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Disney, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Sea World
Who in their right mind would sit for a minimum of one hour in very humid temperatures on very hard bench seats, just to watch a 25 minute show with a mouse?
The answer? Anyone who has either experienced this show before, or who has had it recommended as a “must do” by friends they can trust.
Hollywood Studios is the Disney theme park that plays host to this magnificent, awe inspiring production. Depending on the park opening hours, there are either one or two shows per evening. The timing of the show/s also vary according to the time of the year as one the integral parts of the show is that it is performed in the dark.
The location for Fantasmic is the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre which is located on the right hand side, at the end of Sunset Boulevard. If you arrive at Tower of Terror then you know that you have missed the entrance to the theatre.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the show, it is recommended that you arrive at least one hour in advance of the start time. The Amphitheatre can seat 6,500 guests with a further 2,500 capacity for guests to stand. You will be amazed at how quickly the large, specially designed venue fills up.
One option is to make use of the Fantasmic Priority Seating Dinner package. Upon arrival at the park, head for the Guest Information Board and make priority seating arrangements for one of the restaurants. After dinner, you will receive a voucher for the VIP show seating.
Whilst whiling away the time before the show starts, there is piped music to listen to, numerous cast members walking up and down the stone stepped aisles with drinks and other merchandise aimed to keep the smaller guests amused during the long, sticky wait. Wands, sorcerers hats and colour changing LCD messaging necklaces were the must haves of this summer.
So you’ve stuck out the one hour wait, what can you expect from the show? It is 25 minutes of pure Disney magic that you don’t want to end. The star of Fantasmic is everyone’s best loved Disney hero, Mickey Mouse, as he battles the forces that turn his vibrant dreams into a wild nightmare.
The opening sequence is Mickey Mouse in familiar Black DJ and Red trousers atop a 59 foot man-made mountain (for collectors of useless facts, the Fantasmic Mountain is the 4th highest “mountain” at the WDW Resort). From here he acts as a conductor as music fills the air and the water surrounding the island begins to dance. The jets of water climb ever higher until they are turned into a wall of water upon which many Disney character images are displayed. Be aware that at one point, Monstro the whale lifts himself out of the water and lands back down with a crash which does splash those unsuspecting guests seated in the first few rows.
As Mickey’s dream begins to turn into a nightmare, the show brings in battle scenes from Pocahontas. The evil queen from Snow White uses her magical powers to summon up other re-known Disney villains that most of the audience will recognise – these include, Ursula, Cruella De Vil, Frollo, Jafar and Hades. Maleficent turns himself into a 40 foot tall, fire eating dragon that sets the waters ablaze with his breath. The pyrotechniques for this display are magnificent and the heat from the flames can be felt by those guests seated at least half way up the theatre.
Just when you begin to wonder, how will Mickey survive these dastardly villains, he triumphs by creating a wall of water around the island, which smothers the flames and thus defeats the dragon. Phew.
The finale involves a celebration as the beloved Disney Characters join a triumphant Mickey on the Steamboat Willie River Boat, as Mickey celebrates the victory of Good triumphing over Evil.
As a caveat to this review, I would add that the darkness, loud music and breathtaking animation may be too much for some younger guests.
Also, as a lot of the show involves dancing and fight scenes, on uneven terrain and potentially slippery surfaces, the show has to be cancelled, for safety reasons, if it rains too hard.
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Page added on: 4 November 2004
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