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RetroMagic – Ron Logan

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.

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 name of a parade or a drug/skin disease? You can build a parade but Disney marketing is going to name it.

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”
Micky in the SpectroMagic Parade

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.

“Past is dead Future is uncertain…

“Past is dead Future is uncertain…

Present is all you have, So eat, drink and live merry.”

– Albert Einstein

It would appear the Future is less uncertain than we had hoped with the official demise of EPCOT’s Future World. Its been dead for a long time and this perhaps gives us the closure we needed. The future is also less uncertain now that we have an actual plan for EPCOT, something fans have all created our own versions of since Horizons’ demise.

Ironic that we live in the PAST about our FUTURE World isn’t it? Alas, let’s look to the future at our new EPCOT.

New “Neighborhoods”

Two huge kidneys and a possible uterus? Either way, “Discovery” and “Nature” are ideals I think we supported from our Future World so I can get into this.

Fountain & Spaceship Earth

D23 Disney Concept Art

The original fountain design will return to the entrance of the park. But will my pixie haircut?

The previously announced refurbishment to Spaceship Earth will focus on “storytelling”. This of course is the one I am most anxious about and not just because I will have to update my tribute to Spaceship Earth website. I just hope it doesn’t have MORE DISNEY, MORE PIXAR, MORE MARVEL.

There was some flashy concept work shown at the D23 about the enhancements. I don’t want to read into it too much because I am trying to be grateful for what we have had with SSE to this point and to be open minded about the future. If it sucks, I have my memories. And my website.

New Disney Statue & A Wishing Tree

Good enough. Another way to bring in MORE DISNEY?

Dreamers Point, – lush gardens, a wishing tree, an interactive new fountain and a new statue celebrating the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney.

As long as there are trees and ample shade unlike the vast un-shaded expanse you get in front of the American Pavilion I support it.

Celebration Festival Center

It’s a three level building that looks pretty and mid century modern from the images and will offer great views of the park and fireworks which I’m sure involve … AN UP-CHARGE but I would love to be proved wrong on this.

Cosmic Thrill – Friendly or Pukey?

Rewind“. “Reverse launch“. “Rotates“. I dunno, I hope this isn’t “family -friendly” like Mission Space is!

Moana. In EPCOT? #nature!

“MAKE WAY! MAKE WAY!” is what I will be screaming as I walk through this “living” and “exploration” trail with water features. #MORE-DISNEY.

Space 220

Please don’t let me puke in the elevator. Please don’t let me puke in the elevator. Please don’t let me puke in the elevator. Please don’t let me puke in the elevator. Please don’t let me puke in the elevator. Please don’t let me puke in the elevator. Please don’t let me puke in the elevator.


New movie. New attraction. New restaurant. New sing-along. Something new is fun but the rest I’m feeling meh about. Maybe its my lack of crepe desires holding me back? #MORE-DISNEY

New Circle Vision

My brain thinks I am actually flying through these movies leaving me hanging with a white knuckle grip off the leaning bar so I’m not AS excited about these announcements. I’m only mentioning it so I can post this –

Mary Poppins in the UK Pavilion

A new attraction! A new neighborhood will be added to the UK Pavilion so that we can visit Cherry Tree Lane and visit the home of the Banks’! #MORE-DISNEY

In Summary…

I am happy to see this part of the park get the attention it so richly deserves. That said, I’m very worried about there being MORE DISNEY MORE PIXAR MORE MARVEL in a park that was previously extremely imaginative without these aspects. I also hope that I won’t barf in the space elevator or the Guardian’s Roller Coaster and that these new experiences (sans barf) are all included with the park tickets and not as up charges.

A full summary of these announcements without opinion can be found at The Disney Parks Blog.

EPCOT Arts Festival – Artists

EPCOT Arts Festival – Artists

There are SO MANY artists at the Festival of Arts but we got to see more work by a few favorites.

Ashley Taylor

First up was meeting Ashley Taylor and having her sign an EPCOT specific piece titled “World of Dreams!” .

Ashley’s portfolio captures all the details of our most beloved attractions, movies, and shows with whimsey and skill. To top it all off, one cast member referred to her as “a true angel”.

Some of my other favorites of Ashley’s:

Dave Perillo

I’ve come across Dave Perillo‘s work at the Wonderground Gallery in Disney Springs before and his reimagined attraction posters as bright and cute!

