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Fantasmic!
Fantasmic! Disneyland
The promotional poster for the original Disneyland version of Fantasmic!
Disneyland
Land Frontierland
Opening date May 13, 1992
Fantasmic!
Fantasmic! Disney's Hollywood Studios
Promotional artwork for the Florida show.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Land Sunset Boulevard
Opening date October 15, 1998
Fantasmic!
Fantasmic! Tokyo DisneySea
The promotional poster for Fantasmic! at Tokyo DisneySea.
Tokyo DisneySea
Land Mediterranean Harbor
Opening date April 28, 2011
Closing date March 25, 2020
Replaced BraviSEAmo

Fantasmic! is a long-running nighttime show at both Disneyland Park in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida, now recently added to Tokyo DisneySea. It originated at Disneyland in 1992 after Disneyland's entertainment department was asked to create a nighttime spectacular involving water and fireworks to invigorate the space in front of the Rivers of America. Disneyland Entertainment employed the resources of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Imagineering as collaborators. Much of the area around the Rivers of America needed to be reworked, including terracing the walkways to accommodate viewing and modifying part of Tom Sawyer Island so that it could act as a stage for much of the show's live action.

In 1996, Walt Disney Entertainment in Florida partnered with Imagineering and Feature Animation to bring a new version of the show to Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly the Disney-MGM Studios), featuring newly animated and live action scenes. The Rivers of America at the Magic Kingdom was not conducive to an of the layout at Disneyland, so a new purpose-built 10,000 seat amphitheater was built at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Intended to boost low attendance numbers at that park, the new Fantasmic show was also seen as a needed replacement for Sorcery in the Sky, an aging nighttime fireworks show.

Disneyland version

The show is located on the waters of the Rivers of America at Disneyland and on a stage across the waterway. A tavern and tall trees act as a backdrop for the show. To begin, lights around the Rivers of America fade and a female narrator introduces the show. The show went down in early 2014 for a refurbishment adding new effects, new fountains, the water screen projections becoming HD, and other smaller effects. When the show returned, it had a large number of technical failures, such as fountains not turning on or fireworks not launching causing the show to be delayed quite a few times.

"Welcome to Fantasmic! Tonight, our friend and host Mickey Mouse uses his vivid imagination to create magical imagery for all to enjoy. Nothing is more wonderful than the imagination, for, in a moment, you can experience a beautiful fantasy or an exciting adventure. But beware, nothing is more powerful than the imagination, for it can also expand your greatest fears into an overwhelming nightmare. Are the powers of Mickey's incredible imagination strong enough and bright enough to withstand the evil forces that invade Mickey's dream? You are about to find out. For we now invite you to join Mickey, and experience Fantasmic!… a journey beyond your wildest imagination."

Synopsis

The show begins with Mickey in formal attire directing a water show on the river. The show's signature water projection screens are activated, onto which animation from the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence from the film Fantasia. Musical scores from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and the "Imagination" theme accompany the animation as Mickey conducts animated shooting stars pyrotechnics launched from the six pyrotechnic barges on the river.

The animation then blends with live performers interpreting different flowers.

The lighting and music change to a jungle beat, and a 100-foot-long (30 m) puppet of Kaa, the snake from The Jungle Book, makes its way across the island with beams of light firing from his eyes. Accompanying this scene are three floating barges carrying King Louie and black-lit monkeys across the river stage.

The music segues to a contemporary rendition of "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Dumbo, as animated pink elephants appear onscreen and in the form of performers on the island. The elephants then seem to be puppets dancing on strings, which serves to transition into a sequence based on Pinocchio. Three large puppets are manipulated by nine performers with fiber-optic "strings" stretching 30 feet above the puppets.

Onscreen animation shows Jiminy Cricket underwater searching for Pinocchio. An animated Monstro the Whale interacts with live splash effects on the river. The storyline progresses as Mickey notices his dream becoming darker.


[1][2]Peter Pan and Captain Hook sword fight aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia.A concussion cannon is fired from Sailing Ship Columbia, which portrays Captain Hook's pirate ship. Hook, Smee, Peter Pan, Wendy, and pirates participate in a stunt sequence as the ship makes its pass. Following the ship is an articulated crocodile barge, with the sound of a ticking clock emanating from its tail.

Snow White and her Prince, Ariel and Prince Eric, and Belle and the Beast appear on three floating stages (transformed since the Jungle scene earlier) on the river, dancing to a medley of each princess' signature song, accompanied by lighting and water effects.

The show enters its villain segment, as the Evil Queen from Snow White appears on stage, calling for her magic mirror — which appears onscreen in animated form. The mirror informs the Queen that the three princesses are fairer than she, and that "in Mickey's imagination, beauty and love will always survive."

