With Fantasmic! returning to Disneyland Park this summer, Disneyland has been previewing some of the changes to the show that have been devised while it was under hiatus due to the construction of Star Wars Land. While they promise that the heart of the show will remain the same, they have teased new sequences that will presumably replace previous units.
Aladdin and Jasmine will float over a bed of fog on their flying carpet. Disneyland even shared an image of what that will look like. It appears that Captain Jack Sparrow is taking over for Peter Pan as he helms a ghostly pirate ship. There will also be appearences by characters from The Lion King and Finding Nemo. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled will join the Disney couples segment, but it unknown if they will be replacing one of the existing couples (Ariel & Eric, Belle & The Beast, Snow White & her prince).
Disneyland also promised new technical enhancments including projection mapping, such as that used during Disneyland Forever, being added to the Tom Sawyer Island stage. In addition, all of the lighting, fountains, and water screens have been upgraded.
While it is always dangerous to start tinkering with a classic experience like Fantasmic!, I am excited to see how these new elements may refresh the 25-year-old show. While we wait, here are some fun facts about the show provided by the Disneyland Resort.
- Central to the magic of Fantasmic! are the three mist screens, each 60 feet wide by 30 feet tall, upon which the films are projected.
- New scenes will feature songs such as “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World” from Disney’s animated classic, Aladdin.
- Captain Jack Sparrow and a crew of ghost pirates man an eerie pirate ship that appears on the Rivers of America. These professional stunt performers execute all the spectacular duels and falls.
- Each night, more than 100 cast and crew members bring Fantasmic! to life, in the 23-minute show.
- As part of the Fantasmic! story, the wicked Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty will rise to a height of 45 feet in 17 seconds, before transforming into the dragon.
- The dragon is a fully animated three-dimensional design that replicates the movements of the dragon in Sleeping Beauty. The dragon is 45 feet tall by 28 feet wide and weighs approximately 18,000 pounds.
- The dragon lights the Rivers of America on fire for 25 seconds.
- Approximately 9,000 guests can view “Fantasmic!” at each performance. The audience is approximately 70 feet from the main stage on Tom Sawyer Island.
- Water effects include 21 fountains and six “whale tails” in the scene when Monstro the whale charges across the Rivers of America.
- At the beginning of the show, two light towers appear on either side of the main stage. During the day, these towers rest 26 feet underground. They rise to a height of 40 feet in less than a minute.
- The audio surrounding the Fantasmic! spectators is created by four speaker stacks on Tom Sawyer Island and three on the mainland.
- Kaa, the conniving snake from The Jungle Book who slithers across the Fantasmic! stage, is 100 feet long.
- Fantasmic! premiered to the public on May 15, 1992, at Disneyland.
- An enhanced version of that original “Fantasmic” presentation, featuring digital projections and the spectacular new 45-foot-tall dragon, premiered June12, 2009.
- The main stage on Tom Sawyer Island, including underground housing for many special effects, was specially built for “Fantasmic!” By day, it is a boat dock and “cider mill” visited by guests on the island.
- In 1992, the original estimate for the prospective audience size was 6,500. Spectators, however, found every space they could and the average number of guests per performance was 11,000 that first summer.
- Within days, the area was re-landscaped to accommodate more guests in the viewing areas. “Fantasmic!” was scheduled for three shows per night that year, and extended to four shows on July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Before summer 1993 arrived, the walkways and planters in New Orleans Square had been redesigned in the “terrace” style from which today’s guests view the show.
- A different version of Fantasmic! premiered in October 1998 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios) at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.