Sixty Years of Innovation: ‘Fantasmic!’ at Disneyland Park

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Jumping ahead to the 1990s in our retrospective of innovations at the Disneyland Resort, let’s look back at the year 1992 and the introduction of a new kind of nighttime spectacular, “Fantasmic!


First of its kind, “Fantasmic!” featured projections on reflective mists and huge figures that seemed to rise magically out of Mickey Mouse’s imagination. To prepare for the show, the Rivers of America were drained to enable installation of new equipment and mechanisms, and a new stage was built on the south end of Tom Sawyer Island. The show combined the new mist screens with Disneyland park favorites – the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia – as well as rafts, mechanical figures, fire effects and more than 50 Disneyland cast members to bring the story to life.


As Disney Parks Blog reader Dustin shared recently, “This nighttime show was innovative in its blending of fireworks, waterworks, animation and live action, so innovative in fact that it’s still running (and very popular) today!”

He went on to say that “Fantasmic!” was the forerunner for the many successful nighttime spectaculars at Disney Parks around the world – and he’s right! From “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park, to “Disney Dreams!” at Disneyland Paris, the tradition of innovative nighttime spectaculars continues today.

And that evolution goes on when the all-new “World of Color – Celebrate!” opens for guests at Disney California Adventure park this Friday, part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration!


  • As a new Cast Member, I am often assigned to help with Fantasmic! Love wearing the yellow jackets. I also get to watch the show now, a lot. Sometimes I have to take my break during the show and other times I’m busy directing traffic but it is always entertaining. On rare occasions I am able to just stand and watch, having performed my duties up to showtime. On the night of March 19, we were told that the 10:45 show that night would be the 9000th time for Fantasmic! to go on. Was impressed it has been done that many times and that I was present for it. Some of the crew have been on it since the start I heard.

  • I do love Fantasmic, but I had an extra-special thrill the last time I visited by getting a front-and-center viewing spot thanks to getting the Blue Bayou dining package (which itself was a wonderful experience). Now I’m spoiled!

  • @Erin, shall I ride my luck and try for the 00s? 🙂

  • I worked for the construction company that provided the Rebar for the Rivers of America remodel and Fantasmic show and was rewarded with 2 tickets to the special Sneak Peak Dress Rehearsal … I took my 10 year old little brother and I’ve loved it ever since! I would not have a problem sitting there for hours staking out my territory as my kids were babies …. very disappointed about the fast pass/food packages! #Fantasmic

  • We saw it the first summer it opened. We walked up about 15 minutes before it started and stood along the railing to watch it. It was amazing and so much more than we expected. Honestly we haven’t seen it in years, because of the crowds and having kids with special needs. So we are excited about the box lunch option and fast passes to be able to view it again.

  • Erin,

    Over the 45 years we’ve been coming to the Park there are so many classic pieces of Disney entertainment it is hard to pick just one as a favorite. The original Electrical Light Parade, The Lion King parade, and Fantasmic are at the top of my families list. Fantasmic remains our favorite! It blends so many of Walt’s original movies with movies from the modern era it’s hard to count! Combine this with the use of all of the Park’s elements and you have a true Disney classic. We never made a trip without treating our guests to the balcony seating at the art gallery and though this venue is now gone we have many wonderful memories! I remember queuing up at 4:30 AM to be sure I could get some of those precious 22 seats! LONG LIVE FANTASMIC!!!

    Good luck Friday night, hope to be in the Park next week to see all that is new for the 60th Anniversary Celebration!!

    AZ Mike

  • When I was about to turn nine years old, my family and our closest friends took a weekend trip to Southern California to visit Disneyland. “Fantasmic” had been advertised in various publications for weeks prior to my birthday trip in May and I couldn’t wait to see this curiously dark and purportedly innovative show.

    Unfortunately, when my family arrived at the park, we found out we were going to miss the show just two weeks shy of its debut over Memorial Day. Majorly bummed, I did my best to stomach the disappointment. However, that afternoon, word spread throughout the park that there would be a special preview performance of “Fantasmic” that night at nine p.m. My family and friends lined up at the Rivers of America and I felt chills when the opening announcement was made, the lights in the park dimmed, and that chord of music reverberated through the ground as the spot-lights flashed over the audience. A half an hour later, we were all slack-jawed and my imagination was on fire.

    Best. Ninth birthday. Ever.

    And I still get chills.

  • Great big smile Erin 😀

    • Thanks for the input, Dustin. 🙂

  • Need to get rid of Preferred Dinning and Fast Pass!

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