Disney marks release of theme park movie with a bang
ANAHEIM – The Walt Disney Company showed the world that their latest theatrical release, Fantasmic!, an adaptation of one of their most-loved theme park shows, had arrived with a bang at the park the show originated at, Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
In a press release today, Disneyland Resort president Matthew Ouimet announced to gathered press and over 60,000 park guests, the show – which was cancelled seven summers ago – would be returning for one week only, starting with a gala extravaganza next month and ending a week later with the premiere of the Fantasmic animated feature at the Main Street Opera House.
The show revolves around the dreams of Mickey Mouse being invaded by the worst of the Disney villains, and ran from 1992 to 2018 at the Rivers of America at Disneyland, and at the Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. The show was revived for three summers at Tokyo Disneyland, starting in 2020, but ended after the company was swamped with complaints from angry fans demanding the return of the show at the American parks if the Japanese show continued.
When the Japanese incarnation ended it’s short but very sweet run, Walt Disney Feature Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg proposed that the division of the company (which has produced all of Disney’s best loved classics) adapt the show as their next animated classic, and bring the story to a huger audience.
The show’s wow factor counted on it taking place in a location which was fully accessible by day to guests (Tom Sawyer Island) but became magically transformed at night for a battle between the forces of Disney good and bad. WDFA were determined to translate the spectacular aspects of the show that brought guests back and back again to the big screen, using mind blowing state of the art effects.
The storylines at the Californian and Floridian adaptations of the show differed slightly, so WDFA had to firstly combine the best of the two storylines – then search for the original voices of the characters, who performed in the original animated classics, then again in Fantasmic.
Many had unfortuanately passed away, so for continuity, WDFA combined forces with Walt Disney Creative Entertainment (who had originally worked with WDFA to create the show in the first place – WDFA created the animated sequences, and WDCE created the show stopping effects) to find exact soundalikes.
The animation process took five years to complete, combining subtle traditional animation with detailed-beyond-the-eye-can-see three dimensional animation. Matt Ouimet, who was so sad to see the show leave Disneyland in 2018 that he ordered six months more of performance than the original final show date, jumped at the chance to premiere the movie at it’s mother park.
“I have worked at the Disneyland Resort since 2003, and never before had I seen anything as spectacular as the public affection for Fantasmic. I had to bring it back,” Ouimet told press in front of the seventy-five year old Sleeping Beauty Castle. He personally lead the team charged with rooting out the original performers, and training new performers from scratch to replace the ones who couldn’t be found.
Fantasmic will return for seven nights at Disneyland park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, from the 17th to the 24th of July. The showings are open to all park guests on those days, except the 24th, when the park will close at 3pm to accommodate VIP guests for the final showing of the performance, and the world premiere of Fantasmic, the animated motion picture.
Disneyland Resort chiefs have asked the press to warn guests of huge crowds at the performances, and suggest waiting periods starting from 1pm at the latest. Tom Sawyer Island will close at 6pm, and the show will begin at 8pm. Beverage, food and merchandise vendors will be nearby, as will live entertainment.
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Walt Disney World Resort chiefs are in talks to bring back the Floridian version of Fantasmic for one night only, to tie in with the movie’s release.