In anger, she moves to her cauldron, where the Queen transforms into the Hag from Snow White. The hag summons "forces of evil" to transform Mickey Mouse's dream into a "nightmare Fantasmic." Ursula, from The Little Mermaid sings and joins the plot against Mickey as her two pet eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, glide across the river.

Onscreen, the face of Ursula transforms into Chernabog from Fantasia. Animation from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence from Fantasia accompanies Mussorgsky's score.

A pyrotechnic burst of flames announces Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty, beginning the climactic showdown sequence. Maleficent rises 30 feet from the stage and transforms into a dragon onscreen. The animation gives way to a 45-foot animatronic dragon, who rises from the stage before breathing fire onto the river, which utilizes fire-on-water effects.

Mickey appears as the Brave Little Tailor and uses a sword to destroy Maleficent's dragon form. As the dragon screams, the villains who have appeared are also destroyed onscreen, and the sequence ends with a pyrotechnic burst from the river.

Following an appearance by Tinker Bell, the Mark Twain Riverboat crosses the stage, piloted by a black and white Mickey Mouse, dressed in attire from Steamboat Willie. Approximately 50 Disney characters dance on the ship in a ribbon routine. The sequence is accompanied by searchlights, fountains, and pyrotechnic effects.

Then in a flash of light, Mickey appears on top of the tavern as Sorcerer Mickey, and "conducts" laser beams, fireworks, and other lighting effects that span the length of the river stage. With a flash, he disappears from atop the Tavern and re-appears center stage, resuming his formal attire. Mickey says to the audience, "Some imagination, huh?" and disappears in a flash. A final burst of pyrotechnics is accompanied by searchlights placed around the tavern and stage.

Development

The original Disneyland soft opening and press premiere were scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 29, 1992 and continue through the weekend. By late afternoon, rioting began in Los Angeles following the acquittal of the Los Angeles police officers involved in the Rodney King beating. Promotional materials with the catchphrase "Be Here When the Night Ignites" were quickly pulled from public circulation.[1]

Refurbishments

Disneyland's Fantasmic! has undergone several technical refreshes aimed at reducing escalating maintenance costs and keeping the show looking fresh. A new sound system debuted in the summer of 2007, along with new show barges featuring LED lighting arrays. A complete overhaul of the lighting system debuted in the spring of 2008. The three mainland lighting towers, which rise hydraulically from pits in the ground prior to the show, were rebuilt with pull-out slides for the new Clay Paky Alpha Spots and Washes and redesigned for the new Strong Gladiator IV followspots. The footlights on the mainland side at water level were replaced with LED fixtures, as part of Disney's environmental initiative and for improved flexibility. Refurbished pyrotechnic barges were given new technologies derived from Disneyland's Air-Launch Firework (ALF) system.[2] Reworked pyrotechnics emitted less smoke than the previous iteration, reducing pollution and improving visibility of the stage, most notably in the finale. This is possible due to there only being a burst charge, eliminating the lift charge.

In 2008, the three original 70mm projectors were replaced with high definition (HD) digital projectors. The animation also received a new digital transfer. New Syncrolite fixtures were added to the mainland and island towers and to the roof of the tavern for use during the finale. The Peter Pan sequence was given a new mechanical crocodile, which, though smaller, could now interact with the scene. The Ursula sequence once featured Flotsam and Jetsam, in the form of jet-ski based floats which snaked through the water. These replaced the Ursula float. However, as of summer 2013, these jet-skis no longer appear in the show.

A new audio-animatronic dragon (nicknamed Murphy by fans, after Murphy's law, when the dragon experienced multiple delays in 2009) was built to replace the previous dragon which had been a mechanical dragon's head on a JLG cherry picker. The new dragon was designed to be a full-bodied replica of Maleficent's final form in Sleeping Beauty, standing at 45 feet tall. The dragon had initial problems before a scheduled debut date and was unable to operate on said date.[3] The new dragon premiered on September 1, 2009. The Mark Twain finale sequence featuring Disney characters doing a streamer dance was re-choreographed, and the timing of the fireworks in the finale was tweaked.

In early February 2010, the entire Rivers of America were drained. Both the Mark Twain and the Sailing Ship Columbia were refurbished, and the track along which the ships travel was replaced. The show's underwater effects underwent maintenance as well, and the laser effects for the finale were upgraded. In early May, the refurbishment was completed, and the rivers were restored. Fantasmic! returned for the summer season on May 28, 2010. On August 28, 2010, the second-generation dragon broke again, partly collapsing during a performance.[4] It was restored to the show on November 12, 2010.

