Disney's branded the effort "Summer Nightastic" and last night previewed the shows to invited reporters, a slew of guests and a horde of people who know someone who works at some media outlet.
Ultimately, ticket deals, such as the current three-day park-hopper for $99, promise to do more to boost attendance to the park Theme Park Insider readers ranked the world's best last summer. But fresh attention to classics such as the original Fantasmic should encourage most theme park fans, and would be a welcomed addition to Disneyland's line-up.
So to that, let's score Disneyland at two out of three. A movie-driven soundtrack and the soaring vocals of former Disneyland cast member (and Broadway star) Eden Espinosa elevate Magical among Disney's best efforts in fireworks shows.
And a fresh recording of the Baroque Hoedown, along with a new Tinkerbell float, the return of the Snow White and Pinocchio units, and enhanced lighting effects, breathe life into Disney's
Main Street Electrical Parade.
But Disney struck out on Fantasmic, as on-going technical problems with a new version of the Maleficent dragon robbed Disneyland's premier live show of its fire-breathing climax.
I spoke with Doug McIntyre, Disneyland's Director Development and Production, at the end of the evening and he rejected claims that the new dragon unit had suffered extensive physical damage during testing for Fantasmic.
"We've had a tough couple of weeks, to be honest with you," McIntyre said. "We were about seven weeks behind in the build process, got to test and adjust process and had an issue." Despite repeated questioning, McIntyre would not say what the issue was, except to dispute rumors that the unit's head had fallen off or that it had broken into pieces.
"It's 45 feet tall, wingspan of 32 feet, has 18 different animation axes of motion in it and takes five computers to run it," McIntyre said. "It's a beast."
McIntyre said that the dragon failed during its programming, and producers will need to finish programming it once repairs are complete. [Reading between the lines of McIntyre's comments about the development timeline for the dragon, we're looking at weeks, not days, until it is ready to debut.] Based upon initial movement in early programming though, McIntyre remains optimistic that Maleficent will wow audiences when it is ready.
"It's the most stunning, fully realized staged Disney character that I've ever seen done."
Disneyland also debuted its "new" Tomorrowland Terrace concept, TLT Dance Club, with a concert by Disney Channel B-lister Mitchel Musso. Personally, I love seeing live bands return to the Tomorrowland Terrace stage, and hope that Disney will be more aggressive about booking acts that will elicit the fan reaction that Musso did last night.
Disney's got a huge stable of acts, and there's, um, "No Doubt" that Orange County's produced some top bands as well. (Forgive me.) I'd love to see the next generation at Disneyland, on their way up.
Nightastic starts tonight and runs through August 23, a relatively short run for Disney's summer season. But McIntyre hinted strongly that Magical would return next summer (and that Disney might have a new fireworks show for Halloween), so that won't be the last we see of this trio of shows.
Now, if only Maleficent would find her inner dragon and show up.Tweet
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