Review: ‘Celebrate the Spirit! Disney’s All-Star 4th of July Spectacular’

Host: John Ritter.

Host: John Ritter.

Hey America! You’ve just sat through a two-hour, beautifully done commercial for Disneyland and Disney World, which was disguised as a family variety special. What are you gonna do next?

America’s going to go to Disneyland and Disney World!

“Celebrate the Spirit!” showcased the two theme parks in the best of all possible lights: Wrapped in patriotism, wrapped in the glow of big pop and country stars and wrapped in the genuinely inspiring Points of Light honorees, so named for President Bush’s admonition to everyday Americans to improve their country via volunteerism.

The spec also teased viewers with highlights of Disneyland and World attractions, guaranteed to get kids into the “When are we gonna go there?” nagging mode.

It all looked very good, and the performers evoked near hysteria from the flag-waving crowds at the parks. Standouts, although most seemed lip-synced, included Billy Ray Cyrus and his “Achy Breaky Heart,” Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s set and Celine Dion’s powerful pipes.

The strikingly humble Points of Light honorees cut through Disney hype to add some soul to the celebratory proceedings.

Celebrate the Spirit! Disney's All-Star 4th of July Spectacular

(Saturday, ( 4), 8-10 p.m., CBS-TV)

Production

Taped in Orlando, Fla., and Anaheim by Walt Disney World Co., Don Weiner Prods. and Walt Disney Television. Exec producer, Don Weiner; producer, Michael Petok; associate producer, Drew Brown; director, Gary Halvorson; writer, Stephen Pouliot.

Crew

Music, Kevin Kiner; editor, Jerry Baixman; art director, Jimbo Marshall; lighting design, Bob Dickinson, Todd Nichols.

Cast

With: Billy Ray Cyrus, Los Lobos, Kris Kross, Shanice, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Celine Dion, Martina McBride.
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