Monday, February 2, 2009

magical memories - yet another fireworks show that's not just a fireworks show

Disneyland has been very well known for some time now for the spectacular fireworks show that is regularly displayed throughout the year. They had a show called "Believe There's Magic In The Stars" for a few years, and it was really a spectacular show in that it wasn't just random music and random fireworks - the show really told a story, with the music/songs (including the beautiful new song that was the title track) and narration telling the framework of the story while the fireworks beautifully provided the illustrations. A friend who owns and runs a Disney-related website published a story about her experience when the show was described to her by the creator.

And here's a video of the show.

There were a lot of us who were incredibly enamoured of the show, so much so that regular fireworks were just boring and not generally worth the time to us after that. When we heard that a new fireworks show would debut with the start of the celebration of Disneyland's 50th birthday, we didn't know what to expect. We knew the new show was being designed by Steve Davison, who had also designed "Believe". But how could he possibly top "Believe"? How could anyone?

Because of a group that I was involved in, I actually got a sneak peek of the new fireworks show, "Remember Dreams Come True", because Steve Davison spoke to our group and explained how the new fireworks show would work. It sounded cool, but I still couldn't really get a grasp on what to expect. I was also bound not to talk about what I'd heard, so I couldn't even talk about what I'd seen with the husband or my friends.

Disneyland's celebration of its 50th birthday technically commenced on May 4, 2005 with a preview day, when the park was closed for the entire day to regular day guests, an extremely rare occurrence. People had opportunities through various venues to be able to get admission tickets for the day, which were free. I managed to obtain tickets for the May 4 preview day, but we as day guests were kicked out of the park before the start of the celebrity party that night. The husband and I and a friend had dinner at Catal Restaurant that night, which was the first night of the fireworks, being shown for the special party. We could only see small glimpses of some of the shells, and the only thing we could really see clearly were the cube-shaped fireworks (which puzzled us at the time but which we eventually found out are part of the "Peter Pan" segment of the show). We knew we'd be able to see the fireworks the following day, so we wondered what it would be all about.

May 5, 2005 was the official kickoff of the 50th celebration, and the husband and I had a great time spending the day with friends. Come evening time, we waited on Main Street, just about where Coke Corner is, for the new fireworks show.

I have expressed to the husband previously that there are times I wish I could have a mind wipe, so that I could experience certain things for the first time over and over again. I think that comment was initially prompted by the first year of Haunted Mansion Holiday - the first time I rode that, I was simply amazed. I thought it was going to be a simple overlay with maybe a few new elements included into the regular ride. I had not expected an entire takeover of the mansion, and the first glimpse of the newly-done graveyard scene was just incredible. That whole feeling of experiencing the ride for the first time is something I'd love to be able to have again.

I felt the exact same thing about "Remember". There were many of us who were in tears while watching this show, and we were definitely in awe. In keeping with the theme of the 50th celebration, "Remember" was a journey around the park, of attractions old and new, current and gone, a recreation of E-ticket rides right on Main Street. How in the heck would you do that, right? Yeah, that's what we thought - until we saw the show.

The moments I really remember:

1. The fireworks in the sky representing the same colors as used in the Main Street Electrical Parade, as Baroque Hoedown played.

2. The segment for the Indiana Jones Adventure, with fire shooting out in front of the castle.

3. Who ever knew you could recreate the stretching room from the Haunted Mansion on Main Street? The projections on the castle were cool, but when the simultaneous fireworks fired off all around us, putting us in the middle of the stretching room - WOW! Even at later viewings of the show, it was always fun to watch the reactions of those watching the show for the first time.

4. As if simulating the stretching room from mansion on Main Street wasn't enough, there was then a recreation of the firefight in Pirates of the Caribbean - this time, though, between Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn. How incredibly awesome.

5. The shooting gallery section was fun as you could see "shots" being taken at the castle.

6. The Space Mountain segment was particularly welcome at that time since the ride had been down for about a year since it was being refurbished.

7. And then, they recreated the trench run segment of Star Tours with green laser beams. Incredible.

Steve Davison gave a presentation about the show, and here's a link to that presentation in which he describes and acts out the various elements in the show. The video is a bit long, but it's well worth watching. The presentation that he gave the group I was in was much shorter and didn't have quite as many details since he also talked about a few of the other entertainment offers that were being debuted at the start of the 50th celebration.

It was really an amazing moment to stand there and take the whole show in. Hearing it described so completely did not begin to prepare me for what I was to see that night. We did not think Steve could top his own "Believe" show, but boy were we wrong.

There's really no way for a video to do the show justice, but this one does a great job of capturing most of the effects.

It was an amazing end to an amazing day, but it wasn't the beginning nor the end of our amazing weekend. If you'd like to read about the entire weekend, here's the full story.

I've seen the show many times since then, and while I still appreciate it every time, it's never the same feeling as that first day, seeing it for the first time. I wish I could relive that moment over and over again.

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