One of the Crown Jewels of Hollywood Studios at Disney is its nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! It’s the best way to end your park day and highly recommended to at least see once.
You will join Mickey Mouse as he faces off with some familiar Disney villains such as Scar, Ursula, Jafar and Maleficent.
His dreams turn into an overwhelming nightmare and you will dive in with him as he goes through the laughs, romance and adventure that we have seen in some beloved Disney classic films.
But how did such a nighttime spectacular come to be? Is it one of its kind or one of many?
We will answer these questions and share the history of the show. We’re also going to share some tips and tricks on how to best navigate your journey into Mickey Mouse’s dreams.
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When will Fantasmic reopen at Disney World?
Although a final date has not been set publicly by Disney, Fantasmic has been stated to return to Walt Disney World on November 3, 2022!
The majestic aquatic show will takes us on an animation adventure with some of Disney’s most classic characters from films such as:
- Beauty and the Beast
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Little Mermaid
- The Lion King
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
What’s NEW for Fantasmic! at Disney?
According to Disney, the return of Fantasmic! will include the debut of an all-new sequence that will bring to life heroic moments from Disney stories such as “Moana,” “Mulan,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” and “Frozen 2.”
“We get to see some new characters introduced to Fantasmic!, and we get to show their stories in a new, unique way utilizing a combination of projections, lasers and new lighting.”Matthew Hamel, Show Director for Disney Live Entertainment
Where did Disney’s Fantasmic! start?
To begin our historical dive into Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one must take a quick journey to Disneyland.
There are small differences between the Disneyland and Hollywood Studios versions.
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Fantasmic! at Disneyland
Disneyland’s version is shown along the Rivers of America with its projections done on Tom Sawyer Island. It also features 1 or 2 different sequences compared to Hollywood Studios.
The Hollywood Studios version is located atop of Hollywood hills at the end of Sunset Boulevard.
The show takes place in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater and houses a 50 foot tall man made mountain. It can seat 6,900 guests with 3,000 additional if standing.
Disneyland’s version debuted on May 13,1992 and was so popular with guests, that Disney brought a second version to Walt Disney World.
The Hollywood Studios version debuted October 15, 1998 and 21 years later, it is still a favorite amongst visitors. Both shows have a 25 minute runtime.
Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios
Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios feature water screen projections, pyrotechnics, thrilling and out of this world puppetry. The moat where the show takes place can hold up to 1,900,000 gallons of water.
Originally there was to only be one water screen. It was quickly realized that three would be needed in order for all guests to fully enjoy the experience.
This show boasts and impressive fire on water projection that is run via a natural gas line in the most. It use special technology that will turn it off when the effect isn’t needed.
The Maleficent Dragon sits on an elevator underneath the stage. At full height, it is 45 feet tall and takes 35 seconds to make its onstage appearance.
The recreation of the Steamboat Willie boat boasts 26 of the show’s 50 total performers.
This show is truly a technological marvel in itself. So many pieces put this spectacular show together, but ultimately it’s the marvelous Cast Members onstage and off that breathe that Disney Magic into it.
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Disney’s Fantasmic! Dining Package Experience
Before we head into the tips and tricks, let’s chat about dining quickly.
You are allowed to bring food from the outside into the amphitheater and there are several Quick Service locations alongside Sunset Boulevard across from the entrance hall where you can grab and go.
What’s included in the Fantasmic Dining Package?
You can also partake in the Fantasmic! Dining Package option. This is where you reservation at one of the restaurants around the park, they give you several different options including the fabulous Hollywood Brown Derby and one of my personal favorites Mama Melrose.
You are placed in a VIP seating area with some choice views. For more details, you must call 407-WDW-DINE or book online.
Amphitheater Food Options for Fantasmic at Disney World
The amphitheater also has two food stands that serve various items such as hot dogs, dessert trays, pretzels and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options.
