Disney Overhauls Fantasmic! Nighttime Show with New Preventative Safety Measures

A vividly lit outdoor stage show at night featuring colorful lights, mist, and water sprays. The backdrop includes multicolored lighting effects creating a magical, dreamlike atmosphere. A character, possibly a performer, stands illuminated in the center.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Disney has confirmed the total overhaul of the iconic and beloved Fantasmic! Nighttime show, which will return this month without some major components. Here’s what we know.

Mickey points at the Maleficent dragon animatronic, the Disneyland Fantasmic! dragon animatronic burns Disney removes dragon and replaces it with a new solution

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney Confirms Fantasmic! Set To Return Without Major Components and Complete Overhaul

For over thirty years, Disneyland’s nighttime spectacle “Fantasmic!” has illuminated the Rivers of America with a dazzling display of Disney’s animated magic, combining projections, pyrotechnics, and fireworks to tell a story about dreams and nightmares. However, in 2023, a significant incident disrupted the show. During the climactic battle scene between Mickey Mouse and Maleficent, a 45-foot fire-breathing dragon, Maleficent caught fire, halting the performance. The incident, captured on video, quickly went viral and made national headlines, leading to an indefinite hiatus for “Fantasmic!” as Disney’s entertainment team worked on reimagining the show.

“Fantasmic!” is set to return this Friday with some notable changes. One of the most significant adjustments is the absence of the dragon. Nevertheless, the show’s core will still feature the epic showdown between Mickey and Maleficent. Maleficent will appear in a new form, towering over Mickey at 35 feet with her wand, conjuring lighting, projection, and pyrotechnic effects. Fireworks will shoot from Mickey’s hands, and Maleficent will set the river ablaze, maintaining the dramatic essence of the original scene.

Disney Live Entertainment’s Tobi Longo, who has been involved with “Fantasmic!” for nearly its entire run, emphasizes that the battle between good and evil remains the show’s focal point. Despite the missing dragon, the updated show will include enhanced pyrotechnics, impressive projections, and laser effects, ensuring it remains a spectacular experience. Longo notes, “Maleficent is still going to be spectacular… As much as we miss the dragon right now, it’s still going to be a spectacular scene.”

A vibrant nighttime scene from a live Fantasmic! show at Disney. A central character in red stands surrounded by colorful, glowing projections and special effects, including smoke and lights, with the silhouette of a dragon emerging against a backdrop of trees and a large building.

Credit: Disneyland Resort

The recent overhaul of Disneyland’s “Fantasmic!” show represents a significant shift in its production, excluding some of the pyrotechnics and the beloved dragon from the original performance. This change follows a dramatic incident in 2023 when the dragon animatronic, which depicted Maleficent, caught fire during a show, leading to an indefinite suspension of “Fantasmic!” while the creative team reimagined the presentation. The updated “Fantasmic!” version will still feature a climactic battle between Mickey Mouse and Maleficent without the iconic 45-foot fire-breathing dragon.

Instead, Maleficent will be represented in a new form incorporating advanced projection, lighting, and pyrotechnic effects. The reimagined scene will see Maleficent ascend to a height of 35 feet, conjuring an array of special effects. Fireworks will appear to shoot from Mickey’s hands, and the river will be set ablaze to maintain the dramatic impact of the confrontation.

While the new show aims to preserve the essence of the original storyline—highlighting the themes of good versus evil—it will do so with different technical elements. Tobi Longo from Disney Live Entertainment, who has been part of “Fantasmic!” for nearly its entire duration, emphasizes that the updated show will still be a spectacular experience. The revamped pyrotechnics, projections, and laser effects are designed to compensate for the absence of the dragon and some of the traditional pyrotechnics, ensuring the show remains engaging and visually stunning.

A collage of two images: to the left, Mickey Mouse dressed as a wizard casting a spell during a fireworks show; to the right, the Disneyland iconic castle illuminated at night with "status update" signs for Disney.

Image Credit: Inside The Magic

For several reasons, die-hard fans of Disneyland’s “Fantasmic!” might be upset about the overhaul. First, the iconic dragon, which depicted Maleficent and was a centerpiece of the show, will no longer be part of the performance. With its impressive 45-foot height and fire-breathing capabilities, this dragon has been a favorite among fans, adding a dramatic and visually stunning element to the nighttime spectacular.

However, these changes are rooted in essential safety considerations. The fire incident 2023 highlighted the potential risks associated with using pyrotechnics and giant animatronics extensively. By removing the dragon and scaling back on pyrotechnics, Disney aims to prevent such dangerous occurrences in the future, ensuring the safety of both the performers and the audience. This decision reflects a commitment to creating a secure environment without compromising the show’s essence.

NEW: Disneyland released new video of Fantasmic!, Disney’s longest-running nighttime spectacular, set to return to Disneyland Park on Friday, May 24.

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Additionally, the overhaul introduces new technological enhancements, such as advanced projection mapping, lighting effects, and innovative pyrotechnics, which can offer a different kind of spectacle. These updates are designed to maintain the show’s magical atmosphere while incorporating modern, safer methods of delivering breathtaking visuals. While die-hard fans might mourn the loss of certain elements, the changes to “Fantasmic!” promise a safer yet still spectacular experience for all visitors. The Walt Disney Company and the Disney park are thrilled about this latest addition to the Disneyland family!

This post Disney Overhauls Fantasmic! Nighttime Show with New Preventative Safety Measures appeared first on Inside the Magic.

About Emmanuel Detres

Since first stepping inside the Magic Kingdom at nine years old, I knew I was destined to be a theme Park enthusiast. Although I consider myself a theme Park junkie, I still have much to learn and discover about Disney. Universal Orlando Resort has my heart; being an Annual Passholder means visiting my favorite places on Earth when possible! When I’m not writing about Disney, Universal, or entertainment news, you’ll find me cruising on my motorcycle, hiking throughout my local metro parks, or spending quality time with my girlfriend, family, or friends.

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