While the show doesn’t o-fish-ally (officially, get it?) open until November 19th, Sunday the 5th marked the first "test showing" to the public. I’m told there was a VIP unveiling of the attraction on Friday, but this was the first chance for us common folk to check it out. Just before the show began, Anne Hamburger, executive vice president of Disney Creative Entertainment gave a short speech welcoming us and congratulating us on being the first ever audience for this show. She also pointed out that joining us for the show were a number of members of the Disney Creative Team, lining the back of the now fully-enclosed Theater In The Wild – former home of the beloved Tarzan Rocks show.
Now, I don’t want to go spoiling this one with a detailed review, as here is entirely too much to say about it, and all of it, I assure you, is good news. But what I will tell you is this: I went into this show a bit skeptical – skeptical because I wasn’t sure that this new Finding Nemo -The Musical was going to be able to live up to its predecessor. It’s not that I loved Tarzan Rocks, but I enjoyed it, and do miss its presence at DAK. I loved hearing the rockin’ sounds of the Phil Collins tunes come pouring out of that open-air Theater In The Wild as I passed by, tapping my foot to Terk scatting away to "Trashin’ The Camp." It was loud, it was upbeat, and most of all, it was fun. I mean, Dude… they had monkeys on roller blades – How cool is that?!?
Needless to say, I wasn’t entirely sold on the whole turning the theater into an enclosed structure, and making a musical out of Finding Nemo, using puppets no less. Now, nothing against Nemo – the movie is AMAZING, and I would never say a bad word against it in my life – but how on Earth did Disney plan on pulling this one off? Puppets… and a musical? No matter how I imagined it in my head, and believe you me I put plenty of thought into this, I couldn’t come up with anything other than a glorified version of what we see over at Disney-MGM Studios in Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m writing to you at this late-night hour, unable to sleep from the excitement, absolutely thrilled to admit to you that Disney’s creative genius has once again proved me so wrong that I literally hung my head in shame at ever having doubted them. This show is SO IMMENSELY COOL!!! Two thumbs WAY up! I also have to take this moment to apologize to the roller blading monkeys, but Nemo and crew are… I don’t even know – here I am, the guy who writes too much and seems to always have something to say, can’t even think of the right words to describe how I felt while watching this!
Just try and wrap your imagination around this for a heartbeat:
The puppeteers were the singers, and the singers were also the actors, and the actors were also themselves (and their characters, both at the same time!)… oh, and don’t forget the phenomenal visual and lighting effects, the pyrotechnics, the costumes, the characters, the creatures… and not to mention the aerialists.And oh-my-goodness, the soundtrack!!! I’m already guaranteeing you I will OWN that CD the first second I find it on the rack!
"Just go with the flowwwwwww-ohhh-ohhhh! Just go with the flow!"
Now I’m betting you just read that and went "Wha??? – Huh?" That’s right, you heard me – Nemo is a blast! You know what… just see the show for yourselves. It’s the only way you’re going to make any sense at all out of my jibberish. The point is this: The show commenced to an ample round of applause and some degree of supportive "break-a-leg" cheer. The show concluded to a standing ovation, an immense, feel-it-in-your-bones kind of cheer, and an overwhelming audience response that seemed to say as a collective group, "Once more… From the top!"
"Finding Nemo-The Musical" is a 30-minute show, performed several times daily. Admission to Theater in the Wild is included with regular Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park admission. Guest information is available by calling 407/824-4321 or by visiting disneyworld.com.
Don McCann made his first trip to WDW with his family back in January ’88 when he was three. He was raised a Disney fan, loving the parks and the movies alike, and was lucky enough to visit WDW every few years following his first trip. Once attending college in Daytona Beach, it was only a matter of time before he discovered the Season Pass, and soon became a dedicated weekend daytripper. This triggered something inside him that made him jump from being a Disney fan to a certifiable Disney Nut. Don currently holds an Annual Pass and visits almost every other weekend during the school year.