Fantasmic is a nighttime spectacular at Disneyland, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, and Tokyo DisneySea at Tokyo Disney Resort. It combines various elements, like fire, water projections, lasers, and fireworks, for a show that is loosely about the power of imagination. In all versions of the show, Mickey Mouse fights various villains (in his dreams) in a battle of good versus evil. Fantasmic! is more about the visuals along the way than a tightly scripted plot. While each version of the show is dramatically different, the photography tips for each are essentially the same. We prefer the Disneyland version of the show, although the radically different Tokyo DisneySea version is a close second. The version at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a distant third. This guide covers and includes photos from all three versions of Fantasmic!
Since this is the first (and likely only) article about Fantasmic! on this blog, even though it has nothing to do with viewing or photographing the show, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a fun tidbit that I assume other Disney fans will find interesting. Up until its late stages of development, Fantasmic! was known as Imagination! The name was ultimately changed because of concerns with being able to trademark the generic Imagination name, whereas Fantasmic (a made up word), could be easily trademarked. The Imagination! name got so far along in the process that Disneyland even made up marketing posters with Imagination! as its name. I like the name Fantasmic!, but I’ll admit that I get chills when I pop in the Fantasmic CD and the opening line “imag-in-ation…imag-in-ation…” plays.
Okay, on with the more relevant information for successfully viewing and photographing Fantasmic!
Best Fantasmic Viewing Spots
The first thing to determine when planning to photograph the show, is figuring out where to sit for the best view of Fantasmic. In Disneyland and Walt Disney World, this is pretty simple. Fantasmic’s viewing area is set up like a normal stage show/theater, with the action taking place mostly on a stage, and in the water in front of that stage. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the seating area is literally an amphitheater, with benches for seating. Disneyland’s show on the Rivers of America is a bit different since its seating blends into the waterfront walkway, but the principle is the same. In both cases, my preference is as close to center as possible, and near the front, but not all the way at the front. (more…)