the early “flair like” version of Tinker Bell. It was a pyrotechnic on a wire attachet to the parade float. It broke loose, shot around on the ground and headed right at the crowd. Security was chasing it down like a greased pig at the county fair to stop it before it hurt someone. It then it got stuck in a track on Main Street and they stomped on it to put it out while the children screamed with horror on their face “No! Don’t kill Tinker Bell!!” The device never returned. At least that’s what I heard…..

  • Wreckless Abrandon

    It’s disappointing when great ideas get stomped into the ground by laziness of management. Yes, it’s great to take chances, but when the original idea is ruined by “just make up something to fit” and that kind of mentality? Ruins the point of taking chances.

  • Second Star

    Light Magic was running during our first trip with our daughters, 5 & 7, and it was my wife and my first visit back in many years, so we might be consider noobs, but… It may have been because a CM who recommended an area and time to watch the parade, but my girls enjoyed the show. I too, enjoyed it, but, that may have had more to do with the music and my Celtic background.

    Hearing Bob’s recount of its development, and the reference to Rocket Rods reminds me of the story I heard Tony tell of the development of that ride. I think the problem can be traced directly to the top and Michael Eisner’s being a cheap SOB. We all witness that again a couple years later across the esplanade at the Disneyfied carnival. Oh well, life goes on…

  • DubiousEndeavors

    I am one of the few fans of the show. I was 13 the summer it premiered and we watched it 3-4 times. I liked the music arrangements (still do as I listen to the soundtrack at work), the character’s costumes (seeing them in their pj’s was fun). But one of the missteps conceptually was that it automatically dated itself with the Riverdance business. It was big at the time, but I think most people knew it wasn’t going to last forever. It isn’t timeless like the successful Disney Park shows.

    I think this show REALLY could have been something great if there was more care than corporate put into it.

    I always chuckle a little when people get mad when they are told a preview is a dress rehearsal, because that is EXACTLY WHAT IT IS! The show isn’t set until it officially opens, and even then there can be changes. Should I be angry that I sat through YEARS of Fantasmic performances where the dragon was a head on a stick and now they have Murphy?

    Thank goodness those people weren’t invited to a WORKSHOP performance!

    • If it were sold as a dress rehearsal, that would be one thing, but it wasn’t. It was only when Paul Pressler called it a “Dress Rehearsal” on opening night that we realized something was wrong. And they didn’t really fix anything after that “Dress Rehearsal” either. It was just as bad the next weekend, and the weekend after that . . . right up until it closed.

  • eicarr

    Thanks for sharing. I love disaster stories. I remember that Riverdance fad it ripped off started to die just as it opened.

  • chynadoll035

    I don’t remember this!

  • DuckyDelite

    What the what? If they were doing a stage show, why not just create a fixed stage show somewhere? I feel sorry for the audience that camped out on main street and couldn’t see anything for 20 minutes.

    I remember seeing ads for this and really wanted to go, but it closed before I had a chance to see it. It does look like there were some interesting concepts with the lighting on the buildings and stage, but how was this a parade?

  • justjohn

    Man, those fairy masks were truly horrifying. Thanks for the story Bob!

  • Big D

    I worked at the popcorn wagons in Towne Square and the hub most nights during Light Magic, so I probably saw it 50 times or so. The stages themselves were actually quite impressive, but they show they designed for the stages was atrocious. First, no one understood the rolling stage concept. People expected a parade. I remember vividly people trying to line up in front of Tomorrowland or the Matterhorn and not understanding why they were being told they wouldn’t see anything at all from those locations. I also remember them parking Light Magic in between the Matterhorn and the Fantasyland bathrooms for like 15 minutes or so between the showing in Fantasyland and the showing in Main Street. They turned out all of the lights in that area so it was completely dark, I guess so that you couldn’t see the pixies hanging out in between shows. I never understood why they did that. I also remember that the pixies were supposed to get all of the kids that were in the crowd to come out and dance with them and be a part of the show, but the kids were too scared of the pixies and wouldn’t do it. Towards the end they did eventually get rid of the masks, and that helped, but it was too late. Also, the story was not clear at all as to what was supposed to be going on. I sort of got that this was supposed to be like Mickey Mouse’s dream or something, but it must have been a messed up dream. Maybe Mickey had some bad hot dogs from Pluto’s Dog House or something. But the most memorable part of Light Magic was the parade of custodial workers and their vacuum cleaners that came out afterwords to vacuum up the confetti. Guest control struggled every night to keep people off of Main Street after the parade / show was over so that the custodians could vacuum up the confetti and not run over anyone. And man, where those vacuums loud! To their credit through, they were pretty fast and usually they got in, vacuumed up the confetti, and got out in just a few minutes.

