2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Theme Park Insider readers have rated Fantasmic!
at Disney's Hollywood Studios as the top seed in the Best Live Show bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament
Fantasmic! opened at the then-Disney-MGM Studios in 1998, following the original Disneyland version of the show, which has been playing on the Rivers of America in Anaheim since 1992. (A third version will open at Tokyo DisneySea next year.) Fantasmic! presents highlights from many classic Disney films, in live action and animation projected on water screens in front of a massive outdoor stage. Mickey Mouse provides the focus for the show, as it's his dream that brings together all these classic Disney moments, culminating in his fiery battle with Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent.
The Walt Disney World version of the show plays in Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, which was built for the show. The other big difference between the two versions has been the frequency with which it plays. Until last year, when the schedule was cut back, the Disney World version played nearly every night, unlike the California version, which plays only during summers and holidays.
The shows differ in a few other ways: The Disney World version plays a few minutes longer, due to additional clips of villains. And the final character flood takes place on Steamboat Willie's steamship, instead of on the Mark Twain, as it does in Disneyland. To me, the Mark Twain's always been more visually impressive than the smaller Steamboat Willie ship, but the Florida version fits better within the theme of the show. A black-and-white Mickey piloting Steamboat Willie's boat makes sense. Mickey on the Mark Twain... not so much.
Despite playing in a massive theater (with room for more than 9,000 visitors), Fantasmic! remains a tough "ticket" most nights, making various dining packages at park restaurants that guarantee a Fantasmic! seat popular options. This show's enduring popularity made it an obvious top seed, but in which bracket?
The show's use of recorded voices and programmed effects would suggest it might be an animated show, but with dozens of live character actors and technicians bringing the show to life each night it plays, ultimately I placed it within the live show bracket. The show's use of pyro and water screens also makes it a difficult one to film, but I've embedded the best version I've found on YouTube to date for your Monday-at-work time-killing pleasure:
Please tell us your thoughts about Fantasmic!, and its chances within the Best Live show bracket, in the comments.
By far and away the best live show there is. If I was a betting man I'd lay money on this to win the category with ease.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about Fantasmic ?
I agree that this is a fine contender for Best Live Show, but I'm shocked that Illuminations did not make it into this tournament. Was it simply overlooked, or did it really rate lower than Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue?
I think it can do pretty well!
Excellant! easily will win best in live show!
This is my winner hands down! :)
Fantasmic is indeed a great show, but the California show is much better than the Florida show, in my opinion. The steamboat in Florida looks like it was made out of a couple scrap sheets of plywood over the course of an afternoon and a couple beers. The Peter Pan segment on the Columbia is much more compelling than the Pocahontas segment on the stage in Florida. And while the dedicated stadium in Florida may improve crowd control and seating, seeing the show in the middle of the park, on the same river and island visitors were on only a few hours before, make California's version seem much more magical.
I had a nightmare evening with this attraction on one of hottest, stickiest nights in July a few years ago. We arrived a couple of hours early (you have to if you want to get in). There were HUGE bugs the size of my fist flying everywhere and bouncing into everyone. Then a storm started brewing and they had to delay the show--for two and a half hours. We got drenched, then it got hot and sticky again. They then announced that if the show couldn't start within 30 minutes that they would have to cancel it for the evening. Finally it started. After a long day at the park, we were sitting there on uncomfortable benches for over 6 hours. It then took
Are we playing with re-seeding (NFL/NHL), or not?
Fantasmic! is a great show, but by all accounts, the Disneyland version is better. I haven't seen that version, but I have to wonder why the DHS version is more highly rated on TPI.
Fantasmic is wonderful but my favorite show is aladdin. You are a lot closer to the action and you don't have to dedicate the last hours the park is open to watch fantasmic. Nevertheless, Fantasmic is wonderful and deserving to win.
Count me with those who prefer the Disneyland version... when it runs. But I think that the Disney World version ought to get some credit for playing every week. The Disneyland version disappears for months at a time, making it tough for many visitors to see. Anyway, when I seeded the tournament, the Disney World version had an identical rating to Disneyland's but had more votes, so I gave the nod to the Disney World version. (Again, keeping with the "no clones" rule.)
Good points, Robert...and yes, that's WHY I've never seen the Disneyland version! It's only shown on weekends, during the busy season...and even if tourist is willing to brave enough to show up at those times of year, you also have to fight the mobs of AP holders who stake out a spot hours in advance. The result is that you can't see this show unless a) you show up when the park is crowded, and b) you waste hours of your expensivve and scarce vacation time for one show!
Yeah, Fireworks shows are far and few between and it would be Disneyland vs Magic Kingdom vs EPCOT most likely. Anyway you would slice it, It would be Disney getting the most nominations.
Like several others, Fantasmic is one of the few attractions I have rated a 10-PERFECTION on this site. This show is absolutely spectacular and should not be missed. Why it doesn't play every night like it used to is a complete travesty and a short-sighted lack of customer service by a company that prides itself on the visitor experience. For this reason, I am mulling a "Yeti-like" protest for this attraction... we'll see.
Ok I take Fantasmic. The Disney World Production is good. But the Disneyland version is the winner hands down!. I enjoy the closness of the DIsneyland version alot more. While the theather at W.D.W. puts to mcuh distance between the stage and the viewer. And the Mountain looks like what is is a set. And in that version the Dragons flames never reach the waters serface, as they do in the Disneyland version. And Your right the steambut at WDW looks like a cardboard boat on a pontoon barge. And theres something majestic about seeing the Mark Tawin rounding the corner of Tom Saywer Island, with the cast on it. Id put it up there with the Castle at Christmas. But hay thats just me. I think?
Seen both versions of the show. The Disneyland version is much better. Its better as a water parade than the water stage show at Disney Studios in WDW.
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