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Orlando/SoCal Theme Park Showdown: Fantasmic! vs. Fantasmic!

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Published: October 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

And now we come to the final vote in the Theme Park Insider Orlando/Southern California Showdown. Since this is the end, why not wrap up with a night-time spectacular? Our final contest is Fantasmic! versus Fantasmic! The vote will be open for 24 hours.

Disneyland's Fantasmic!: Frontierland

Disneyland's Fantasmic!

Walt Disney World Disney's Hollywood Studio's Fantasmic!

Walt Disney World Disney's Hollywood Studio's Fantasmic!

The differences? Fantasmic! debuted on the Rivers of America at Disneyland in May 1992, revolutionizing the theme park night-time show with its blend of water screens, fireworks and live actors, on stage and on boats, floating by the audience. In October 1998, Disney brought Fantasmic! east, building a decicated amphitheater at the then-Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. The shows are largely the same, though a Pocohantas replaces the Peter Pan sequence that plays on the Sailing Ship Columbia at Disneyland. Then, there's the whole how-does-Mickey-kill-Maleficent thing, too. In 2009, Disneyland debuted a new Maleficent dragon (nicknamed Murphy for all the things that went wrong with it during development), as well as adding Flotsam & Jetsam to the Ursula scene.

Feel free to further break down the match-up in the comments.

Other Showdown winners:

Readers' Opinions

From Jorge Arnoldson on October 14, 2011 at 4:00 PM
lol lice actors
From TH Creative on October 14, 2011 at 4:06 PM
You're just taunting me, aren't you Mr. Niles?

Be advised I have the email templates and Facebook notices lined up ... The birds are in the air ... The hammer is cocked ... I've already announced the cliche first two-thirds: "On your mark, get set ..."

Bring it.

From Dominick D on October 14, 2011 at 4:07 PM
Never seen either, and Im not watching them on you tube, so Im sitting out on this one.
From Robert Niles on October 14, 2011 at 4:52 PM
Disneyland needs some love here. Though, I gotta say, the whole sitting-on-the-ground thing really stinks.
From Brandon Mendoza on October 14, 2011 at 4:52 PM
I'll say that this showdown is an easy choice for me because of choreography & quality of dancers. Unless Orlando's show has changed, So Cal's Fantasmic! destroys Orlando's in that aspect alone. Just look at the finale on the Steamboat!

Sure the Orlando one is longer, but one can debate that they even out since some people prefer a longer show, while others think it's a tighter show in Anaheim. But I'd say the reliance on live action at Anaheim vs. the video of Orlando makes me choose Anaheim for sure.

Other than that, the shows are nearly identical. So my vote goes to Anaheim... but if this was about the Haunted Mansion in both parks... Orlaaaandoooooo... or Star Tours... or the Monorail...

From KJ Simpson on October 14, 2011 at 5:59 PM
I say DLR has the edge- I much prefer being able to watch the show casually from the the midst of the park itself, rather than having to schlepp into an out-of-the-way amphitheater. Plus, at DHS, people waste lots of precious park time lining up for this WAY in advance of showtime because of the way it's set up. At least at DLR, even if you're staking out a good spot in advance, you're doing so in the middle of the park, not off away somewhere out of the action...
From Sylvain Comeau on October 14, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Definitely preferred the DL version, even if I didn't get to see Murphy (he lived up to his nickname that night!). Also, Orlando's version should shorten or drop the Pocahontas sequence. It slows down the show.
From Randall Peek on October 15, 2011 at 2:17 AM
Absolutely Disneyland's version. I am shocked that the vote is even close. The Pocahontas scene is hardly noteworthy, and the Wicked Witch from Snow White is a far cry from the elegant evil that is Maleficent. Giant Ursula figure? Nope, Florida doesn't have that, either. Steamboat Willie's boat? Meh. Tricking out the Columbia as well as the Mark Twain for the show? Nothing short of brilliant. Considering that Florida's version came after California and is in an arena designed specifically for it, rather than retrofitted into a very active part of the park like Disneyland has, I would have expected Florida to have the premier version of the show, but it just falls short in so many ways. And need I mention that Disneyland's has THE. BEST. DRAGON. EVAR. (when it works!)
From Daniel Smith on October 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Robert, can we have another showdown some time adding in international parks? eg. it's clear that Paris has the most outstanding Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain of all. It would be great for a future tournament to find the best version of each ride in the world. Not only the best, but second best, etc. (where there are more than 3 versions!).
From Chris Hill on October 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM
I absolutely love the Peter Pan scene at Disneyland and grew up going there. The first time at Disneyworld, I just felt something was missing. Love the show in both parks, but Peter Pan and the Finale make up for the lack of seating.
From 24.187.26.227 on October 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM
Wow. Final Score Florida 9 California 3. Most Disney rides are better in Florida (Haunted Mansion, TOT, Toy Story Mania, Buzz Lightyear)

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