  • Disneykin Kid

    Yeah, it sounds like Light Magic started out as a high concept by theatrical people who were trying to ‘improve’ Disney. I remember the scary pixie masks, whoever came up with them probably thought they were ‘artsy’.

    Concept first, then throwing it to the low bidders sounds like a recipe for disaster. I applaud Blue Sky concepts, but they should be followed closely with reality (In this case real sourced parts). And I was never a fan of the show stops, maybe with the Lion King parade it was good, but I prefer a regular parade.

  • Baloo

    nice article, i remember the preview and did find the whole show odd but the float was cool to watch.

    I remember hearing about two other show/parade concepts that never made it off the idea phase that sounded quite interesting and which they could have happened.

    One of them involved large size Dinosaurs rolling through main street and another one supposedly themed to aliens I can’t remember what promotion that one was going to be linked to but if i remember correctly it involved a projection or object in the sky to look like a space ship that would land in tomorrowland eventually making innoventions look like it was a space ship. then Aliens would come out from backstage.

  • Joan Finder

    I find it interesting that the comments above from families who liked the parade were first time visitors with children. Our family also loved this parade. My husband and I had visited Disneyland a few times prior, but it was a first visit for our 5 year old daughter. She still remembers that she danced with pixies and the Genie poured pixie dust in her hands. When we learned the parade had been cancelled, she proclaimed when she grew up she would be the President of Disney just so she could bring it back. She is still working towards that goal and hopes to begin her Disney career with the college internship next year, so who knows…a tweaked and improved version of Light Magic may still live someday if she gets her way.

    Although I am interested in the production problems described in the article, I think the first sentence: “Sometimes the future appears, but is dead on arrival.” also hints at another problem. Disneyland audiences, particularly the strong vocal volume of annual passholders who carry so much more influence in California than in Florida, were not ready for Light Magic. First of all, it replaced the much beloved Electrical Parade. Following that act would have doomed almost any parade. It left impossibly big shoes to fill. In fact, the roar of the audience at the nod to the Baroque Hoedown in the musical score proved their hearts were still longing for the recently departed. I also recall complaints about the air cannons “littering” the trees and streets with confetti, although this feature has since become quite common in Disney shows and parades. But the element which seemed to most upset the crowd: the fact that the parade stopped for staged performances, has actually been implemented in many of the successive parades, including the parade for the 50th anniversary celebration. If Light Magic had been a few generations down the line, rather than immediately following the end of MSEP, or perhaps even if it had premiered in Walt Disney World, I believe that it would have been accepted, if not beloved. Hence, the complaints mostly from the “regulars”, while those of uswith open minds to whom Disneyland was a fresh experience, –and children who didn’t know the difference–found much delight in Light Magic.

    I love the music from this parade, and believe with some work the parade could have been salvaged. I am saddened mostly that this parade has become legend as an epic failure. Even those who never saw it will go on record aout the embarrassing “tragedy” for Disney, which means that–unlike the California Adventure disaster– it will never be fixed and given another chance. Unless, of course, my daughter’s wishes upon a star come true…and she rises to the Presidency of Disney! We can dream our dreams forever…

  • danyoung

    I was lucky enough to see Light Magic a couple of times that summer, and I have to say that I enjoyed it for what it was. From reading about it, I knew to get a viewing spot where the parade was going to stop – in my case, in front of small world. On the first showing I saw, which was probably in the first week of its run, the float stopped about 2 feet off its mark, making the projection from a nearby light tower about 2 feet out of frame. Odd, but overall I thought the show was pretty good. And I really enjoyed the music, and listened to the track many times on CD.

