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Disneyland Article
After More Than A Year Away Disneyland Debuts Updated Fantasmic River Show

Orange County Register
Mark Eades
July 18, 2017
July 24, 2017
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Mickey Mouse made a triumphant return to the Rivers of America as "Fantasmic!" came back to Disneyland after a more than a one-year absence.

The show, which originally debuted in 1992, went dark in early 2016 as the waterway it is staged on was closed to boat traffic for construction of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The new 14-acre land, which will open in 2019, gobbled up a chunk of Frontierland, including part of the Rivers of America.

During that time, Disney Imagineers created two new scenes for the show: One with the characters of Aladdin and Jasmine floating on a "magic carpet," and another with a new, ghostly Sailing Ship Columbia featuring Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

"We had this opportunity to look at "Fantasmic!' with some new eyes," said David Duffy, the director of live entertainment for Disney Parks.

Duffy added that they wanted some new characters, but "we wanted to make sure that we stayed true to that journey into Mickey's imagination."

During the show, Mickey Mouse takes an audience of nearly 7,000 spectators along on his journey into dreams of beauty, adventure, romance and danger.

Disneyland also took the long down time to replace the projectors used in the show with new digital projectors, including some that are projection mapped to the stage sets and provide images for each sequence. In addition, the mist screens were enhanced, and all the lighting and fountains have been upgraded too.

"What that really allows us to do is to take that original story of Fantasmic! And make it even more immersive and even more magical than it was at opening. The island becomes transformed, the stories become immersive and that technology is what allows us to do that," Duffy said.

Returning fan favorites include the moment when the wicked Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" rises 45 feet into the air and is transformed into a 45-foot tall dragon that breathes fire onto the Rivers of America. There is also a more than 100-foot-long snake, Kaa, from the movie "The Jungle Book" slithering across the stage.

Other characters have been added to the show. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from "Tangled" are part of the romance sequence and characters from "The Lion King" join the adventure sequence.

With the return of "Fantasmic!" the park is nearing completion of the reopening of the Rivers of America. The Mark Twain Riverboat, along with the Sailing Ship Columbia and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes are slated to open to the public on July 29. The Disneyland Railroad will also return to daily service on the tracks the same day - with a revised route around the Rivers of America.

Earlier this year, the Big Thunder Trail reopened, providing an alternate pedestrian route between Frontierland and Fantasyland.
Attractions Referenced

Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes


Mark Twain Riverboat

Sailing Ship Columbia

Lands Referenced



Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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