A Little Love For Fantasmic!

FANTASMIC Poster

Photocredit: Wikipedia

“For we now invite you to join Mickey, and experience Fantasmic!… a journey beyond your wildest imagination.”

Confess Wednesday:  I absolutely love fantasmic.  Possibly too much.  If you haven’t seen the show before and don’t want it ruined, stop reading, get on a plane to orlando and see it. In honor of the passing of Jane Ethridge Correa, one of the female vocals featured in fantasmic, I figured I would give a little love to my favorite nighttime show at the WDW resort.

It is a tough choice when you have Fantasmic!, Wishes, Illuminations, Spectromagic, MSEP etc to choose from. To me what separates fantasmic apart is the use of the familiar characters, the creativity of the show, and, as any Engineer would admit, its technology.

The first time I saw fantasmic was last summer, when I was 20. I felt like I was 6 again being wowed by how amazing all of the shows elements are.  It may be because I’m partial to Mickey Mouse (maybe some day I’ll post about my extended collection) but I think the main reason this is my favorite show is because of the music.  It’s catchy, it incorporates a lot of the different Disney movies from my generation, and it certainly captivates the audience.

What does it for me is that this show is quite different from any other show at WDW. It seamlessly incorperates live characters, parade floats, a water show, pyrotechnics, fireworks, stunts, large mechanical elements and song.  The idea of this all, of course, stemming from the inspiration of the movie Fantasia, is phantasmagoric, which is defined as “A constantly changing scene composed of numerous elements” This concept keeps the audiences attention by wowing them with different elements approximately every few minutes, so they are never bored. This is way different from any fireworks display.

One thing Fantasmic is criticized for is that it incorporates too much “evil and darkness” in the use of all of it’s villain characters. (The evil Queen, Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Scar, Frollo, Jafar, Hades, Malificent) When I first saw the show, I agreed with these criticisms, however watching it again and seeing that the “darkness” is only incorporated into about 6 and a half minutes of the 27 minute show, I think that is an appropriate time portion.

One thing I did not understand and thought where Disney failed at Fantasmic! Was the Pocahontas live action scene in the middle of the show.  I didn’t quite understand how it themed with Mickey’s imagination and thought it was a poor attempt by Disney to incorporate stunts into the show. I did however, like the transition between this scene and the “Love scene” with all of our favorite Princesses dancing with their respective Princes. I interpreted this as a “love conquers all” allegory.

In my opinion, the show can be broken up into different “imaginative” themes:

  1. Excitement (Intro with Mickey conducting the water cannons)
  2. Curiosity (bubble scene in the water)
  3. Adventure (Live action Pocahontas scene)
  4. Love (Dancing Princesses)
  5. Evil (Villains)
  6. Triumph, Self-empowerment

I really love that this show is brought full circle, and the way Mickey is able to defeat the dragon is by his initial fun in conducting the water symphony.  It shows that we have the power over our own fears.  The show definitely ends on an upbeat and always leaves me smiling.

Final Scene in Fantasmic!

photocredit: onlywdworld.com

I also like how it takes the theming of Mickey Mouse being the center as a reminder of how Walt Disney and his most famous pal came to be.  As it’s been said many times before “It all started with a mouse” but at the same time, Throughout all of these Decades since Walt dreamed up the idea for Mickey on a train ride, the mouse has still been the center of the disney franchise.

Overall, This is certainly my favorite show at the WDW and I think it is WELL worth the wait. ANY seat in the amphitheater is a good one.

Fun facst: It costs Disney $25,000 for each showing of fantasmic, almost 10,000 people can view the show at once. (6900 seats, 2500-3000 standing room only) (source: wikipedia)

Well, there ya have it. My little analysis/love for what I think is one of the best shows at Walt Disney World.  What’s your favorite Disney nighttime show?

What it takes to be an Imagineer

Disney's Hollywood Studios--The art of Animation

When asked about what it takes to be an Imagineer, Doug Wolf, Project Manager, Walt Disney Imagineering–Florida stated:

“Dream and pursue your imagination and goals. Do anything that stirs your creativity–read, write, draw, observe and travel. Learn what you enjoy and excel at, whether it be model-building, drawing, writing or construction. See if there’s a fit. Most likely there is since Imagineering encompasses almost everything imaginable. But above all, enjoy what paths your life travels and learn from each experience.”

To me, this is what sets imagineering apart from the rest of the Engineering world. I’ve been working as a biomedical engineer for the last 2 years, and never have I been encouraged to “do anything that stirs my creativity”.  I always thought my unique combination of technical skills and personal love for crafting is something that’s hard to come by, and is a good foundation for a budding Imagineer.  So here’ are the following steps I’m taking to engage my inner-imagineer:

-Studying new languages: currently I’m teaching myself French and German, and will be studying German in the fall. To me, learning new languages and studying cultures is important to getting global perspective-something the engineering world is moving to.

-Travelling abroad to Europe this fall: to me, travelling and seeing as much architecture and cultural inspiration is important to understanding design history and the reasoning

-Reading as much about Disney/Imagineering as possible: sometimes the best way of understanding something is by reading about the history.  Knowing the background of what you are doing is just as important as being creative and technically skilled.

-Writing: as an Engineering major, writing isn’t exactly something I have to do fairly often, but it goes as a very important skill for engineers to have.  Thus, by starting this blog I’m hoping to spark some creativity, and well, challenge myself into doing something outside of my comfort zone.

Doug said it best: Imagineering encompasses so many things, so likely your passion has a fit somewhere within the Imagineering world.  That is one thing I love about Imagineering. It is a group of people from a variety of different disciplines coming together to create something really cool for many to enjoy.


And So It Begins

We’ve all heard of the imagineers and they’re incredible inspiration on Disneyland, Walt Disney World, the Disney movies and pretty much everything you can associate with the Disney Community.

There is a TON of hidden magic that the Imagineers incorporate into Disney attractions and theme parks, even restaurants, and I’m ready to reveal them all to you.  This blog will contain my personal experiences, things I’ve learned about Walt Disney World from conducting research, and learning about what inspired some of our most beloved attractions and structures that make up the Disney parks. I hope to spark some discussion, debate, and hopefully teach some new things about the Imagineers and what goes into Imagineering.

Kim