    But with all that said, I understand the problems the parade had, and the HUGE shoes it had to fill by replacing the beloved MSEP. It didn’t much surprise me to see it glow away at the end of the summer. Still, I would have enjoyed it if the parade was given an off season to fix some of the problems and then come back for a 2nd summer.

    • It could have been fixed only by building a bunch of new floats and having them all roll the whole way down the parade route like a Parade should. They could have done a short parade stop every so often to show off the Tinker Bell animation. But it was just a TERRIBLE idea for a “Parade” which isn’t really a parade and which is a stage show that you could only see in certain spots, and which scared the hell out of kids. 😉

  • Tanthus

    Ugh…Been in projects like this before. Great article, but painful to read, having experienced working on successful projects and ones like “Light Magic”.

  • Crazyunclesteve

    No need to bash the show, pretty much everyone knows it didn’t fly. I attended the A/P preview night. I stood there thinking “what has River-dance got to do with Disney?”. Yeah, I was disappointed but ya gotta remember, YOU’RE STILL IN DISNEYLAND! Just how disappointed can you get in the Happiest Place on Earth?

  • JiminyCricketFan

    What a great article! So much that should be learned from the experience. Light Magic really damaged the Disney image. So much hype was caused by telling the public that the Electrical parade was going away. So much expectation was created by Disney because Disney had always toped itself, rides became better and parades better.


    1) Just because there is something new does not make it better.

    2) A commette has never created any great work of art. The Mona Lisa was not created by a committee, nor was Beethoven’s fifth, nor was Disneyland.

    3) Skimping on the budget ends up wasting a great deal of money. Quality will win out and last longer in the end, example Pirates.

  • techskip

    Not only do I remember this show. I remember the preview party. I remember the line for City Hall. And I remember Pressler using the lame excuse that “every show has bugs” when it broke and didn’t make it down Main Street.

    It was the longest line I’ve ever seen in front of City Hall…

    “tonight… in the parking lot… Brake Light Magic… 40,000 cars, 2 exits, lots of flashing lights, lots of colorful language. Play your own music, drive your own floats, HOURS of entertainment for the whole family”

  • RodeToad

    Very entertaining (I’m still laughing at “rocket rod heaven”!) and informative. Thank you for sharing.

  • Bruce Bergman

    Bob, I was there for the Passholder Premiere – Umm…, “the First Dress Rehearsal of what we hope will be…” (I have that track full of wiggle-words saved here somewhere.) And I was there at the end, when to be totally fair it was actually a nice show. Not up to the usual Disney Standards, but if they’d have brought out in May what they had cleaned it up to by September, and buffed it some more, it would have survived. At least a few years.

    Still would have required some effort to fix it up into something that met the lofty standards of MSEP – topping that act is a tough task, but you never know. 16 years later and now that we have the individually addressable RGB LED’s and enough computer power to literally cloak a Doodlebug in a full-motion video screen, I think it’s long overdue. 😉 Let’s Do It!

    But even though it really wasn’t ready for Prime Time, they were locked into a timetable for the Vons, KLOS (IIRC) and Passholder events and the Public Premiere date. And nobody had the ‘intestinal fortitude’ to pull the plug or push back the dates.

    As to the Premier Night – Al had a good spot saved at Small World Mall, and I was assigned to drag Tony Baxter over to it, too. Bruce Gordon and David Mumford (and a few others from Imagineering I didn’t know names) tagged along. Turns out this was their first time seeing it too.

    They start, loop, stop the music… A minute of silence… Restart the intro track, and the stages s-l-o-w-l-y start out the gates, music loops twice more as they are jockeying into position. Then finally they get underway – and you can see they had wonderful Fiber-Optics on the floats. Dim or bright Blue only – turns out they never finished it, they just bunched all the fibers into one chunk and stuck one blue light there to get them on. The fibers wouldn’t be sorted out and programmed till halfway through the summer.

    The costumes weren’t too bad, but the masks on the Pixies looked like something from the year-round Halloween Store off the freeway… The choreography smacked of a kindergarten play. The people who ‘spoke’ ASL panned it, the Cast was trying to Sign the lyrics and didn’t get it – they were mumbling in ASL.