Luckily for my dwindling wall space (and wallet) these posters are also available in postcard form. Some of my other favorites of Dave’s:

Steve Thomas

I came across Steve Thomas‘ art in the Acme Star Wars tent. The Endor poster caught my eye first but everything from his collection was something I would love to have.

In addition to the Star Wars fan art, Steve also has a series of art deco space travel posters, including travel to Ultima Thule!


We found some work by Mcbiff in the Art of Disney store outside Spaceship Earth. He will also be signing at the booth near Canada later this month.

“Taken for Granite” & “Bird Cafe”! The two new beanstalk paintings debuting at Epcot’s international Festival of the…

Posted by Mcbiff on Sunday, January 6, 2019

His Trader Sam looks awesome!

Jason Tiki Tackett

If you are lucky enough to attend the festival when Jason Tiki Tackett is presenting I am jealous. He’s very inspirational and entertaining in addition to being very talented! He has a passion for the New York World’s Fair and is a fantastic digital artist!

I’ll see everyone for my second and final presentation of “One Little Spark: Finding the Figment Inside of YOU!” One…

Posted by The Art of TiKiT on Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I’ve written about some of my other favorites of Jason’s work before but here are some additional favorites of his work:

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 4

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 4

Day 4 – Jawa Issues

I can’t tell if I was overwhelmed later in the day from all the fun I had the night before at Trader Sam’s, or was depressed to have to leave the Polynesian, or if meeting Kylo Ren was that overwhelming but I wasn’t feeling magical on day 4.


The day started out great – I got breakfast from Captain Cooks and brought it back to the room.  We stayed at the Poly till check out time at 11am and walked around the resort.  The new pool looks so relaxing!  I hope there is a chance for me to experience it in a few years.


We left our bags to be delivered to Beach Club and took the bus to Hollywood Studios AGAIN.   We had to see the Jedi Training again and we also checked out Watto’s Grotto and Launch Bay.

I got the BB-8 soda cup I had been eyeing since we got to the parks and within an hour almost lost it to a Jawa!


After the Jawa encounter I was already excitable but then we did the Disney Visa Character Meet and Greet.  I didn’t ask who we would be meeting and they have it all hidden around corners.  When I walked in and Kylo Ren was there I almost crapped my pants.   I had so much fun I can’t wait for the park ‘s full concept to be put together.

We finally got to ride Tower of Terror and for the first time in forever (no, not Frozen) I was able to take the queue to the left side of the bell stand and could see parts of the lobby I haven’t been able to check out for years.


It was starting to get hungry and a bit tired so we took the boat to Beach Club to find out what was up with our room.   For some reason the online check in didn’t work and we got a text that we needed to see the front desk.  They fidgeted with our magic bands for about 15 minutes then gave us the room number.

Before going to the room we had lunch at Beaches and Cream which was the definite highlight by far of our stay at Beach Club.  We got to our room and it was so run down looking it was depressing.  ESPECIALLY after a stay in the brand new Poly Villas.  It was actually uncomfortable.

We walked around World Showcase and had a light dinner at the Boardwalk because I wasn’t feeling it.


And check it!  You can see the Star Wars fireworks from the Boardwalk!  Although you need to really be there to experience its full effect.


Its always hard to say goodnight to your last night in the Park.  But the excitement about the Egg Hunt I had for the next day kept my spirits up!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 3

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 3

We checked out of Bay Lake and brought our bags to the Polynesian where we stayed for one night.   We had breakfast at Kona then took the Monorail to EPCOT.  It was two days before the start of Flower and Garden but a lot was in bloom and smelling FANTASTIC!


We hit our favorites:

We explored more of the flowers including those at the Canada Pavilion.


We then took the Monorail back to the Polynesian.  We hadn’t received the text that our room was ready so we set up to enjoy some Dole Whip and the front desk informed us that the room was in fact ready and had been – they just didn’t send the text for some reason.   Either way – perfect timing.


Like anyone else who has stayed at the Poly DVC I can confirm its absolutely gorgeous.   We stayed in Pago Pago only for one night and it was one of the major highlights of the trip.

We put on some Hawaiian music and relaxed in paradise.

We had reservations a Morimoto in Disney Springs for an early dinner.   This is where my second cautionary tale regarding Uber begins.

