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You’ll soon be able to find Nemo and ooh and aah to Fantasmic!
Stage show and nighttime spectacular set to return to Disney World
As with nearly everything, the pandemic threw a curveball at Walt Disney World, shutting it down altogether for a time and operating with limited attractions, shows, and amenities, when it reopened. Things have slowly been coming back online at the Florida theme park resort, and, in another demonstration that conditions are returning to “normal,” the Mouse announced two more returns: the “Finding Nemo” musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and “Fantasmic!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The best stage show throughout Disney World, “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” (Disney really loves its exclamation marks, doesn’t it?) revisits the characters from the beloved animated films and introduces some spirited musical numbers to the production. (The movies did not feature any songs).
The songs as well as the show’s look and feel, which make great use of puppets and cleverly includes the human puppeteers in the action, will remain the same. But the script for the 25-minute show, which was originally known as “Finding Nemo: The Musical” (curiously, sans exclamation mark) has been revamped.
“This story takes place where Finding Dory leaves off,” says Chris Iannuzzi, puppet master with Disney Live Entertainment. The venue is now the Marine Life Institute, and the theater has been plussed with a new lighting package and a giant video wall that will feature new scenes. “Today, the characters who had been captured will be released, and they are here to tell their story,” Iannuzzi notes.
With the new, giant LED screen, “you will absolutely believe that the 3D scenery continues” adds Matt Fiuza, art director for Disney Live Entertainment. “It’s just going to knock your socks off.”
“Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” is set to open in early summer. By the way, The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot is one of Disney’s most under-the-radar attractions and also features music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the same duo who penned the tunes for the Nemo musical (along with Disney's "Frozen.")
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The nighttime spectacular, “Fantasmic!,” which is presented in its own dedicated amphitheater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is one of Disney’s crowning achievements. It features classic Disney animated scenes projected onto giant water screens along with pyrotechnics, colored fountains, huge sets, live actors, a rousing score, engaging effects, and more.
One of the original scenes, which is presented on a floating barge, had presented characters and story elements from the animated film, Pocahontas. That section of the presentation is being revamped, and when “Fantasmic!” reopens some time later this year, it will include Mulan, Elsa, Aladdin, and Moana as well as Pocahontas.
The new scene will include over 50 live performers according to Matthew Hamel, show director for Disney Live Entertainment. “We’re going to be telling a Disney heroes’ journey,” he says. “With so many heroes, we hope that you will be able to connect with someone.”
“Fantasmic!” is one of many nighttime shows at Disney's Hollywood Studios, although not all of them are scheduled every day. Check Disney World’s schedule to see what will be available when you visit.
Are you looking forward to the return of “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” and “Fantasmic!”? Let’s hear about it.
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