Ryno, from our Orlando team, and I had a chance to check it out on the official opening night. While some of the updates were a nice change, others didn’t go over as well.
The changes to the effects, the fountains, projectors and water screens make the show look beautiful, however, the updated music seemed to be too much of a change from the original…as if you were watching a “pop” version of the classic Fantasmic!
The show now also includes a great deal of projection mapping, which works great on the cabin on Tom Sawyer Island, but to create more space to project on, they’ve added a screen behind the cabin that looks awful when the show isn’t going on.
One of the major changes to the show came during the Disney princess section of the show. Snow White is no longer part of the show and has been replaced on her raft by Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder. In addition, Aladdin and Jasmine appear on their magic carpet before the other princesses float by on their rafts.
Neither of us had a problem with adding Rapunzel, but the additional Aladdin scene didn’t work well and slowed down the show. This was also one of the scenes where the updated music just didn’t work.
Another added scene is a brief moment from The Lion King that we thought turned out well, and we thought The Jungle Book scene that followed, including an updated Kaa, looked better than ever.
The one scene that we thought just didn’t work is the Pirates of Caribbean scene that replaced the Peter Pan scene aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia. This is the only live-action film represented in the show, and while the stunts were incredible, the scene just doesn’t fit.
Another change that I didn’t like was at the beginning of the villains section. Instead of transforming during the show, the Evil Queen starts as the old hag and the Magic Mirror does most of the talking, and at one point pulls Mickey into the mirror. The Magic Mirror has basically replaced the Evil Queen as the main villain, and I’m not sure it makes any sense.
Of course, at the end of the villains section, Mickey saves the day…with magic instead of a sword. I actually don’t really have a problem with that. It works.
The finale, as always, is beautiful. The classic music and Disney characters aboard the Mark Twain are there, along with some beautiful new lighting. It’s always a great way to end the show.
While some of the changes will take some getting used to, Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park is still a wonderful show. I’m sure that guests who don’t have the original to compare it to will enjoy it even more.
For more of our thoughts, be sure to check out the review we recorded immediately following the show.
Here’s the full show for your enjoyment!
Tom is the host and producer of the DIS Unplugged: Disneyland Edition podcast, plus Disneyland Editor of The DIS. He enjoys traveling with his wife and teenage son. At this point, their favorite destination is Alaska, with a FIFTH cruise there planned for the Summer of 2019. In his spare time he volunteers with Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and help found his son's former Cub Scout Pack. His favorite Disneyland attraction is Space Mountain.