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Luminosity ignites the night at Cedar Point

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Published: June 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM

"Amazing!" That was the first thing my 13 year old son said when I asked him what he thought of "Luminosity", the new end-of-day show at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. I agreed, and so did several thousand guests who filled the new Celebration Plaza and shared in the driving music, energetic dancing and dazzling lighting effects of this new multimillion-dollar show that takes place nightly through August 19th.

"Luminosity, Powered by Pepsi", which is its full title, is also sometimes called "Luminosity: Ignite the Night." It should not be compared to any of the growing number of night time shows so popular at the Disney and Universal parks - Cedar Point does not have the deep vault of music and movie memories to draw from that those parks do, and it does not even mention the family-oriented Peanuts characters found throughout several areas of the park. "Luminosity" does not try to give its audience a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling, but instead surrounds it with a high-octane production loaded with excitement that leaves its thousands of viewers energized and literally dancing into the night. "Luminosity" does not try to tell a story, but carries its viewers through the general themes of land, air and water with the use of a driving score with songs from Jennifer Lopez, LMFAO, Pitbull and many other musical artists. A three-storied set with LED screens, musicians throughout the steel structure, satellite stages throughout the Plaza and hundreds of lighting instruments surrounding it help make this a spectacle that stimulates the senses and energizes the crowd.

Luminosity

A cast of 30 talented and very energetic singer-dancers performed non-stop for over 40 minutes, with numerous costume changes and a multitude of props to carry the audience through a production themed on movement over land and sea and through the sky. Aerial dancers performed on rings over two of the satellite stages in the middle of the audience, water drummers splashed to the beat, and live video feeds broadcast close-ups of the many solo singers onto large screens throughout the plaza. The finale of the show was a visual treat - lasers, fireworks, floodlights playing all over the entire park, including Power Tower (which stands directly behind the stage and was wisely kept operating during the show, adding that much more movement to the production), and jets of fire blasting from the top of the multiple lighting towers that surrounded the plaza.

Luminosity dancers

"Luminosity" has a big challenge to meet - exciting a crowd that is tired from a long day of walking and riding in the heat and sun. This is not an easy task, and I think that for the most part it succeeded. It is not a viewers-only show like "Illuminations" or "Wishes", where the crowd can sit (or stand), relax and be entertained without having to do anything else. "Luminosity" involves the crowd with the dancing and high-energy of the show, starting with the pre-show where volunteers from the audience are invited to join cast members in a dance-off competition. Six teams, named after some of the major coasters at Cedar Point, work for a few minutes with cast members who teach them a basic but fun dance routine, then perform with them on the stage. The audience votes for the best team, and the winner gets to watch the rest of the show from the VIP viewing area. Cheesy? Yes, but great fun and the audience really seemed to get into it. I heard lots of people debating which team was best - Team Millennium won the night I was there, even though I think Team Raptor was better.

More Luminosity

I was concerned that a 40-minute long show would be too long, but I was amazing how fast the time went by. It never stopped long enough for the audience to get bored or distracted. If anything, the size of the crowd grew from people who were passing through the plaza on their way to the front gate and decided to stop and join the party, and that is exactly what it became - a big dance party with a DJ who rose up from the stage on a giant scissor-lift and began to take requests for dance music, and the crowd filling Celebration Plaza did just that - danced, sang-along, sent txt-messages that were displayed on the screens surrounding the Plaza, and had a great time. We decided to leave before the party really got going - I think my kids were worried that I might embarrass them by joining in the dancing - and we headed towards the front gate.

The actual show is just part of the major improvements that Cedar Point has instituted this year to "Ignite the Night." For those of you not familiar with Cedar Point and its layout (and if you're not, why haven't you gotten there yet?), Celebration Plaza is the former Iron Dragon Midway. To reach the front gate, guests must walk or take the Skyride the full length of the Main Midway, a considerable walk. Cedar Point has lined all the buildings and rides with millions of colorful and constantly-changing LED lights. Moving gobo lights project swirling patterns on the walkways and surrounding buildings, and the new brilliant LED light shows on Windseeker and the Giant Wheel are worth stopping for and watching. Another DJ is found on the balcony of the Coliseum over looking the Midway, and he was working the crowd below him with great music and great one-liners, keeping the dance party feeling all the way to the front gate.

Luminosity DJ

This is not the first night-time show that Cedar Point has had. For years it has had rather low-budgeted "Hot Summer Nights," and last year it showed the patriotic but not-well-received "American Portrait." These films were shown on a large and obtrusive movie screen that blocked one end of the Iron Dragon midway. The screen is gone, Millennium Force can now be seen in all its repainted and relit glory, and Celebration Plaza is a major improvement to the look and feel of Cedar Point.

Is "Luminosity: Ignite the Night" a fun show to experience? Absolutely! It is the kind of show that you can watch over and over from different vantage points and see a different show every time. We watched it from the bleachers set up on the former site of Wildcat to get the full view of the Plaza. The next time I go I want to watch it from the center of Celebration Plaza, standing right next to the stage, with the production surrounding me. Is it worth staying later at the park to see it? Once again, absolutely! While I doubt that this show, regardless of how terrific it is, will attract thousands of new visitors to Cedar Point just to see it (except for season passholders, who, like us, made a special trip that night to see it), I am sure that it will entice many people to stay in the park longer to enjoy the coolness of the evening on Lake Erie and the beauty of what has been called "The Amazement Park." It is a terrific addition to Cedar Point's entertainment options and one that no guest should miss.

This old park is starting to look and feel brand new, and the promise of what is potentially to come in the future is almost as exciting as "Luminosity" itself. If you haven't been to Cedar Point before, or if it has been a long time, what are you waiting for? Get to The Point! And stay for "Luminosity: Ignite the Night"!

Readers' Opinions

From James Rao on June 25, 2012 at 3:37 AM
Great report, James, thanks for sharing!

As for re-visiting CP... I just have one kid who is still under 54" tall. Another season on the stretching machine and we'll be ready to get back to The Point!

From 74.184.76.196 on June 25, 2012 at 9:40 AM
Great report and terrific video that gives us a feel for the show from many different perspectives. I am glad to see CP making an effort to try new things in entertainment. We have not been there since 2004, but I really need to find an excuse to get back up there.
From Derek Potter on June 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM
I look for that area of the park to spiff up soon. They already removed Wildcat. Isn't it amazing how some LED's will completely change the look of everything. I won't be surprised if more rides get those packages in the next few years. LED walls and lights cost a lot up front, but in the long run they are far less expensive to run and maintain than traditional lighting, and they look amazing.

I'm excited to see what new leadership will bring Cedar Point and their other parks in the next few years. This kind of investment in appearance and visuals is exciting. I hope they apply this thinking with the other intangibles.

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