There’s nothing like seeing all the Disney characters in one place at the same time — especially if they are all teaming up to fight the forces of evil, just like in the popular Disney’s Hollywood Studios show Fantasmic!.
That billboard alone is enough to make you want to catch this epic battle of good and evil. Fantasmic! is a 30-minute firework and water show with over 50 performers and a giant mechanical dragon. But even with it being as awesome as it is, many guests wonder if it is worth their time to include Fantasmic! in their daily Park plans.
To answer that we will take a hard look at a few different factors including the story, the characters, the special effects, the viewing area, and the showtimes. Fantasmic! first opened in Disneyland in 1992, but it was refurbished in 2016 and re-opened in 2017. You can also watch versions of Fantasmic! in Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World . We’re going to focus on Florida’s version of this iconic show.
The Fantasmic! Story
First we’ll look at the story of Fantasmic!. The basic story in all the Fantasmic! shows is the same, we enter Mickey Mouse’s dream and travel through different realms fight against the forces of evil culminating in a battle with the dragon form of Maleficent. Similar to Mickey’s Philharmagic, the story isn’t very strong, but it gives us a chance to visit different Disney characters. If you are looking for a thoughtfully-crafted story, this probably isn’t for you. But if you are just looking for a fun 30 minute experience with cameos from your favorite Disney characters then it’s worth your time.
Tons of different Disney characters appear throughout the story. In the Disney World version there is a sequence that involves characters from Pocahontas. When the Disney World version opened in 1998, Pocahontas was only three years old and still pretty popular. With the addition of Governor Ratcliffe, John Smith, and Pocahontas, the show will fill any adult who grew up belting out Colors of the Wind with a wave of nostalgia.
The climax of the story features Disney Villains from all kinds of Disney movies, including some rarely seen like Hades from Hercules. Throughout the performance we see other characters make appearances from a variety of Disney movies including Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. Most of them appear on the ferries that float through the end of the show. If you want to see from afar a large selection of Disney characters (but you don’t need to meet them in person), Fantasmic will do that for you.
The Special Effects
The special effects are everything you’ve come to expect from a Disney nighttime show. There are fireworks and explosions, water projections, smoke effects, and a gigantic mechanical dragon. All of the special effects are pretty standard for Disney and aren’t too bad. The water projections at Disney World are a little lackluster and not nearly as nice as the ones in California Adventure. The stand out effect is definitely the mechanical dragon which is modeled after the dragon form of the evil fairy Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Turning into a dragon is probably one of the coolest skills a Disney villain can have. The dragon moves its head, roars, and shoots flames at Mickey Mouse. The two have a stand off in the end where, of course, Mickey uses his magic powers and wins.
The Viewing Area
Now we are going to look at the viewing area for the show. When Fantasmic! opened in Hollywood Studios, they built a whole theater just for the show. People start lining up to get into the theater usually 90 minutes before the show begins. The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is a standard round theater with uncomfortable bench seats. It can get crowded and be uncomfortable if you don’t like feeling enclosed or large crowds. There is also a dessert party option available in Hollywood Studios that guarantees you seating for the show.
Finally we’ll look at the showtime. Fantasmic! only shows at night in the park. Since Fantasmic! takes place in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater the rest of Hollywood Studios will usually empty a little during the show since the theater holds almost seven thousand people at its maximum capacity. The show only happens at the end of the night and other than that the theater lays empty. We feel like they are maybe missing out by not doing a middle of the day show that would use the theater. It could also spread out crowds a little more in the middle of the day if they did a daytime show (plus, families with young kids could knock this attraction out while the kids are still relatively energetic).
Taking into account the fantasy of seeing all these characters together and the energy of the music and special effects, Fantasmic! is definitely worth seeing at least once. Whether you want to use subsequent nighttime visits to the Park to watch the show over and over is a matter or preference — or a matter of practicality. With popular attractions perhaps seeing reduced waits during the nighttime show, it might be worth it for ride fans to use the Fantasmic! show time to fit in a first, second, or third ride on their favorite attractions instead.
How do you feel about Fantasmic? Let us know in the comments.
If you're ready for more tips and info from Hollywood Studios, check out the links below!
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