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Farewell, Fantasmic! — Disney Reveals Plans for Fan-Favorite Nighttime Show

Disney has shared disappointing news, as the park has announced its official plans around Fantasmic! Will the fan-favorite return?

Iconic rides and memorable character interactions are only a few of the many magical offerings guests can enjoy when visiting Walt  Disney’s Original theme park — Disneyland Resort — in Anaheim, California. One of the main attractions of the Southern California Disney Park is its unique entertainment.

Disney100 banner with Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background at Disneyland Resort
Credit: Disney

Entertainment at Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Park is home to breathtaking parades that flood Main Street, U.S.A., with music and joy as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and many of your favorite Disney characters dance and party, world-class live performances throughout the day, and fireworks shows that illuminate the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle, making every last minute of your visit to the park a magical experience.

And Disney California Adventure doesn’t fall behind. The innovative theme park, mere steps from the gates of Disneyland Park, is packed with live performances that capture the essence of different cultures — although some consider the offerings a missed opportunity for representation.

Dia de Muertos celebrations at Disney California Adventure's Plaza de la Familia inspired by Pixar's Coco
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Related: Gross Incident Brings Disney Parade to a Complete Stop

Being home to Avengers Campus, Disney California Adventure also houses thrilling shows featuring your favorite superheroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Spider-Man — who recently got a disappointing update — Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Dora Milaje — Black Panther’s loyal bodyguards.

And let’s not forget the breathtaking immersive areas in the park, like Cars Land, Pixar Pier, and the reimagined San Fransokyo Square, each with their own unique experiences and interactions with beloved characters.

san-fransokyo-baymax-meet-and-greet
Credit: Scott Gustin, via Twitter

A Fantasmic! mishap, tragedy at Disneyland

Unfortunately, a fan-favorite offering will remain suspended through 2023 and early 2024, with no official return date.

For over 30 years, Fantasmic! has illuminated the Rivers of America with laser and projection effects, fireworks, and a breathtaking use of water and fire.

Sadly, the latter caused a tragic accident during an iconic scene of the show, forcing the indefinite cancelation of the nighttime spectacular — as well as a global cease to all fire effects — and triggering a highly criticized “memorial” for the show.

Micke Mouse in his Sorcerer's Apprentice outfit battling Maleficent as a dragon on Fantasmic
Credit: Disney

Related: Mickey Takes Dangerous Fall During Nighttime Performance, Seconds Away From Catastrophe

Speculation on the future of the beloved show quickly arose, with some saying that Disney would permanently replace the show following the disastrous mishap.

Fantasmic! Replaced?

These rumors weren’t entirely false, as an all-new nighttime show recently debuted at Disneyland Park, bringing the Rivers of America to life once again with the music and soul of New Orleans.

The new show, The Heartbeat of New Orleans – A Living Mural, may not be directly inspired by The Princess and the Frog. Still, by featuring a frog as its main character, it’s inevitable to see the new show’s relation to the current transformation of Critter Country and New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park.

You can take a peek at this new nighttime spectacular in the video below, shared by Disneyland Resort:

The Heartbeat of New Orleans – A Living Mural is, per Disney, “a limited-time experience [that] pays tribute to the spirit of New Orleans! Set to a dynamic jazz score, colorful projections on the Rivers of America will tell a short, whimsical tale of a mischievous little frog from the bayou that leaps into the lively heartbeat of New Orleans when he is lured by the jazzy sounds he hears in the distance.”

The new nighttime show will animate original artwork by Disney Live Entertainment graphic designer Marcella “Marci” Swett, best known for her chalk art at Downtown Disney District during Celebrate Soulfully, making it a unique art installation.

Image from the new nighttime show “The Heartbeat of New Orleans – A Living Mural,” at Disneyland Park inspired by The Princess and the Frog and adding the final nail to the coffin of Splash Mountain
Credit: Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort

This all-new nighttime spectacular is the perfect addition to New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park. It adds to the Louisiana-inspired culinary adventure guests can embark on at Blue Bayou Restaurant as they watch the boats in Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Princess and the Frog take over Disneyland Park

The Heartbeat of New Orleans – A Living Mural coincides with the recent opening of Tiana’s Palace in New Orleans Square, a reimagined restaurant inspired by The Princess and the Frog, and a shop inspired by Tiana and her mother Eudora, Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets.

