RetroMagic – Ron Logan
The Lake Buena Vista Historical Society hosted its 5th Anniversary Celebration:
Here are my take-aways from the talk by Disney Legend Ron Logan. Ron is a professor and it showed, he gave a wonderful lecture that I think was one of the highlights of the event – such a magical surprise!
Sorcery in The Sky
From 1990 – 1998 there was a firework display set to a soundtrack from movie hits with the Chinese Theater in MGM as the backdrop. The show was produced by Ron Logan and called Sorcery in the Sky.
An announcer introduces the guests to the show and shouts “Light, camera, action!” to set the stage. At this point, the sounds of a flickering projector and silent-era piano music play, which then segues into various movie themes, including those from The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The announcer then tells the guests about one of Walt Disney’s greatest film accomplishments: Fantasia. A medley of the various musical pieces from the film play before the grand finale, in which a giant inflatable Mickey Mouse in his “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” garb emerges from the top of The Great Movie Ride and shoots sparks from its finger.https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Sorcery_in_the_Sky
Some tales of note:
- A flatbed truck on World Drive was used for fireworks because it was an immersive show that had to be viewable from everywhere
- The original narration was by Vincent Price!
- Since the first films were in black and white, the first sets of fireworks of the show are bright whites and then color fireworks were introduced with the music from Wizard of Oz “Over the Rainbow”
- It was ahead of its time as possibly the first Star Wars fireworks. It also had Fantasia fireworks (Fantasmic is also a Ron Logan Production).
- A first of its kind feature of this show was the giant inflatable Sorcerer Micky Mouse who’s inflatable finger would shoot fireworks. Ron referred to it as the “inflatable finger that worked when it did“. 😆
Ron gave a wonderful perspective about putting a show together like this from a production point of view. Lots of imagination and trial and error.
The SpectroMagic nighttime light parade officially debuted on the 20th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom, October 1, 1991.
The parade is about Mickey Mouse, along with the SpectroMagic Spectromen, who together create the power of SpectroMagic. After the first part of the Parade with Mickey Mouse and the SpectroMagic Spectromen, the parade then takes you though five different themes:
“The Worlds of Music from the Silly Symphonies”
“The Wonder of Sleeping Beauty’s Garden”
“The Fantasy of The Little Mermaids Ocean”
“The Imagination of Fantasia”
“And The World of Dreams in a Grand Disney Cavalcade”
Ron talked about how each float in addition to the lighting had to tell three stories. There was something to see in the front as it approaches, the middle/sides, and something also had to be at the end when you are looking at the back of the float.
In talking about how to create magic, Ron said the following:
You have an olive branch and a smile in one hand and a machete and a smile in the other. You gotta be tough and gotta be smart to make magic!
Some tales of note:
- Ron agrees that the Spectromen were scary!
- The floats were SO HEAVY the the bridge between the castle and liberty square to to be rebuilt twice! (Remember, this is before the days of LED lights!)
- The dragon fly wings were something like 60 lbs and the women wearing them had to carry the equivalent of a car battery on their backs.
Ron’s presentation was a wonderful trip down memory lane and filled with interesting tidbits about the huge amount of work involved in creating these immersive and detailed productions.