During the short after-holiday refurbishment period beginning on January 7, 2014, the show's original stationary fountains were replaced by new World of Color-esque dancing fountains with individual LED lighting, and could now be articulated to match the movements of performers onstage, effectively dancing with the music. These new fountains made their Fantasmic! debut when the show returned on February 14, 2014. However, the fountains were found to be unreliable, causing many synchronization problems and often falling behind other special effects during the show. Disneyland quietly removed the dancing fountains in 2015. They were brought back in 2017 when Fantasmic! underwent refurbishment.[5]

On November 6, 2014, Disneyland announced new viewing options for Fantasmic!, primarily with the debut of a Fastpass return time system much like the one implemented for World of Color. In addition, new dining packages that include tickets to Fantasmic! were also announced.[6]

On January 11, 2016, Disneyland's Fantasmic! closed for approximately a year—along with other Rivers of America attractions, including the Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes—to permit the construction of a future Star Wars-themed land to the north of Frontierland.[7][8]

On July 28, 2016, it was announced that the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions, including Fantasmic!, would be reopening in the summer of 2017.[9] On April 17, 2017, it was announced that new scenes based on Aladdin, The Lion King, Tangled, and Pirates of the Caribbean would be added to Fantasmic! It was also announced that Mickey Mouse would be appearing in more scenes throughout the show.[10] Fantasmic! officially reopened on July 17, 2017.[11]

Attraction facts

Attraction facts

  • Official debut: May 13, 1992
  • Location: Rivers of America, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California
  • Show length: 23 minutes
  • Producers: Disneyland Entertainment, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Executive producer: Ron Logan
  • Audio: LCS matrix audio system with WildTracks audio playback software
  • Control: Fully Automated by SMPTE timecode
  • Score: Bruce Healey
  • Director and original conception: Barnette Ricci
  • New director: Carla Carlile
  • Heroes: Mickey Mouse, Peter Pan, Belle, Ariel, Snow White
  • Villains: The Evil Queen, Ursula, Flotsam, Jetsam, Chernabog, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Ursula, Jafar, Scar, Judge Claude Frollo, Hades, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Kaa, Monstro, and Pink Elephants on Parade
  • The 20-foot-tall (6.1 m) Ursula is no longer a part of the show. It was too costly to maintain. A budget was given to replace Ursula when Fantasmic! received its new barges in 2007, but the replacement never happened when the barges went over budget.
  • Show cost: approx. $75,000 per showing

Disney's Hollywood Studios version

As the lights fade, a female narrator gives a brief welcome and mentions of the powers of imagination. A very faint musical note is heard, swelling and growing into a dramatic chord in the complete darkness. Once the chord strikes, two tall columns rise on stage left and right, with roving spotlights, until finally, Mickey appears centre stage. He conducts various water fountain effects, until bringing up the giant water-mist screens, which, in conjunction with a few flares, fade into the famous Sorcerer's Apprentice scene from Fantasia.

From there, the falling stars of the Sorcerer's Apprentice scene morph into flowers, and after a brief interlude, into a jungle scene. Elephants, giraffes, monkeys, birds, ostriches, rhinos, crocodiles, and cheetahs begin to herd in the mountain. Neon animals make noise and dance around on the island while Rafiki and monkeys do a dance on floats traveling across the water. Simba and Nala from The Lion King romp together. Next, a large Bubble Montage takes place, where scenes and characters from major classic animated Disney movies appear in floating bubbles. Scenes from The Lion King, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland, Hercules, Pinocchio, Aladdin, Mulan, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Fantasia, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid pop and float across the screen.

An animated Monstro next appears onscreen, accompanied by a heavy musical score as he crashes through the waters. The chaotic sea morphs into one of the opening scenes from Pocahontas, with the ship caught in a storm. The screens disappear, and the lights immediately darken.

A loud cannon blast erupts. Live characters re-enact battle scenes from the film, Pocahontas. Governor John Ratcliffe and his fellow Englishmen fight against the Native Americans, followed by John Smith. As John Smith climbs to the very top of the mountain, a Native American warrior moves to strike Smith when Pocahontas arrives; the water screens spring back up, and Grandmother Willow appears, with a quote from the movie; the lights dim on the battle, and the "Colors of the Wind" scene plays out on the screens. The show then moves into classic dancing scenes with Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, Cinderella and Prince Charming, and Princess Jasmine and Aladdin.

Three small floats now arrive, with Belle and the Beast, Ariel and Prince Eric, and Snow White and her Prince each contained in their own float. As each float reaches the centre, the spotlight shines on it, with the accompanying signature melody from each movie — "Beauty and the Beast," "Part of Your World," and "Some Day My Prince Will Come", respectively.