  1. We thought they would be able to pick up in the DVC parking lot near Pago Pago – they are not allowed in so we had to walk to the lobby.   This makes sense in hindsight.
  2. We were waiting at the lobby when a cast member asked us if we were waiting for Uber.  She informed us that the GPS locators often send them to the Grand Floridian instead of the Poly and this in fact happened to our driver.   I would recommend texting your driver and confirming the resort location.
  3. There is so much construction at Disney Springs right now and they really only allow cabs to drop off on the West Side – even if you are trying to get to the Marketplace so if your goal was to cut down on walking – waiting for the bus might be the better option.
  4. Pickup for Uber at Disney Springs is in the “Strawberry Lot” – that’s on the other side of West Side so if you are coming from the Marketplace Area it could be a trek.  We were going directly to Hollywood Studios and still thought this was easier than bus hopping.

morimoto Balls

Morimoto makes one hell of a Singapore Sling!   I highly recommend.

We went to see the Star Wars Fireworks AGAIN after dinner because they are THAT GOOD.   Since we had already taken 2 Uber rides we figured we would take the bus back to the Poly – at park closing.   This 45 minute exercise in patience reminds me why I try to be at a resort that is walking distance or linger in the park after hours until I’m forced out.

We closed out the evening at Trader Sam’s Grotto.

trader sams

Last time we were there – they said they couldn’t do anything for vegetarian food (outside of sushi) but this time they offered tofu for the lettuce cups!  It was so tasty!

tofu lettuce cups

On the walk back to Pago Pago we stopped at the Tiki Terrace outside the Grotto to listen to the ukulele player.  He was so good I would say its worth the visit alone to see him perform.  Aloha!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 2

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 2

Day 2 – Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

The view of the sunrise from our room at Bay Lake was amazing!  It was 44 degrees so there was also some mist over the water.


Since we were at Bay Lake we had a quick breakfast at Contempo Cafe then took the monorail to Magic Kingdom for opening.   They opened 20-30 min early and since it was a Sunday and my fast passes were for Hollywood Studios later in the day – I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to do what we wanted.   We did almost EVERYTHING!

On this trip – I found a new favorite thing.  Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan queue actually feels  magical.   It is details like this that make all the difference and this is now a must see for me on my next trip.

Then onto our favorites:

  • Pirates
  • Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion

On our walk to Be Our Guest for lunch – we happened upon a babbling brook on a beautiful spring like day without a cloud in the sky.


Hollywood Studios for a Star Wars Experience!

After a nap we took the bus to Hollywood Studios.   We put our fast passes to use and hit the Great Movie Ride.  This is where we encountered an unexpected character.

“Yah get no show?”

We roll up to the iconic yellow brick road ready for action – and nada.  No munchins, no sound, just a lifeless yellow brick road.   Our show guide was great and tried to keep the show going with Wizard of Oz songs but then a maintenance guy shows up from under the well and breaks the flow and like its nothing special and says “Ya get no show?” and then a few other dudes show up and shrug their shoulders an push some things and we move along.

I rejuvenated my spirits by becoming an Honorary Disney Citizen at One Man’s Dream. We then used fast passes to get on Tower of Terror but only half the elevators were moving  and the line came to a standstill.  After a few minutes we turned around.  This is a cautionary tale because once you tap to use a fast pass but don’t tap the second time you are in some fastpass limbo.   It was the technical version of…The Twighlight Fastpass Zone.

We got some dinner at Backlot Express – a surprisingly good “galactic” salad with black beans and avocado along with some “Corellian Spice Fries”.   While we ate we watched the Jedi Training show that got us pumped for the Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party.


The party was cute – my only complaint is that I wish there was seating.  The Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks were SPECTACULAR!   The coolest firework shapes – strobes, bees, star shapes, Saturn shapes and the MUSIC!  You get the chills from the music and the drama of the fireworks combined with other Star Wars sound effects.  It was also, hands down, the LOUDEST firework display I have ever witnessed.

You can see the full show online but it doesn’t do it justice.

We watched the Electric Light Pageant before going to bed.   The music is just too ridiculous to ignore.

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza!

As a way to honor our first and likely last annual passes we used up the remaining days of our passes along with some DVC points to check out a few resorts and the parks on a 5 day trip.   There was lots to see with the new Star Wars stuff along with the start of the Flower and Garden Festival.  This was one of the BEST TRIPS I’ve ever been on – mostly because we didn’t over plan and went with the flow (I also had the best company you could ask for – my Mom!).  The next few posts will go through each of the five days on the trip.

