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07/15/17 - My first impressions of the new Fantasmic! at Disneyland.
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07/15/17 - My first impressions of the new Fantasmic! at Disneyland.

Hello everyone,

Everyone in attendance for the D23 Expo 2017 Parks and Resorts Presentation was able to pick up voucher to attend Fantasmic. The voucher allowed you to get a wristband for one of four shows (9:00pm or 10:30, Saturday or Sunday). The catch was you had to provide your own entrance ticket. I waited in the line to get a wristband, it took nearly 90 minutes from when I left the presentation until I had my wristband, so it was a slow process. I got the show time and date I wanted though.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • It was odd arriving at Disneyland after 7pm for me after being in the Convention center almost all day the previous two days. I took a brief look at the line board and wait times were on the mild side for a Saturday.

  • I ended up visiting with friends and sat in the second row on the ground just right of show center when looking at the island. The view was good but not the best for video or pictures since it was a sitting space. For regular shows this is a reserved area for the dining packages. I haven't sat on the ground in a long time for Fantasmic so it was a different experience for me. I much prefer to stand.

  • I have always viewed the original Disneyland version of Fantasmic! as the best Disney night time show. The Walt Disney World and even Tokyo DisneySea versions were no where near as good as the original. This modified version sits right up there with the original. When I heard they were tweaking the show during the lengthy down time I was curious what would happen. What debuted was a technically modern version of Fantasmic! with updates to the story throughout.

  • I thought the updated version of Fantasmic looked great and played well. The new tech used in the show made everything look great. Projection mapping has been integrated into the show and supports it well. The new water screens look incredibly sharp. The lighting and other effects looked better than new. I did not notice any improvement in audio quality.

  • There are several minor and a couple major changes to the show. I found them to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. Some are greeted with open arms and some with skepticism by some. On balance I thought the changes were equivalent to the original elements they replaced. My one complaint with the new additions is they keep choosing the same elements for all shows. The overlap between World of Color and Fantasmic continues to grow with these changes. I really would like to see unique IP used in the shows so you want to view both. Here is a quick list with some thoughts that popped to mind as I experienced the show on Saturday:
    • Opening - The new projectors and lighting really add to the wow factor of the opening. I have always enjoyed the opening sequence and these new effects add even more to it.
    • The monkeys on the barges have been replaced and now match the look of the DisneySea ones. I liked the classic look better. The new ones photograph easier but the original was more to my taste. Kaa and the projections on the island during this sequence look great!
    • Pirates of the Caribbean replaced Peter Pan. I was expecting a little more out of this sequence. Not sure what but it did not wow me. I found it a little odd that all other movie references in the show are animated films but this jumped to the live action. It seemed out of place to me. The costumes of the crew looked good, but were a little dark to see. Before you had a bright color for Hook and Pan that you could follow around the ship as it passed.
    • The screens and projections now include more Mickey clips as well as the Lion King, Finding Nemo and Aladdin (A Friend Like Me). Most of these are integrated cleanly into the show. The Pinocchio segment is gone, but a video clip does pay homage to it.
    • Aladdin and Jasmine appear on a magic carpet for a Whole New World. I was expecting more here too. The carpet did not come off as impressive to me. It was ok, but it did not add to the show experience for me.
    • During the princess medley Snow White has been replaced with Tangled on the middle barge. It is a swap, I liked having the original Disney princess front and center and it made more sense with the villain segment. But the Tangled pass is well done and looks good.
    • The transformation of the Evil Queen to the old hag is gone. She is just there on the stage now. This saves some time, but is a jump story wise.
    • I was surprised they did not rework the villain segment more. I thought for sure they would change the Ursula part since that float has not made the rounds in two decades or so.
    • The exit music is now from Tokyo DisneySea vs the classic. I miss the original, that was iconic. The new is not bad, just not the same feel to it.

Disneyland released the return dates for the Rivers of America, Railroad and Fantasmic:

  • Big Thunder Trail - Opened Thursday 6/8
  • Tom Sawyer Island - Opened Friday 6/16
  • Fantasmic Monday 7/17
  • Disneyland Railroad - Saturday 7/29
  • Rivers of America - Mark Twain, Sailing Ship Columbia and Canoes - Saturday 7/29

Here are some recent posts to the Geek's Blog:

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap – June 20-27, 2017

Disney Related Press Releases

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

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