The music takes on an ominous tone as Mickey's dream takes a turn for the worse. The Wicked Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on stage, calling for her magic mirror — which appears onscreen in animated form. The mirror informs the Queen that the three princesses are fairer than she, and that "in Mickey's imagination, beauty and love will always survive." Angered by this, she concocts a spell amidst pyrotechnics and other special effects, and turns herself into a hag. Upon being told by the Magic Mirror that she now has the power to control Mickey's mind, she invokes some of the most infamous Disney villains:

Jafar uses his magic to send Mickey to the Cave of Wonders. After escaping a wave of lava, Mickey encounters Jafar, who transforms into a giant black cobra appearing on both the stage and the mist screens. Seeing a magic lamp, Mickey rubs it, assuming it will help him. Unfortunately, Jafar is transformed into a genie and calls upon Hades (Hercules) and Chernabog (Fantasia) with the latter summoning the spirits from the dead.

On stage, Mickey encounters Maleficent, who transforms into a 40-foot-tall fire-breathing dragon that sets the waters ablaze. Guests as far as halfway back in the theater can feel the heat from the fire. Mickey, now in his Brave Little Tailor outfit, manages to create a wall of water around the island, smothering the flames and defeating the dragon. He destroys the villains using the power of his imagination and his sword (similar to The Sword in the Stone). Maleficent also dies as the water splashes with a large firework bang. All is quiet until Tinker Bell appears and flies to restore the mountain. Magical stars sparkle in the mountain as the Mark Twain River Boat approaches. Then a spark of pyrotechnics ignites from the riverboat, revealing Mickey controlling the boat.

As it glides past the audience, various Disney characters appear aboard the River Boat, dancing with golden streamers. A celebratory atmosphere prevails amid a flurry of fireworks. With another flash of pyrotechnics, Mickey appears atop the highest point of the mountain as the Sorcerers Apprentice as fireworks, fire, and water light up the stage. As the finale concludes, Mickey disappears from the top of the mountain with another spark of pyrotechnics, a small explosion on the main stage and simultaneously reappears in his shiny tuxedo suit. A small applause from the crowd and Mickey says, "Some imagination, huh? Ha ha!" Pyrotechnics shoot out of the main stage and barges on the moat, he vanishes one last time to the final notes of the music while a cone of lights and searchlights bright up the stage for a few seconds. All turns dark once again and the show has concluded.

Attraction facts

  • Official debut: October 15, 1998
  • Location: Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • Show length: 27 minutes
  • Producers: Walt Disney Entertainment (in conjunction with Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Imagineering)
  • Executive producer: Ron Logan
  • Score: Bruce Healey
  • Director: Barnette Ricci
  • Heroes: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Rafiki, Hercules, Pocahontas, Disney Princesses
  • Villains: The Evil Queen, Maleficent, Monstro, Chernabog, Cruella de Vil, Ursula, Jafar, Scar, Governor John Ratcliffe, Judge Claude Frollo, Captain Hook, Hades.
  • Show cost: Estimated at $45,000 per showing

Alternate show

The Florida version has a four-minute-long substitute show, colloquially named Taste of Fantasmic!, that plays when inclement weather prohibits the presentation of the regular show. The alternative show does not showcase any of the performers, floats, puppets or the mechanical dragon, due to the dangerous conditions that are posed to the performers because of the possibility of rain accumulating on the stage. Instead, the ancillary show is a brief summation of the conventional show; including a fountain display synchronized to "Little April Showers", a sequence integrating the "Night on Bald Mountain" music, and a finale orchestrated with all of the usual pyrotechnics and musical fanfare from the original show's conclusion.

Tokyo DisneySea version

The show begins with the tune of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" as out of the stars, Sorcerer Mickey emerges on a tower of stars in a comet. The new theme song, "Imagination" plays as Mickey conducts the water fountains and images of different characters appear on the tower. The music shifts into the traditional Fantasmic! theme and weaves into "Sorcerer's Apprentice" as Mickey conducts the stars and sea and calls on the Magic Brooms. The waters rise and Ariel enters vocalizing "Part of Your World", as Crush and his sea turtle pack from Finding Nemo swim in the background. The dancing fish from Fantasia's "Nutcracker Suite" also appear as does Jiminy Cricket in his bubble, which pops and fills the scene with bubbles.

