To celebrate its 25th year, Fantasmic! returned to Disneyland on July 17 with soft openings on the 15th and 16th. With show updates and technology upgrades, the show is even better than it was a few years ago. Of course, it isn’t the same show so many have loved for so long, and the soundtrack has changed to fit the new show. It will take some getting used to for some, but we loved it!
The best part of the new show is Mickey’s presence in more of the scenes. In lots of dreams you can see yourself, so it was nice to see Mickey in his own dreams. Plus, he’s the star of the show. It makes the show feel more about him, and less about a compilation of Disney moments.
New projectors and a screen lifted up above the cabin make the projections much clearer than before. The detail is much better and they can show a lot more. To match other recent shows, the projections show a lot of detail over the entire cabin. It’s more than just an image that says “Look, we used a projection!” The images extend the physical props and other effects going on around them to enhance the show.
The score is a little different with the inclusion of more scenes. It doesn’t seem to flow quite as well as the original soundtrack. But when there are slight changes, I expect it to feel off the first few times. When I get a new recording of a good rock song and the guitar solo is different, it feels strange but doesn’t surprise me. That’s the kind of feeling we get when listening to the new score. I have the music basically memorized and can sing along with the original , so I notice all the changes. It’s not bad, it’s just new.
The pirates scene is well done. There had been rumors of projection mapping being used to make the skeletons, but it appears that was left out and costumes were used instead. The costumes look amazing though. A young woman appears in the scene and I’m not quite sure who she is and how she fits into the story. It would have been nice to see a character from the movies like Elizabeth or Angelica.
The dancing monkeys were given new, more modern costumes and they looked good.
The dragon scene is better than ever. The sparks coming out of Maleficent were incredible. Adding Jasmine and Aladdin to the show is truly magical. Hearing “A Whole New World” and seeing them fly on their magic carpet is beautiful, especially for those that miss seeing them in the old Aladdin show at the Hyperion Theater. It is really foggy and difficult to see, so I wish they would make a little less fog to make the more visible.
Replacing Snow White with Rapunzel is also a welcome change. The music flows well at this point and it was fun to see a newer Princess added to the show even though we are sad to see Snow White go.
Overall, the show had the same magical feel it has always had. Disney did a wonderful job upgrading and updating the show without taking away from its original feel.