As a note, if purchasing alcohol, you will only be served two per customer and must be of the legal drinking age to do so. You can also grab some souvenir popcorn buckets and drink cups while you’re here as well.
Other Things to Remember for Your Visit to Fantasmic at Disney World
Yes there are restrooms, but if you’re flying solo, which if you’re here I’m sure you are, I would suggest you go prior to entering the amphitheater as no one will save your seat.
Moving is also discouraged while the show is happening as it is very dark.
Finally, if you want to treat yourself, you can partake in the Dessert Parties that are specialty and thrown during Fantasmic! once they return.
It’ll feature specialty themed desserts, beverages and a great seat to view the show. It’s important to note that you will be standing to view. You can call or book online to scoop this.
3 Easy Tips and Tricks for Your Visit to Fantasmic at Disney
Now let’s dive into three simple tips to make your Fantasmic! experience stress free.
1. Use the Genie+ Service at Disney
First, use the Genie+ service if you can spare it. The theater opens 90-minutes before showtime, but guests are always there an hour before so they can bum rush up the hill to acquire the best seats possible.
It’s best to just use this service and save yourself the headache.
If you have to wait the hour to grab those special seats, the good news is flying solo in this situation will work in your favor.
I tend to go with one extra person because it allows you more wiggle room to get food, potty-breaks and someone can hold the seats once they are acquired.
2. Find the Best Seat at Fantasmic!
I would shoot for a seat near the VIP section. If it’s a hot, humid Florida summer evening, go to the very front. You will get wet!
Save time and eat before the show. That way you aren’t getting up constantly and you’ll be full and not distracted from the show.
3. Have Your Exit Plan
My best tip is my exit strategy. This is only recommended if you aren’t a first timer for the show or if you don’t really care to see the finale. As soon as you see the steamboat go past the middle of the moat, start heading out as quickly as possible.
Once the show ends, it’s essentially gridlock and it could take 15-20 minutes to get back onto Sunset Boulevard.
It’s even worse if you are taking the Skyliner or Disney Bus back to your resort hotel. You could be waiting even longer after you escape the crowds. This can be executed easily if you’re doing solo travel or with one or two other solo travelers.
7 Fun Facts and Secrets About Fantasmic at Disney World
Below are some cool little secrets that Disney states about Fantasmic! in Hollywood Studios:
- Fantasmic! originally opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on October 15, 1998.
- This show features animation and characters from more than 25 films.
- The moat surrounding the Fantasmic! island stage contains 1.9 million gallons of water.
- Maleficent, in dragon form, is the final villain that Mickey Mouse battles, and she stands 40-feet tall.
- Besides Maleficent, 10 other villains appear in the show.
- In the finale, Mickey Mouse and 35 other characters appear on a steamboat inspired by the one seen in “Steamboat Willie,”
- Located off Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater seats 6,900 guests with additional standing room for about 3,000 guests.
Final Thoughts on Fantasmic at Disney
Fantasmic! has been a big part of Disney parks history and continues to be a truly magical treat to the end of your Disney day.
It continues to sport spectacular technology that is seen all over the Disney parks.
This show embodies the spirit of Mickey Mouse and Disney Magic as a whole. The theater itself is thoroughly impressive with its man made mountain and moat.
Overall, Fantasmic at Disney is a staple and is a credit to Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Entertainment.
We hope that these tips and tricks will allow you to have a Fantasmic solo experience with the nighttime spectacular.
Have you seen the nighttime spectacular at both parks? If so, let us know in the comments!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
About the Author
Victoria is a professional solo traveler here to make your solo trips as stress free AND enjoyable as possible for you.
She has over 5 years of Disney and Non-Disney travel experience and was featured by POPSUGAR as one of the Top 50 Black Disney Creators you should follow.
She is a Proud Native to Baltimore, Md but always will call Disney World home. You can find her at Disney Tea with V.
(Original Article Date: January 14, 2021/Updated by Editor on November 2, 2022)