Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fantasmic ~ 20 Years and over 7,000 shows of Nighttime Magic and Imagination


Fantasmic

20 Years and over 7,000 shows of Nighttime Magic and Imagination
When I am telling a first time visitor to Disneyland about nighttime shows at Disneyland people always ask what IS Fantasmic? Is Fantasmic a live stage show, fireworks show, musical, light show, water show or movie? My answer is, “YES!” That answer gets quizzical looks every time.

The truth is Fantasmic is all of the above. There are all your favorite characters singing, dancing, plotting and fighting around the entire Rivers of America. Fireworks light up the night sky. Music pulls you into the story and tugs at your emotions. Lights flash and change highlighting the action going on. Water shoots up from all over the Rivers of America making shapes and becoming an actor in the show all by itself. Video is projected onto water screens interacting with the live action and the water itself!

This show is so huge both of the huge ships that call the Rivers of America are part of it and three of the Tom Sawyer Rafts pressed into service as moving stages. A large portion of Tom Sawyer’s Island is also the stage.

Not to give away the highlights or story line the story is as Mickey is sleeping and having wonderful good dreams, the evil characters decide to take his happy dreams and turn them into a Nightmare Fantasmic! This is a true good versus evil tale of adventure with all of the Classic Disney movies being represented.

The next question asked is, “where should we sit to watch the show?” I’m partial to right up against the water across from the main building on Tom Sawyer’s Island. Look for the Kodak Picture Spot sign and you are near. The main lighting and control tower will be right behind you. In truth you can “see” the show from anywhere on the shores of the Rivers of America. You may have a sideways view of what is going on the on the island but most of the video projected on the water screens is repeated around the river. Also the moving ships continue to have action all the way around the river.

Several years ago Disneyland got a new Maleficent Dragon for Fantasmic. The newer dragon is by far better looking and more articulate. She is stately and scary as she menaces Mickey and lights the Rivers of America on fire. Sadly she is also prone to more breakdowns than the old dragon, often being down for days or even weeks at a time. She has earned the nickname of Murphy, due to her temperamental nature. If something can go wrong it will eventually go wrong with Murphy. I’ve heard of fewer breakdowns with Murphy in recent months so maybe they have finally trained her better.

So if you are at Disneyland for several days/nights I highly suggest you head over to the New Orleans area and find yourself a spot on the Rivers of America for Fantasmic. If you have seen Fantasmic at WDW but not at DLR you will find the DLR version very different. Be aware that DLR does not have seating for this show. You will be sitting or standing in the walkways around the Rivers of America to view the show.

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