These recent changes accompany the divisive retheming of the former Splash Mountain attraction, which is currently being reimagined as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, set to open in 2024 at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

Tiana's Palace, a newly reimagined restaurant in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park
Credit: D23

Disney has not shared an official schedule for The Heartbeat of New Orleans – A Living Mural. And while the new Disney show is currently replacing Fantasmic!, it’s unlikely it will replace the fan-favorite permanently, as Disney stated it is a “limited-time experience.”

What happens with Fantasmic!?

Unfortunately, fans of Mickey Mouse eager to journey into his imagination will be disappointed to hear that Disney has officially suspended all performances of the show for the remainder of 2023 and early 2024.

Mickey Mouse performing on fan-favorite Disney show Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park
Credit: Disney

The official Disneyland website states, “With the goal of delivering the best possible show for our guests, performances of Fantasmic! are currently paused until Spring 2024.”

However, the website does not state if Fantasmic! will resume performances during early or late Spring. This means that guests could see Fantasmic! again as early as March 2024 or as late as June 2024 — with high chances of the pause being extended by Disneyland officials. Additionally, reports have stated that the show will return without a crucial element.

But for the immediate future, fans, yours truly included, will have to say “farewell, Fantasmic!”

Fantasmic! at hollywood studios
Credit: Disney

Dream a fantastic alternative!

However, guests can still enjoy performances of Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort, which recently modified its schedule to allow more guests to enjoy this magical experience.

Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort features over 50 live performers, larger-than-life sets, stunning effects, dazzling pyrotechnics, and heart-stirring music that make the world-class show the perfect way to end your day at the park and a must-do for every guest during their Disney World vacation.

The unforgettable show features Mickey Mouse along with some characters from your favorite Disney movies, including Moana, Frozen 2, Mulan, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King, all painted on a grand canvas of dancing water, light, and even fire!

But what is Fantasmic!?

Of all the entertainment offerings at the Disney Parks in California and Florida, Fantasmic! is perhaps the most popular. Fantasmic! is an emotional extravaganza of colorful Disney-animated story scenes choreographed to an exciting musical score.

The nighttime spectacular makes the waters of the Rivers of America come alive as Mickey Mouse dreams he is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and faces dastardly villains, using the power of his imagination to save the day. Along the way, fantastic events and images as seen in stories like Fantasia, The Jungle Book, and more, come to life with live performers, character appearances, enhanced special effects, and pyrotechnics.

King Louie from The Jungle Book and some monkey dancers performing on Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park
Credit: Disney

If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy this fan-favorite nighttime spectacular at Disneyland Park, Disney describes Fantasmic! as follows:

As darkness falls, dazzling special effects transform the Rivers of America into an epic canvas for this extravagant live show.

Fast asleep, Mickey dreams he is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. With a wave of his hands, he conducts scenes from Fantasia across enormous screens of water while brilliant sparks burst overhead. Pink elephants, swashbuckling pirates, princesses and more—including memorable scenes from Disney classics such as Aladdin, The Lion King, Tangled and Pirates of the Caribbean—appear on and around the Rivers of America.

Maleficent breathes fire in Fantasmic! at Disney World
Credit: Disney

When Mickey is suddenly pulled into the Magic Mirror, his dream takes a dark turn. The Evil Queen from Snow White conjures up some of Disney’s most dastardly villains! Mickey must use the power of his imagination to vanquish his foes—and save the day.

Featuring a fantastical array of live performers, beloved Disney characters, enhanced special effects, state-of-the-art projections and superb pyrotechnics, this show will wow the entire family.

How can I enjoy Fantasmic!?

Unfortunately, guests visiting Disneyland Park cannot enjoy Fantasmic! as the show remains paused in the Southern California theme park. But guests had several options to enjoy the show when the nighttime spectacular had performances.

Belle and Beast from Beauty and the Beast performing on Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park
Credit: Disney

Guests could enter the general viewing areas for the nighttime show after waiting in the standby queue. However, guests could also access exclusive viewing areas by purchasing a Fantasmic! Dining Package — a three-course meal usually available in Blue Bayou Restaurant and River Belle Terrace — or a Fantasmic! On-the-Go Package at Hungry Bear Restaurant.

While Disneyland gears up for the return of the fan-favorite show, you can enjoy Fantasmic! through the eyes of Inside the Magic in the video below! Even if it doesn’t include a meal from the Blue Bayou Restaurant or River Belle Terrace.

Will Disney reimagine Fantasmic! to bring it back to Disneyland Park? Or will the company scrap the eventful show altogether? Let Inside the Magic know what you think in the comments below!

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