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  1. #1

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    Question How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    I'm really curious to know how Disney puts on a big production like Fantasmic. Some questions:

    1. How do the cast and crew members get out to the island prior to the show? Is there a tunnel beneath the river? Do they take a raft to get there?

    2. How many cast and crew members does it take to put on a single performance?

    3. Is the entire show run on "automatic pilot"? Do they just push a "start" button and all of the music, lighting and special effects run automatically and are pre-programmed? Or do they have technicians pushing buttons during the show to make things happen (lighting changes, effects, music blends)?

    4. If the show requires technicians to make it work, can the show be changed midway through if they need to? For example, if somthing goes wrong or misfires, can they "wing it" and make changes or is it all set in stone?

    5. Have you ever seen or heard of mistakes or misfires happen during the show?

    Any info and/or other details you can share would be appreciated.
    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    There are a whole bunch of threads about this.

    To answer question 3. The whole show is SMPTE time coded with the audio. The lighting and pyro is digitally controlled and programmed ahead of time. They program cues or scenes for everything and link those cues to a specific time. For the most part it is on autopilot except the pyro. I believe a tech has to have their hand on a button to allow the pyro to fire. If the button is not held down then no pyro will fire. The timing is way to specific to run the show manually.

  3. #3

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    I'm really curious to know how Disney puts on a big production like Fantasmic. Some questions:

    1. How do the cast and crew members get out to the island prior to the show? Is there a tunnel beneath the river? Do they take a raft to get there?

    2. How many cast and crew members does it take to put on a single performance?

    3. Is the entire show run on "automatic pilot"? Do they just push a "start" button and all of the music, lighting and special effects run automatically and are pre-programmed? Or do they have technicians pushing buttons during the show to make things happen (lighting changes, effects, music blends)?

    4. If the show requires technicians to make it work, can the show be changed midway through if they need to? For example, if somthing goes wrong or misfires, can they "wing it" and make changes or is it all set in stone?

    5. Have you ever seen or heard of mistakes or misfires happen during the show?

    Any info and/or other details you can share would be appreciated.
    Thanks!
    1. There is no underground tunnel connecting the mainland to the island. All cast and crew get there by raft.

    2. Unkown, but I know that some could be playing two different characters.

    4. Everything is planned before the first show. If something goes wrong prior to the first show, then they will inform the cast that things have been changed (ex. Mark Twain experincing technical difficulties means the the characters will perform on the island during the finale.) But if something technical happens halfway then the rest of the show is cancelled.

    5. A lot of things have happened during the show in which a mistake or misfire has occured. Look at the videos below for examples.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YqNZPzMO28"]YouTube - Fantasmic Mess Up!!!!![/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-FQUVlo2Fk"]YouTube - DLR Fantasmic! opening with no water works[/ame]



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  4. #4

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    5. Yeah on the misfires. About a month or two ago the ending pyro where the river lights on fire just after the Twain passes was too early and lit the back of the Twain on fire!
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  5. #5

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    I'm really curious to know how Disney puts on a big production like Fantasmic. Some questions:

    1. How do the cast and crew members get out to the island prior to the show? Is there a tunnel beneath the river? Do they take a raft to get there?
    They take a raft from the Hungry Bear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    2. How many cast and crew members does it take to put on a single performance?
    I'd say it takes............. A LOT!! Several hundred.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    3. Is the entire show run on "automatic pilot"? Do they just push a "start" button and all of the music, lighting and special effects run automatically and are pre-programmed? Or do they have technicians pushing buttons during the show to make things happen (lighting changes, effects, music blends)?
    They have each button controlling every element of the show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    4. If the show requires technicians to make it work, can the show be changed midway through if they need to? For example, if somthing goes wrong or misfires, can they "wing it" and make changes or is it all set in stone?
    I assume if any changes are to be made, they inform the cast and crew beforehand. Yeah, if it is something technical, it has to be cancelled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    5. Have you ever seen or heard of mistakes or misfires happen during the show?
    There has been many mistakes through out the years. Pinocchio did't go up, dragon didn't go up, a missing barge, etc...

    I remember one night King Louie's raft died, and the Columbia was stuck behind it, and at the finale, there were only 4 characters on the island for the endinf because the other characters couldn't make it, lol,

    Good times, good times!

  6. #6

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    I was just watching that first video that was posted above... LOL @ "My feet smell like cornchips!"

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Wow, what a b.... in that first video "this is Disneyland?".

    Yea lady. Get over yourself. Errors happen- I'm sure she was screaming in City Hall about her entire life being ruined because Fantasmic had to restart.

    Never understood the "booing" of a show if something goes wrong? It's not like the cast did it on purpose and wanted the show to fail. I'm sure it makes the cast members feel so good about themself to hear a full crowd booing and yelling at them, yep, that'll make then want to come back on stage.
    Last edited by Wesley815; 09-06-2009 at 01:51 PM.
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  8. #8

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Last June they added a third showing of Fantasmic so instead of seeing the 10:30 show after the fireworks I went over to the area around the canoes to watch the backstage stuff that goes on. I found it quite fascinating to watch them come out to the rafts and get in position, to redo the monkey rafts into the princess rafts, to watch the prince carry Ariel down the path and onto the raft and place her in position. They all know guests are there watching them and they smile and wave. When the Columbia comes around they all wave. The Mark Twain pulls in to the island on that side and everyone disembarks. And so on. It was also fun to see Flotsom and Jetsom and the Crock come ripping by and go back around the island. I then went to the final show at 11:30 and it was way less crowded. A very good evening.

  9. #9

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?


  10. #10

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJEbFgNdLpE]YouTube - Fantasmic Finale - Behind Mickey![/ame]

    Been posted before but goes along with this topic, a neat look at what Mickey does.
    -Wes

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    yeah, I sat off to the side by BTMRR one time and they all waved at us watching them. I thought that was nice.

    I had heard a long time ago that the people inside of KAA are the pirates that are going to Columbia

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Thanks for all of your replies. I had assumed that the show ran on "auto pilot" -- but after seeing those videos of the show mistakes, I realize how much is riding on every performance. Each element of each performance must be carefully timed and perfectly executed for it all to work. Knowing that makes the show that much more impressive!

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wesley815 View Post
    Wow, what a b.... in that first video "this is Disneyland?".

    Yea lady. Get over yourself. Errors happen- I'm sure she was screaming in City Hall about her entire life being ruined because Fantasmic had to restart.
    I was thinking the exact same thing. That mom needs a reality check. It may be Disneyland, but it's also the real world and the real world is full of unfortunate technical glitches.

  14. #14

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbossa View Post
    I was thinking the exact same thing. That mom needs a reality check. It may be Disneyland, but it's also the real world and the real world is full of unfortunate technical glitches.
    In the 'old' days, that's what was magic about Disneyland - no glitches...ever.

  15. #15

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    Re: How does "Fantasmic" work behind-the-scenes?

    It takes 106 Cast Members to put on Fantasmic each night.

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