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HEARD ON THE BEAT / Tourism

Viewers Less Than Dazzled by Disneyland's New Show

May 15, 1997|Marla Dickerson | Marla Dickerson covers tourism for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-5670 and at marla.dickerson@latimes.com

Looks like Disneyland's new Light Magic nighttime "streetacular" isn't quite ready for prime time, judging from the early reviews coming from a select group of fans who got to see the show Tuesday night.

The sneak preview played to a sellout crowd of about 20,000 Disneyland annual pass-holders, who paid $25 each to see the much-heralded successor to the Main Street Electrical Parade prior to its public debut May 23.

Disneyland Resort President Paul Pressler was on hand to warn the discriminating park veterans that the new show is still a "work in progress." Indeed, glitches are inevitable in a production that boasts 2,500 miles of fiber-optic cable, 125 costumed performers and four mammoth rolling stages rigged with projection screens, computerized moving lights, smoke effects and confetti blasts.

But the chorus of boos, yells of "bring back the Main Street Electrical Parade!" and the long line of pass-holders who demanded refunds after the performance prove that expectations for this new street show are sky-high.

Aside from mechanical snafus such as the skipping soundtrack and a failed projector, some pass-holders groused that there are simply too many similar-looking dance numbers and not enough eye-popping special effects for what's being billed as the most technologically sophisticated Disneyland show ever.

Disneyland spokesman Tom Brocato acknowledged that the Light Magic team is still ironing out all the kinks, but predicted audiences will be dazzled come opening night.

Tuesday's "performance was just a rehearsal," Brocato said. "It's really a matter of us working some of the problems through."

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