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So Fantasmic! turns 20 this year. Wow! I very distinctly remember when Fantasmic! opened. It was a huge deal back then. You know, 20 years ago, before we had flying cars and teleporters.
Which is to say exactly like Disneyland is right now, except it was less expensive to get in and the popular hairstyles required significantly more hair product than they do now.
Anyway, at the time it was revolutionary. The first show to project on mist screens of water–brilliant!
You saw this in the last entry, if you were paying attention
It’s still kind of revolutionary now. Also, when Fantasmic! first opened, the dragon was basically a head on a crane that moved around and spit out fire and sparklers and tried to look really intimidating. Except in its very early days, the dragon caught itself on fire, and a quickie repair was done with what looked like a bunch of black GLAD trash bags. The first time I saw Fantasmic! was a few days, no more than a week, after this unfortunate incident happened. So it was totally awesome but it did leave you thinking, “Are those GLAD trash bags?”
Anyway, Fantasmic! got a new dragon.
So there I am at the Annual Passholder event which I thought was going to be not very crowded but turned out to be crowded. About an hour before the show I staked out my spot. I actually got a great spot for viewing the show, just a few people behind the rope so I could see it.
Waiting for the show to start
Unfortunately, as you will see, I was not standing in an ideal area for photographing the show. There were a few lights pointed directly at me, and a nice big light post in my way. Oops.
Also, I should probably mention that Fantasmic takes place on Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Rivers of America and it’s a show with Mickey Mouse and stuff. The show is basically Mickey Mouse’s dream and his imagination and stuff and then a cool dragon gets killed and the river light on fire and Beauty and the Beast sail by dancing on a barge.
Not necessarily in that order.
Given that this is the 20th anniversary, the opening of Fantasmic! included a montage of coverage from the original opening of Fantasmic!. This included news coverage, construction shots, and so on.
A construction shot
I think these short snippets really capture what a Big Deal Fantasmic! was when it opened. Nobody had done anything like it before. Showing movies on a screen of water? Combining live people with all of that stuff? Fireworks? A dragon that may or may not light itself on fire? GENIUS!
What was really nice was that the end of the intro gave a roll of credits for everyone involved in the original production.
As you can clearly see in this picture
The story is essentially this:
Mickey Mouse kicks the show off by directing the water.
Then the screens show pictures of Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. At this point you’re part of Mickey’s imagination, and it’s apparently kind of a strange place to be.
Barges of neon colored monkeys go by, while on the island, live dancers take the shape of different flowers and bring out Kaa, the big snake from The Jungle Book.
And it’s all blacklit and things
Naturally this leads to a rather hallucinogenic rendition of Pink Elephants On Parade from Dumbo, and the mist screens feature really strange-looking and somewhat scary dancing elephants just like from Dumbo the move.
From this, a clear segue proceeds to Pinocchio, where you see Pinocchio and a couple of dancers hanging on strings.
Not a bad picture, actually
Back on the mist screens, we see Jiminy Cricket swirling around in the water with a lot of bubbles looking completely panicked before being swallowed by Monstro, who is also big and scary. While Monstro is just on the screen, there are a lot of splashes and stuff in the water that make you think that Disneyland has imported Shamu from SeaWorld or something. But fear not, it’s just an illusion.
But next comes the Columbia!
It’s a nice big boat, and I haven’t been on it for years
Onboard are Peter Pan and the gang, fighting the good fight against Captain Hook and the evil but bumbling pirates.
Captain Hook gets quite the stunt role in this feature.
As Theo would say, “there he is–up there!”
However, the Columbia is followed by Captain Hook’s old nemesis…
The goofy-looking crocodile
Then comes the dancing princes and princesses on barges! Obviously! The colors go from plain blue to multi-colored. Here’s a collection of images:
Yeah, sorry, my photography kind of stinks there.
Anyway, then the evil queen from Snow White shows up, and boy is she pissed.
She’s in the middle there–I swear
She gets her panties in a bundle after this guy:
says that pretty much everyone else is more attractive than she is. So she turns herself into the old hag and then curses poor Mickey and turns his dream into a “nightmare Fantasmic!”
Then Ursula joins the party.
Here to gloat, are you?
Ursula turns into that really scary demon dude from Fantasia, which is freaky.
Then I have a number of pictures that look like this:
I AM AN AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!!
Maleficent comes out, and she’s a total badass.
With, like, pyrotechnics and stuff
This is the dragon that formerly looked, at one point, to be covered in GLAD trash bags. I think this one’s a big improvement.
The dragon is all into fire and stuff
This dragon is affectionately known to fanatics as Murphy. As in Murphy’s Law, since Murphy the dragon tends to have a lot of things go wrong with it.
More of Murphy
Mickey vanquishes Murphy with his sword. Murphy is not pleased.
Once Mickey does away with Murphy, the other villains on the projected screen die some sort of off-stage but surely horrible death.
To celebrate, the Mark Twain comes out, sprinklers a’blazin’.
It’s so jolly!
The Mark Twain is driven by none other than Steamboat Willie himself!
And there are other various Disney characters onboard.
It’s like a totally awesome party.
Then Mickey comes back and he’s like “some imagination, hunh?” and he directs all kinds of cool pyrotechnics.
And that, ladies and gents, is Fantasmic!
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