    And as I watched the train wreck unfolding in slow motion…. I turned to look at the Imagineeers, and their expressions matched our own. Deer in the Headlights. ({Slim Pickens:} “What in the Wide Wide World of Sports were they thinking?“)

    From what I’m told, it went the same way when they went down and did the Main Street run too. Not an auspicious beginning.

  • MainSt1993

    The first time I saw this was at one of the Cast Member previews. The first thing that crossed my mind was that there were these great big floats flying down Main Street in the dark. Somebody’s going to get hurt! Apparently missing from the committee was anyone from Operations.

    Then we get this half-hearted Riverdance, presented by Pixies (before any effort to make Pixies popular), and the taps from their shoes were piped, not live. And the characters are in their pajamas? Have we overstayed our welcome? Then came nap time for the performers, where crummy screens rose and terrible projections showed a montage of recent Disney films, but it wasn’t really the films. Oh, but then the UNICEF children – now it all makes sense!!

    Next comes a playful percussion section. Like the tap dancers, the drummers can’t play either. Really Disney? Then they taunt us with Baroque Hoedown. RUDE. Then it all goes away. The only change I saw was the change from mylar confetti to paper confetti.

    But I digress…at least we got the Light Magic Memorial Promenade by IASM!

  • Ravjay12

    Great article Bob! I was also a cast member the summer of Light Magic. The floats themselves were truly impressive. Had they replaced the Main Street Electrical Parade with new floats using fiber optics, that would have been incredible. It would have satisfied the people who truly loved the parade and brought it up to today’s technology. The part of the show I was most impressed with were the Main Street buildings that also had the fiber optics imbedded into them. The stopping of the floats worked well for the Lion King parade so I guess they thought the night time version would be a good idea. The part I hated most of all was the mylar confetti that was shot not once, but twice each time it stopped!! Man was that stuff hard to vacuum up!! Even when they got smart and switched to paper confetti, it still was EVERYWHERE! Years past and you still found it tucked away in crevices and flower beds throughout the park. Its a shame how badly they handled the “dress rehearsal” night. I know because I was there working. It was an absolute disaster and total disregard for all the Annual Passholders who paid money to see a completely inadequate replacement for a beloved classic. Why change something when it is working so well? Why lie to everyone by telling them it would never return to Disneyland and have it show up again just across the street??

  • mikecov

    I was at the Annual Passholders preview and had just recently purchased a souvenir light bulb used on one of the Main Street Electrical Parade floats. After seeing this fiasco I went to City Hall, complained and offered to give back the light bulb so that the old parade could return.

  • disneylandfan8

    Another interesting tale told by the fascinating Mr. Gurr.

    Sadly, I never had the chance to see this parade, and from the sound of it, I didn’t miss anything. I do have a pin somewhere in my collection though.

    Thank you for illuminating us on this short-lived event. Light Tragic, indeed.

  • chesirecat

    Nice article Mr. Gurr. Though Light Magic was panned by APers, and I certainly didn’t like the generic River Dance theme, I was 100% sure that they’d use the fiber optics on Main Street Windows to enhance the Main Street Electrical Parade. It looked fantastic, in my opinion, and could have been used to plus MSEP. Have no idea why Disney never used that tech again.

    If a parade had the tech of Light Magic, and the Disney characters and as many floats as MSEP and if it didn’t stop but was a regular parade, it would be a big hit.

  • indyjones

    I remember seeing the annual passholder preview. I think it was about 1 minute into the show when we all looked at each other and said, “Wow! This is really awful.” It’s hard to believe that anyone involved couldn’t simply watch the show and see that is simply wasn’t going to work.
    What’s worse is that it happened again with the building of DCA(at least someone who understood that stepped up and fixed it) and will probably happen again.

  • Kritter

    I LOVED Light Magic. LOVED it.