Day 1 – Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake

Now that Uber picks up at MCO we decided to avail ourselves of this service.  Word of caution – this was pricey.   I’ve taken UBER TO the airport from the parks and it was about $22 (and this proved to be true with this trip too).   Since a regular cab is about $60 from the airport to the parks, I figured that even though UberBLACK is more expensive it would still be worth it.   I was NOT expecting $20 in airport fees alone.  Uber does offer fare estimates that did indicate it would be this expensive so I recommend checking that out.

contemporary           room confirmation


We dropped off our bags at Bay Lake and went to the Contempo Cafe for lunch.  The Contempo Vegetable Salad had tofu and quinoa and was actually quite good!

Since we did online check-in we got the message that our room was ready via text and headed there and ordered our bags.


Since the perk of Bay Lake is the quick walk to MK we went there even though it was mid-day on a Saturday.   The lines were NUTS but we were able to visit the Enchanted Tiki Room.   The weather was perfect so it was nice to just walk around.

fez case

Since it was the last day of the trial of same day reservations for the Skipper
– we were able to get a reservation for dinner.  The place is pretty big, has an eclectic but really good menu and a great amount of detail in each of the themed rooms.  There is fez case in the corner near the bookcase!  I wish I could spend the whole day with a Jungle Skipper.

After dinner we rode the Wedway People Mover and for the first time in years we had a ride with no issues!  I was almost bummed because it made the trip shorter.   We capped off the evening at the Top of the World Lounge then ran back to the room so we could watch the Electric Water Pageant.

Days 7 and 8 (FIN)

Days 7 and 8 (FIN)

Day 7

I spent the last full day in my two favorite parks – MK and EPCOT, doing most of my favorite things:

  • Thunder Mountain
  • Jingle Cruise (again)
  • Orange Swirl Break
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Wedway People Mover
  • Monorail to EPCOT to have lunch at Germany



Back to the hotel for a break then on to the evenings festivities:

  • Trader Sams Grotto
  • Captain Cooks
  • Shopping at Mitsukoshi Department Store followed by Peach Sake
  • Resiling at Germany
  • Gran Fiesta Boat Ride

I love spending the night in EPCOT. The details of the pavilions come alive.

Day 8 – Final Morning

We had an afternoon flight but still spent the morning in EPCOT.   For some reason I was hell bent on seeing O Canada!  There had unfortunately been a private function that morning in Canada of all days so there was a delay in their opening but I finally got to see it.   I just like the song.  I can’t watch the movie without falling over.

bridge garden

How much walking?

Now that we have nifty devices we can get an idea of how much walking is involved in a trip to Disney World.   On this trip I walked about 61 miles in total!  If only I didn’t take in 500,000 calories – it could have been a healthy adventure.


November 2015 Trip Report! (Day 6)

November 2015 Trip Report! (Day 6)

Day 6 – Mistakes and Memories

Day 6 started out great at Animal Kingdom!  Got to visit the Gorillas and see how much Lilly has grown and see some of her new little friends too.  I really could spend an hour there watching them – unless something gross happens.

After standing around for a while we went on the Safari.  Maybe I got bit by something because at this point my decisions are questionable.  I decided it would be a great idea to ride the Kali River Rapids.  If you’ve been on this then you know the soaking isn’t proportional to the amount of ride time.

That’s when I had to get a ride back to Beach Club to change my clothes and put my sneakers in the dryer then went back to Animal Kingdom/Kidani Village to eat lunch at Sanaa.

After spending some time at the hotel room, still drying out my sneakers I decided to make my next horrific mistake.   I decided I wanted counter service Mexican food – I went to La Cantina.  It was 100% crowded, not a table to be had, and the one that did open up didn’t have a single corner of shade.  I also didn’t have a lot of success with the vegetarian side of things.  I’m still ashamed of myself.whispering

We walked around the China Pavilion including the two shops and the House of the Whispering Willows Exhibit featuring replicas of the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang. I didn’t give this the attention it deserves – I didn’t even know anything about this major archaeological event.

To shake the shame from Mexico we went to the Stave Church Gallery in Norway and then finally took some highly recommended advice and tried the Norwegian School Bread.  I would say it lives up to the hype! We paired it with a Linie Aquavit Glacier Shot which I did NOT care for because it reminds me of licorice (anise/fennel).


For dinner the family wanted to try Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs and I’m really glad we did.   Everything was very good, very fresh and the Singapore Sling was fantastic.  Even if the place reminds you of Kill Bill.

Next post features the finale of the trip with all my favorites back to back!