The Laser Bunker. Sounds like something out of Star Wars, but it’s actually a real place located in Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park. The droids are computers used to help choreograph the Stone Mountain laser show, the longest running laser light show in the world. Keep reading for tips to make your Stone Mountain Park Laser Show truly spectacular.
The Stone Mountain Laser Show is projected on the largest granite outcrop in the world, the canvas for the Stone Mountain carving of confederate leaders. It’s all set to music with impressive fireworks thrown in for good measure. The Stone Mountain Laser Show starts at 9:30 pm and runs May – October.
On a recent press visit to Stone Mountain, Ga., we were treated to a behind the scenes look at where the magic happens. Here’s what we learned (and at the end of this post we give you our best tips for a great evening)
Stone Mountain Park Laser Show Bunker
When the Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular first started in 1983, a section of the bunker raised out of the ground each night. The bunker itself contained huge reel-to-reel computers. As the show has grown, the technology to create it has shrunk.
Organizers introduced Mountainvision in 2011, which features 3D like effects without the 3D glasses. Mountain vision is used to make the rock appear to crumble before your eyes, among other fun effects. The projection is four to five times the size of an IMAX screen and taller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s like watching a 5,500 inch high definition TV. Of course my boys thought this was fabulous.
Stone Mountain Park Laser Show Spectacular
Each year the Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular improves on itself. Work begins almost 18 months ahead of time. The show is programmed by hand, beginning with hand drawn animation cells. The final product is run by the computers in the bunker. There are more than 26,000 frames within the 45 minute show.
The event is so spectacular, the FAA must be consulted to ensure airplanes don’t become blinded by lasers. In 2016 a new segment called Drone Wars: The Mountain Awakes debuted. It featured two-dozen drones, and told the story of a galaxy far, far away. So the laser bunker actually IS something out of Star Wars.
In 2017, the drones get reinforcements, syncing to the music. In addition, flame cannons add some heat to the show, sending flames nearly one-hundred feet into the air. We sat at the top of the hill and could feel the warm air from the cannons!
Tips to Make Your Stone Mountain Park Laser Show Spectacular truly Spectacular
The Laser show Spectacular runs May – October. The Laser show Spectacular and fireworks run July 1, 2, 3, and 4, ensuring even those who work on Independence Day can see the show. July 4 is the busiest day of the year at Stone Mountain Park. If you don’t get in the park by noon, you may not be able to do so. July 1, 2 and 3 are quieter and a great way to celebrate the 4th a little early.
The Event is free with parking admission of $15.
Bring a Picnic. Lots of folks bring a picnic to enjoy on the large lawn. Coolers are welcome. Folks begin staking out spots around 4 pm for the show.
It can be late for little ones. Although Stone Mountain Park hours are from 10:30 until 8 pm during the summer season, the laser show isn’t until 9:30 pm. When it gets dark earlier, the show can start as early as 8 pm. Consider staying overnight at the park. The Marriott Evergreen Resort is close, family friendly and has lots of extras to enjoy before or after the show.
Reserved seating for the laser show and Stone Mountain fireworks is available on several VIP Terraces. Reservations can be made online at www.stonemountainpark.com. Terrace seating is great if you don’t want to lug chairs or a blanket onto the lawn. Stone Mountain Park sets up chairs for you, and snacks are included. Enjoy popcorn, and an ice-cold coke. You can even add ice cream and a glow necklace to the package. (the glow sticks are part of a participation segment in the show)
Dinner and a Stone Mountain Laser Show: For a complete evening let Stone Mountain take care of everything and book the Lasershow Dinner Package. It includes a comfortable terrace seat, as well as a buffet dinner, popcorn and a drink. Plus you get a glow item to use in the show.
Save on Admission: Although the laser show is free with your parking admission, if you’d like to take part in any of the attractions at Stone Mountain before the laser show, you’ll need a park ticket. Guests can save on admission after 4 p.m. with a Sunset Adventure Pass & Stone Mountain Lasershow Snack Terrace.
The pass includes access to the Stone Mountain Park attractions from 4 p.m. until close, as well as the Lasershow from the comfort and convenience of a terrace seat, complete with popcorn and a drink. Stone Mountain park hours go until 10 pm or later depending on the day, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the park at a significant savings.
Know your Confederate Elite: On the large granite outcrop that gives Stone Mountain, Georgia it’s name, is the Stone Mountain carving of three Confederate leaders on horseback. A lot of people ask who is on Stone Mountain? Well, those leaders are: President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. For those of you not from Georgia, or not from the South, it’s best to learn this before going. My son overheard some folks from the Midwest discussing the carving saying “Now who is that?” “I know, Lincoln, Grant, and I don’t know the other guy, maybe Sherman?” Umm, No. There is not a southerner alive who would carve the likeness of Lincoln, Grant and especially Sherman, who burned Atlanta on his March to the Sea, on the side of anything.
More fun at Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Stone Mountain Christmas: The entire Crossroads Village lights up for a holiday spectacular that includes music, performances, a parade and the snow angel.
Stone Mountain Snow Mountain: It may not snow often in Stone Mountain Georgia, but there is always snow on Snow Mountain. Tube down the various runs, build a snowman, play in the snow, or just enjoy a smore by the fire.
365 Atlanta Family was given tickets to StoneMountain Park as is common in the travel industry. Views expressed here are my own and I only recommend places I would go and activities I would do.
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