home > Columns > Geekspeaks >
11/09/01 The Geek's thoughts on Luminaria and other thoughts...
 The Geek Speaks:

Welcome to the disneygeek.com Geek Speaks section. In this section I will post my comments on trips to the parks or other Disney related events.

11/09/01 The Geek's thoughts on Luminaria and other thoughts...

** After you read this report you may want to check out the pictorial updates in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

The Disneyland Resort is transforming for its Annual Holiday celebration. Disneyland is almost all Decorated and DCA is well on its way.


  • Well I have been waiting for this show for a long time now. I have watched the changes around the Paradise Bay, spent endless hours watching the tech crews working in the Bay, and spend two hours sitting waiting for the show last night. I had high expectations after the recent successes from the team behind Luminaria (namely Huanted Mansion Holiday, Believe in Holiday Magic, etc...). I was hoping the ghosts of Light Magic, the new Buzz Lightyear show over at Disneyland, and DCA in general were gone and this would be the turning point for this young park. I watched the show (and video taped it) and then I just stood there, trying to figure out exactly what I just saw.
  • There were some great moments in the show, for example I really enjoyed the kids cards coming up, the close proximity to the fireworks, the tree, and the lights around the lagoon.
  • But I was just not drawn into the show and amazed. As I am typing this I am watching the tape from last night. Luminaraia seems like its missing something. Believe in Holiday Magic just came on and it seems to have an extra spark, crowd excitement, or something. As I left the park (with the large crowd) I kept trying to figure out what was missing. I could not put my finger on it until I reached Disneyland and while the snow was coming down after Believe it hit me. The soundtrack. For some reason I just do not like the Luminaria soundtrack. I do not know why yet, but I just do not. Also it stuck out that most of the show is done in whites and yellows, very few other colors. One other element of the show that I did not care for is what I call the Light Magic flashback. In this section they have the video screens up and they go off on a tangent of showing several minutes of video clips of children. Another aspect of the show that I do not understand is the "flow". I do not see where the show is going or where it came from. It just does not seem to "build" for me.
  • Another disappointment was the floating candles on the water. I thought this was going to look awesome, but the lights were too bright and the candles just did not look right to me. I think if they were used during the show maybe with the lights off around the Bay so you only saw the candles it would look awesome.
  • Well these are only some rough impressions after seeing the show once and watching the tape a couple times. It will probably take me a couple more visits to really come up with a more concrete opinion. My first impression is not that good. I think the show has many good elements, but it just does not work for me. There are no real "spine tingling" moments in the show.
  • One more note. The smoke and sulfer smell can get to you after a while. My sweatshirt still smells this morning. I thought Illuminations at EPCOT had problems with this, but Luminaria takes it to a new level. Maybe it was just the conditionslast night... time will tell.
  • These are just my first thoughts and I am sure they will evolve as I experience the show and ponder it.
  • At this point if you have a choice between Believe and Luminaria I would say Believe is the must see. If you are at DCA and have the choice between going home or seeing Luminaria I think you should go see Luminaria, just make sure you are up wind of the show.
  • More thoughts to come....

General Items:

  • This was my first time parking on a level that has the new parking flow to it (the past couple trips I have managed to get on other levels). My first impression is I really really hate the new setup. I think it is totally annoying and a waste of time to make people drive around the garage. For those of you who do not know, now in the Mickey and Friends garage you have to drive around a lot more to park your car and get out. The new flow is you go up the ramp and then travel to the back of the garage. They then direct you to a row and you drive back to the front of the garage and park in the spot they direct you to. Then when you exit you have to drive all the way to the front of the garage, then a far side, then back to the back of the garage, then finally to the center to go down the ramp. This process means a lot of driving in the garage. I really do not understand it. The only advantage I saw was once you park and begin to walk you do not have to go near the incoming traffic. But this advantage is canceled in my mind by the exit pattern. Now you must drive through the tired crowd on your way to the exit. Also now you have people "cheating" and heading in the old traffic pattern because they do not want to drive around the garage to get out. I really dislike this new system and see it as a major waste of resources (gas) and time. I am sure someone out there knows the advantages of this new plan, but I just do not see them.
  • One GREAT thing to report. Last night they had every turnstile for both parks that was open was for both re-entry and normal entry. This really made the lines more better. They really needed it to because there was a mass movement of people after Luminaria at 8:30ish over to Disneyland to catch Believe.

Disneyland Items:

  • Not much new at Disneyland this week. More holiday decorations are now up.
  • The crowds were average and aver Luminaria the crowds became quite heavy for Believe.
  • The flag retreat still has a live band, which is awesome, but you can already see people's attitudes starting to go back to normal. I was on the train when the ceremony began. The Disneyland CMs and probably a handful or two of people on the train all stood for the national anthem, but a majority of the people just sat there. Some talked rather loudly too. I know its hard to hear up there, but they should have gotten the drift of what was happening. I guess if they would play the sound up there it would help things out, but on past trips I have seen most of the train guests all standing.


DCA Items:

  • The crowd seemed larger than usual as the evening went on, in anticipation of Luminaria. We staked out our location in front of show control about 2 hours before and the area was pretty full about an hour before the show.
  • The lines for the attractions seemed about average. One thing to not is that they shut down the attractions around the Bay about 45-60 min before Luminaria.
  • More holiday decorations are up around the park. We really liked the Warf and the GRR areas. Hollywood is starting to grow on us, but the Bay area still seems overdone.

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

Back to previous page


Quick Note

Check out the geek speaks archive for past updates.


Interested in Helping out?

If you are a fellow disneygeek and interested in sharing your insights, pictures, thoughts drop us an email here we are always looking for contributors.