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It All Started With The Carolwood Pacific: Fantasmic!


fantasmic - disney

Fantasmic! is a nighttime show at Disney Hollywood Studios and tells the story of an epic battle of good versus evil. The show opened at Hollywood Hills Amphitheater on October 15, 1998, and features Mickey Mouse as the star. It is important to note that it is a night show only, and the theater is an open-air with no overhead cover in the seating area.

The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater itself is absolutely beautiful and creates what I believe is the best environment to watch a show at Walt Disney World. The theater has a total capacity of 9,900 including standing room, which creates a great environment for the show. The main stage is surrounded by water and is built to look like a mountain that gives an amazing backdrop and stage for the show that plays out.

The 25 minute show uses a combination of live action theater, pyrotechnics, laser lights, and images projected onto dancing water screens to create one of the most exciting and thrilling shows! These effects combined with the stories of classic Disney characters creates one of the most immersive Disney experiences you can find. Prior to the show starting, I would definitely recommend heading up to the concession stands where there are a variety of snacks and drinks to choose from. Pick your favorite to snack on while you excitedly watch the show that is about to unfold!

fantasmic 2 - disneyFantasmic! starts out with Mickey in a dream where he is acting as a conductor creating music and causing water to shoot out of the lake. As the water shoots higher and higher, scenes from classic Disney movies are projected onto the sheet of water in the air. This part of the show portrays the “good” characters and movies that are shown include Fantasia, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio.

After the Pinocchio scene featuring Jiminy Cricket and Monstro the whale, a cannon erupts and the lights shine back onto the mountain stage to reveal that the characters from Pocahontas have taken it over. A fight soon breaks out and characters from the film re-enact an exciting battle scene that features some amazing pyrotechnics and stunts on the mountain. Pay close attention to when the Native American’s shoot down Governor Ratcliffe’s men off the mountain, as it is one of my favorite parts of the show!

This action scene progresses and Mickey’s dream starts taking a turn for the worse eventually becoming a nightmare when the Evil Queen casts a spell that unleashes Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Scar, Frollo, Jafar, Maleficent and Hades to ruin Mickey’s dream. The villains are portrayed with a combination of projected images and live action on the mountain including a scene from Aladdin where Jafar turns into a 100 foot long black cobra. Mickey is able to defeat Jafar, but the end of the nightmare is not yet over.

The climax of the good versus evil battle occurs when Maleficent forms into a dragon and tries to finally put an end to Mickey’s dreams. The dragon is absolutely huge at an astounding 40 feet and weighing in at 32,000 pounds. My favorite thing about this scene is that the show does such a good job of creating the sense that the dragon is real and that it appears out of thin air. As the dragon form of Maleficent takes on Mickey by breathing fire and setting the entire lake ablaze, Mickey finds a sword and is able to put an end to the nightmare that has unfolded to conquer evil once again. After defeating the villains, Mickey and other beloved Disney characters ride out on the Steamboat Willie river boat and soon after that, Mickey appears at the top of the mountain as fireworks explode in the distance for a perfect Disney ending.

Glow - disneyThis is by far my favorite show at Walt Disney World, and every time I watch it, I have chills tingling down my spine the whole show. It is a combination of all the amazing classic Disney movies, and the show always has me on the edge of my seat no matter how many times I have seen it. Recently, Disney has incorporated a new technology called Glow with the Show which allows guests to become part of the show by purchasing Disney merchandise that lights up and is synced to the music and lighting of the show. The merchandise that is made for the show include Mickey ears, Mickey gloves, a Mickey wand, and Minnie ears, and the result is truly awesome as the crowd around you erupts in vibrant bright colors that dance to the music.

Interesting facts:

  • The lake surrounding the stage is actually only 1.5 feet deep but still holds 1.9 million galloons!
  • Several restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios offer a dinning package where you receive guaranteed preferred seating for the show for no additional price. The restaurants include Hollywood Brown Derby, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and Hollywood & Vine.
  • The mountain stage reaches a peak of 59 feet, which is the fourth tallest mountain at WDW!

(Photos ©Disney)

I want to know what your favorite part of Fantasmic! is or any comments you have about the show!  Comment below and keep the conversation going!

Alex Larson is currently a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, he has loved Disney since he was born.  Making annual trips to Walt Disney World since the age of three, the parks have become a very special place to him.  His love for the parks is due to the memories he has had, attractions, the endless things to explore, the food and the sense of happiness every Disney fan feels while there. You can follow him on twitter at @a_larson22