Mickey's eyes appear confused in the dark and the show enters as the show progresses into a jungle environment. While Tarzan and Jane Porter appear swinging on the projection tower, floats featuring giant inflatable versions of Baloo, King Louie, Pumbaa and a young Simba appear along with a floating Kaa. A medley of music from Tarzan, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King plays, eventually building up into the "Circle of Life" scene.

However, when Rafiki is about to hold up Simba, Stitch appears instead (similar to the "Inter-Stitch-als") and the music transitions into an electric guitar version of "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" with Stitch conducting the water while Angel pilots Stitch's red speeder shooting plasma blasts. Mickey appears again, accompanied by the show's theme song and "When You Wish Upon A Star" and sets the stage for an appearance by the Genie singing "Friend Like Me" as well as the scene of "A Whole New World". As Aladdin and Jasmine fly off, the music segues into Cinderella and a sequence based on the Disney Princesses.

After the Princess medley, Mickey encounters the Magic Mirror. Mickey asks the Magic Mirror if he's the greatest sorcerer of all and the Mirror tells him to look closer and deeper into the mirror. The Mirror and the Evil Queen then cast a spell trapping Mickey inside, allowing the villains to take control, each one appearing within the mirror. The Queen (now as the Old Hag) calls on the assistance of Ursula (singing "Poor Unfortunate Souls") and Chernabog (whose appearance is accompanied with a composition of "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Hellfire"). The Queen laughs at the power of Mickey's imagination and the last villain emerges from the mirror: Maleficent who shows the power of her imagination by turning into her dragon form. Mickey defeats Maleficent with his magic wand and the power of his imagination. He falls back into his sleeping body and with a wave of Tinker Bell's wand, the show moves into the finale, with a reprise of the song and many of the show's other characters appearing on the barges, including classic Mickey and company. The barges stop and Sorcerer Mickey reappears on the tower, clad in a glowing, white, fiber-optic reflecting robe to conduct the final pyrotechnics and fountains as the music builds. Mickey then remarks "Some Imagination, huh?" and disappears, with a few notes of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" theme and the final fanfare. The tower takes on the appearance of the Sorcerer's Hat and the exit music plays.

Attraction facts

  • Official debut: April 28, 2011
  • Location: Mediterranean Harbor, Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Disney Resort
  • Show length: approx. 23 minutes
  • Sponsorship: NTT DoCoMo
  • Producers:
  • Executive producer:Roger Heartsner
  • Technical Director Darren J. Wilkie
  • Production Manager Michelle A. Tritt
  • Score: Don L. Harper
  • Original Fantasmic! Theme & Exit Theme: Composed by Bruce Healey
  • Soundtrack: Recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, London, England, UK
  • Director: Steve Davison
  • Heroes: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Clarice, Marie, Berlioz, Toulouse, Ariel, Prince Eric, Crush, The dancing fish, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto, Baloo, King Louie, Simba, Mufasa, Rafiki, Pumbaa, Tarzan, Jane, Stitch, Angel, Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Cinderella, Prince Charming, Princess Aurora, Prince Phillip, Snow White, the Prince, Dopey, Belle, the Beast, Tiana, Prince Naveen
  • Villains: Maleficent, the Evil Queen/Witch, Jafar, Hades, Captain Hook, Pegleg Pete, Ursula, the Queen of Hearts, Heffalumps and Woozles, Emperor Zurg, Lotso, Stinky Prospector, Shere Khan, Scar, Ronno, Honest John, Gideon, Chernabog, Monstro, Bruce, Syndrome, Stromboli, Oogie Boogie, the Headless Horseman, Cruella De Ville, Hopper, Mother Gothel, Dr. Facilier, Governor Ratcliffe, Frollo, Ratigan, Madame Medusa, Madam Mim, Professor Zündapp, Pink Elephants, the Ringmaster, Maxim Horvath, Yzma, the White Witch, Speckles, and many others.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for the Disneyland show was included in the 2015 release of Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Disneyland.

Disneyland production (original)

  • Conceived and directed by Barnette Ricci
  • Produced by Bruce Healey
  • Score composed/arranged by Bruce Healey
  • Engineer: Don Dorsey

Disney's Hollywood Studios production

  • Conceived and directed by Barnette Ricci
  • Score composed/arranged by Bruce Healey
  • Soundtrack produced by Bruce Healey
  • Executive vice president of entertainment: Ron Logan
  • Album executive producer: Doug Strawn
  • Album produced by Bruce Healey
  • Recorded and mixed by Paul Freeman
  • Soundtrack editing, sound effects, and surround sound design by Paul Freeman
  • Music production manager: Daren Ulmer
  • Album coordinator: Ted Ricketts

Tokyo DisneySea production

Voice cast

Disneyland

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Japanese version (Tokyo DisneySea):

External links

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