FANTASMIC 20THÂ ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Itâ€™s been a while since I covered anything Disney Park related. I havenâ€™t talked about the parks since Haunted Mansion Month. Now Iâ€™m making up for lost time by looking at a nighttime spectacular that has amazed audiences for the past 20 years!!!!!!! It all started when the Entertainment division of the Disney Parks wanted to use the space of the Rivers of America in Disneyland more effectively. So they called upon Walt Disney Imagineering to come up with a show that was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. The show would be extremely ambitious utilizing water fountains similar to the Bellagio fountains, fireworks, other pyrotechnics, water screens, major lighting plans, and gigantic animatronic characters. Imagineering also went to Walt Disney Feature Animation to cut all the clips of the animated films together to project it on the water screens. With top notch production values an absolutely beautiful musical score by Bruce Healey and Barnette Ricci and a simple yet timeless story the event where â€œgood clashes with evil in a nighttime spectacularâ€ called Fantasmic was an instant humongous success at Disneyland when it opened in 1992! The show is so popular that the Rivers of America area becomes extremely crowded at the time of the show. It was so crowded they decided to have two showings a few hours apart! A few years after the huge success of Fantasmic in Anaheim the show was reworked and extended for its release in Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios in 1998 and then in April of 2011 the show was given a massive revision when it was brought over to Tokyo Disney Sea! For a show to be released 3 times across the globe and the effects ever so slightly updated throughout the years, but still be basically the same exact show and last 20 years without any signs of slowing down whatsoever is a HUGE accomplishment! HAPPY 20THÂ ANNIVERSARY FANTASMIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The story of Fantasmic is a simple yet very engaging one. Mickey Mouse has invited us to witness the powers of his imagination and to share the â€œmysteries and magic, visions fantasticâ€ with the audience to show them the power of dreams and magic within them. We are treated to various scenes based on Disney films whether they are onstage or projected on the water screen. About halfway through the show the Evil Queen appears and learns that the powers of love, kindness and justice will always survive in one way, shape or form if it resides in the hearts and minds of those that believe. The Evil Queen is very upset by this and turns into the witch and summons the forces of evil to invade Mickeyâ€™s Imagination! Once the forces of evil have their segment Maleficent appears and turns into the dragon and the animatronic dragon sets the River on fire and Mickey fights back and kills the villains and brings peace to his imagination displaying this victory in an unforgettable finale!!!!!!!!!! As simple as it may be it gives much needed purpose the show and it makes everything all the more timeless and is a great way of giving a framework for which the spectacle can structure itself with.
DISNEYLAND:Â The Disneyland one is the first and simplest version of the show. In my opinion less is more in this case. Iâ€™ve seen all 3 versions (been to only Disneylandâ€™s in person) and I think that this one handled the transitions a little bit better and it also had a rock version of Pink Elephants on Parade and used the Colombia ship for a Peter Pan sequence! How awesome is that???!!!!!!!!!!
WALT DISNEY WORLD:Â Some would argue that this show is better because itâ€™s longer and an actual theatre was built so they could control the environment better and they added a lot more villains and a bubble montage of all the Disney animated features. Fine. But instead of a Peter Pan sequence they had a Pocahontas sequence. Really?? I may like Pocahontas as an okay movie, but to give it this big sequence in Fantasmic is weird!!!!!! The main thing that bugs me is that the Pocahontas sequence just ends without any real conclusion. The Peter Pan one actually had Peter defeat Hook and that had a more definitive ending. Other than that the show is still pretty much the same show.
TOKYO DISNEY SEA:Â This is where the most changes occur. The Show actually takes place in a pool similar to the Lagoon in EPCOT so the action happens in the middle and the show starts with Sorcerer Mickey conjuring spells on a gigantic Sorcerer hat and then it goes into a whole â€œPart of Your Worldâ€ sequence (YAY!). Most of the projections are actually projected onto the hat in the center of the pool as opposed to on water. The Jungle sequence is now a combination of the jungle themed Disney movies of Jungle Book, Lion King, and Tarzan. The scene then shifts to Stitch appearing on top of the hat playing â€œHawaiian Roller Coaster Rideâ€ on an electric guitar. I think we see the female experiment named Angel driving a boat in this sequence. After that sequence we get an interlude with the theme song and then the genie appears and sings â€œFriend Like meâ€ in Japanese. Then we are treated to a Princess Medley with projections of Princesses in inflatable crystal balls. Then the villain section appears where the Magic Mirror appears and Mickey asks the Mirror â€œwho is the most powerful sorcerer of them all?â€ The Mirror tells Mickey to stare closer and closer into his reflection and eventually gets trapped inside the mirror leaving the villains to wreak havoc outside. The lineup of villains is just like Disneylandâ€™s with the Witch, Ursula, Chernabog, and Maleficent! The cool thing is that the Dragon actually comes out of the Mirror and breathes fire and sets the water on fire. Mickey defeats her and the villains die. We are then treated to a fairly standard Fantasmic finale. The show is very good and the new choices are definitely creative, but there is one problem I have with the show. Stay tuned for that one.
The music to this show is absolutely beautiful. The theme is so perfect and so timeless that I can listen to it over and over again! I needed to buy this soundtrack and I did! The composers Bruce Healey and Barnette Ricci should be proud of themselves!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately there was no clear and clean piano version so I could only find a synthetic piano one. Enjoy!
This is a great theme and it just builds and builds and then just lets go and releases all the awesome once Mickey appears in Sorcerer garb. A perfect finale!
For those of you that were having trouble with the audio in the video for Tokyoâ€™s then here is the entire show with CD quality!
This is my biggest problem with Tokyoâ€™s Fantasmic. Itâ€™s this revision of the original theme song. Itâ€™s way too contemporary for my tastes. I know the original theme has had rock elements added to it in the post show exit music, but the timelessness of the theme went down to the melody itself. The original theme is included, but is nowhere near as prominent or important as it was in the US shows. That theme is the heart and soul of the show because it connects to everything. It makes the effects more magical, the story more meaningful and the music timeless. Here it loses a lot of that. Itâ€™s good, but nowhere near the excellence of the original theme.
To me no trip to a Disney park is complete without seeing this show. This show is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! HOLY CRAP AWESOME!!!!!!!!! BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MAGICAL!!!!!!!! It has an engaging story, beautiful effects, beautiful music and is just amazing all around. It has to have this sense of magic to be around for 20 years and still be so popular that it still needs to be shown in two showings even if the performances are only on weekends in the offseason. Itâ€™s so awesome that Disney has tried to copy this multiple times, but theyâ€™ve never quite been able to duplicate it. The closest theyâ€™ve ever come is in the California Adventure show World of Color. While World of Color is a great show if one strips away all the beautiful color and spectacle all you get is a very incoherent clip show of movies we not only have already seen, but also own on DVD. Fantasmic gave a purpose to the clips and characters that were showcased to us and it made much better transitions and use of the effects and used these characters in a new way and in some cases brought them to life before our eyes (Dragon Maleficent animatronic). Fantasmic has more than likely has influenced other Disney projects such as House of Mouse and Kingdom Hearts. Fantasmicâ€™s legacy is astounding and has achieved a monumental milestone of 20 years and hopefully it has another 20 years! HAPPY 20THÂ ANNIVERSARY FANTASMIC!!!!!
VERDICT: 6 imaginations out of 5