|photo courtesy of DISTherapy @ http://www.distherapy.com|
I cannot believe 60 years have gone by since Disneyland first opened its gates. In honor of this monumental occassion, I have joined with 59 other great Disney Bloggers to go “year by year” and tell you about all the special things that happened at Disneyland. This tribute could not be possible without Didi Marie of DISTherapy and Gayle of Disney Gals
The year is 1992. Big hair is in, Boys II Men top the music charts, and Disneyland debuts its new nighttime spectacular “Fantasmic. As the cover story for Disney News magazine spring edition, the show is described as “not a “ride” in the conventional sense, yet it promises to take Disneyland guests on a trip beyond imagining.”
Throughout the previous decade, there had been discussions about creating a new show at Disneyland to make nighttime a bit more magical for its guests. However, it wasn’t until Mike Davis, then Director of Entertainment at Disneyland, and crew saw Epcot’s “Illuminations” that the dialogs really became serious. In 1991, Michael Eisner finally gave the go ahead to offically begin creating Disneyland’s nighttime spectacular.
Turning the ideas that had been formed into a reality was no easy task. The project took months of construction that started with draining of The Rivers of America and the dry docking of the Mark Twain and S.S. Columbia. Tom Sawyer Island was redesigned so that it would have the same feel during the day but would be able to transform into center stage for the new show once the sun set. The construction, however, was only one aspect of creating the show. The Disney minds at work on this project wanted to create a multifaceted show that would lure viewers emotionally into Mickey’s dream.Through live performers, fiber optics, fog machines, pyrotechnics, and choreographed water fountains as well as a 100 ft snake and a 40ft dragon, guests are drawn into the vivid imagination of Mickey Mouse. The piece de resistance was the incorporation of beloved Disney films into the show through the use of water mist screens. Inspired by the French, each of these screens is 50 feet wide, 30 feet high, and 6 inches thick–making them big enough and thick enough to project actual movie images on them. However, using classic Disney films in the show was not as simple as it sounds. The scenes selected for the show were adapted and reedited under the direction of Barnette Ricci, the show’s director in 1992. The adapted film was then dramatically re-scored by Bruce Healey and the resulting film created a show that appears to interact with the live performers. It took three full months to precisely time all of the special effects based on the time code of the film. Every aspect of the show (fireworks, water fountains, live performers) had to be exactly in synch with the musical score in order to create a seamless, one-of-a-kind nighttime spectacular. The show was originally going to be called “Imagination” but an event of this caliber really needed something a bit more flashy, don’t you think? The show was renamed “Fantasmic”.
Fantasmic was the first nighttime show to really transport the audience right into the middle of the action. The show flows effortlessly from one scene to the next, just like a dream. Fantasmic was initially supposed to run for 5 years, but 23 years later the show is still a fan favorite and due to its popularity, now even has it’s own Fast Pass so guests can be sure to snag a primo spot. Fantasmic is one of my family’s favorite shows and we have watched it many,many times at Walt Disney World. However, this past winter, we finally were able to see the show where it started, right on the Rivers of America. It was incredible! What is also incredible is that we still have 23 more magical years to go, so click the “60 Days, 60 Years” image and follow along as we celebrate Disneyland