  • dazyhill

    My family went to the AP Light Magic Premier too. I remember being excited for the parade and buying a bunch of souvenirs as soon as I entered the park. I don’t remember much about the parade other than thinking it was truly bizarre and awful. I suppose the inclusion of Baroque Hoedown was supposed be an homage, it felt more like an insult. At one point, the entire float went black and the music died. Oops. That was followed by a huge round of applause. My memory is usually pretty good, but I have very little memories about that night. I guess I have blocked it out of my mind, lol.
    My family was among those who requested a refund that night. This was not a cheap event and it was not like my parents were made of money. I don’t regret doing this. I didn’t get a chance to return the souvenirs. I later sold most of them (at a loss) on eBay years later.
    The best part of the night? Getting to meet Tony Baxter and look at WDI models!

  • Badger

    Thanks, Bob, for sharing your experiences with this peculiar piece of Disneyland history: it was an entertaining read.

    My wife and I are not fans of parades, and were actually glad the MSEP was being replaced (sorry fans, but we found the music annoying and repetitive, and the floats did nothing to impress us). We had adored the Lion King parade (probably the only parade anywhere we really liked), and it used the format of short stops where the performers would put on small shows. When we heard about Light Magic and that it would also stop for its performances we thought we would enjoy it too, but it was one of the worst things we ever experienced at Disneyland. I kind of liked the ugly pixie masks, but then I also think Cthulhu looks cute.

  • OrangeFlash

    You probably don’t realize it, but your story also explains why the space program is so expensive!

  • MickeysImagination

    Bob, Wonderful article.

    Committee’s (sales, marketing and MBA’s) do not mix well with the designers and engineers. When someone comes to me and says, “What is the possibility of doing this (insert item here)?” means ‘we sold this for x dollars, now make it happen in 2 weeks.’ The basic concept for Light Tragic was not bad, just too many nonessential people saying, “What is the possibility of doing this…?”


  • TodAZ1

    The thing I liked the most about Light Magic? The part at the end when they played the MSEP music. THAT gave me goose bumps!

    But that’s not a good thing for a parade to do. Make a guest yearn for your predecessor.

  • gurgi

    I wasn’t there for the AP preview, but I certainly was there during the whole summer of ’97 and saw Light Magic many times.

    On one hand, I kind of liked it. I had already separated it from MSEP because I knew whatever it was, it was not going to be like what came before. I liked the energy of the performers, and often, they would see me and my group and wave and interact with us.

    On the other hand, I could tell it had some serious issues. I’m surprised that they decided to make each rolling stage identical. It would have helped to make each one different, so it seemed more like a parade. Also, it would have been nice to actually treat it like a parade with a giant show stop. People always got so confused by these dark (quickly moving) floats. They expected to see a parade, but didn’t know that they were just going from A to B. Then, the screens, where only the ones near them could see the film…anybody in between stages was out of luck.

    The Riverdance thing was also already dated by 1997, so Disney (as usual) was behind in current trends. I thought the music was good, and energetic, but I could see how it had a short shelf life. And those pixies, boy were they creepy! I could see little kids shrinking in terror as they came out to pry them from the crowd. I know if I was little, I wouldn’t want to get near them…it would be like going off hand-in-hand with Chuckie.

    The fiber-optics were really cool, and I’m sad that they stopped using the ones embedded in the Main Street shop facades after this. I think they could really still do something spectacular with them, like incorporate them into the Christmas tree lighting show, or something else.

    The one thing I find ironic looking back on it, is that it really was ahead of it’s time in theme, because the Disney Fairies franchise owes a lot to it’s design, theme, and music. If they ever planned to have Light Magic 2.0, they could just make it all about the Disney Fairies, and it would fit the theme.

  • tinkerbell54

    I know I am in the minority, but I LOVED Light Magic, it is the only parade I made sure I saw every performance of while we were there two weeks on vacation! I had never done that with another parade before then or since then…lolol

  • train man

    although the show itself left little to be desired I do like the soundtrack has a neat sound to it.

  • DG2

    Yikes !! As they say here on Long Island , this was “ongaposh” ! Cool story Bob. Thx


    I remember this show-or call it what it REALLY was-a waste of time I was so disappointed when I saw it I remember the day after I saw it, standing in line to get into DLR a couple of men talking about it & how disappointed they were Let’s face it, after March of 1995 when they opened Indy DLR just made mistake after mistake Light Magic in 97 & all the 98 Tomorrowland remakes that just did NOT work NOT a highpoint in Disneyland history was it? NO