“Fantasmic!” is Returning to Hollywood Studios, but it’s NOT the “Fantasmic!” You Remember

fantasmic disney's hollywood studios
Credit: Becky Burkett

The Disneyverse was turned on its head Wednesday morning as fans finally got an answer about the Guest-favorite nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: yes, Fantasmic! is coming back, and it’s doing so on November 3. But it’s not the Fantasmic! you remember.

Credit: Becky Burkett

For months now, fans of the nighttime show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have been instantly energized by any news related to the reopening of the show that has been MIA since before the pandemic closures at Disney Parks around the globe. Aerial photographs have given the appearance of progress at the amphitheater inside the park where Fantasmic! was always performed, but for every piece of news that gave fans the hope of a swift return of the show, there were two pieces that kept them wondering.

aerial photo of hollywood studios fantasmic amphitheater

Credit: Bioreconstruct

Wednesday’s announcement from Disney Parks painted an exciting, delightful description of the nighttime spectacular, touting a new sequence in the show:

Back and better than ever, the larger-than-life, open-air nighttime musical will boast the live performers, stunning effects, rousing music, and dazzling pyrotechnics you know and love – complete with a brand-new show sequence! 

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

The new heroes sequence features a high-energy Aladdin chase with stunts never before seen on the “Fantasmic!” stage, a powerful scene with Elsa set to the song “Show Yourself” that is sure to thaw the most frozen of hearts, and stirring moments with Pocahontas, Moana, and Mulan. To help choreograph the authentic Chinese martial arts you’ll see in Mulan’s scene, the creative team brought in Mimi Chan, the original muse and model animators used when bringing the character of Mulan to life for the 1998 animated film.

“We know this show means so much to people, and we’ve kept that in mind every step of this journey,” says Disney Live Entertainment Producer Laurice Marier. “Even beyond the new scene, we’ve taken this time to upgrade the lasers, the lighting, the sound, all to bring this show back even more beautiful than it’s ever been. We’re all really just so excited for Guests to see it.”

Earlier this year, there was news that Disney was replacing the Pocahontas sequence in the show.

Characters from Pocahontas have always been a part of the show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in the first scene after Mickey gets tangled up in a whirlpool. As the stage went dark, the sound of a giant cannon blast was heard. Suddenly, Gov. John Ratcliffe takes to the stage, fighting alongside the other Englishmen against the Native Americans and John Smith.

Credit: Jeremy Wong

John Smith is nearly overtaken before Pocahontas appears at the top of the towering mountain. The battle sequence is followed by water projections that depict the “Colors of the Wind” scene from the film.
But according to Disney Parks, Pocahontas will still have a role in the show, but she will play one of many heroes in a sequence dedicated to Disney heroes who had tough decisions to make. The new sequence will take place in the same slot where the Pocahontas sequence was.
In addition to the change in sequences, the updated version of Fantasmic! will also be longer–though not by much. According to journalist Scott Gustin, the change adds a few minutes to the performance.

The new take on the Guest-favorite nighttime spectacular will be 29 minutes in duration, as opposed to 25 minutes previously. So while the new version isn’t the one we remember, it sounds like it will be amazing–and better than ever!

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!