Walt Disney World Provides Some Information Regarding Fantasmic Re-Launch

In part of a press release today, Walt Disney World has provided a few more details on what we can expect from the Fantasmic! re-launch later this year.

In the press release –

The iconic “Fantasmic!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will make its much-anticipated return later in 2022 with a new show sequence featuring Disney characters – Mulan, Elsa, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Moana – in heroic moments, as well as new technical enhancements. Guests won’t want to miss this spectacle set on a canvas of water where the forces of good and evil battle it out in Mickey’s dream. The extravagant, open-air nighttime musical boasts more than 50 live performers, massive sets, stunning effects, rousing music and dazzling pyrotechnics.

Work has been underway on refurbishing nearly all areas of the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater. This work includes new lighting system, new fountains, and a rebuild of Steamboat Mickey.

Disney has not offered an opening date other than saying that we will see Fantasmic! this summer. Some observers have suggested that this possibly means July 2022.

Disneyland Resort Announces Return Dates for Nighttime Spectaculars

If you recall, Disney announced last November at Destination D23 that Disneyland Resort’s nighttime spectaculars would return this spring.

Today Disney announced that on April 22, the “Main Street Electrical Parade” and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular will return to Disneyland, and “World of Color” will return to Disney California Adventure. The resort also announced that “Fantasmic!” will return to Disneyland on May 28th.

But that’s not all!

In the announcement Disney also announced that upon its return to Disneyland, the “Main Street Electrical Parade” will be celebrating its 50thanniversary.

In honor of this milestone, the Disney Live Entertainment team will introduce exciting new elements to the “Main Street Electrical Parade” that will continue to evolve this beloved spectacular.

In honor of the parade’s 50th anniversary, this nighttime spectacular will return with an all-new, enchanted grand finale that celebrates the theme of togetherness.

According to Disney, when the new grand finale passes by, guests along each side of the parade route will see different scenes from classic and contemporary favorite stories such as “Encanto,” “The Jungle Book,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Aladdin,” “Coco,” “Mulan,” “Brave,” “The Princess and the Frog” and more.

“Main Street Electrical Parade” and “Disneyland Forever” will be shown for a limited time at Disneyland. When “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular comes back on April 22, it will run weekends only (Friday through Sunday). “Mickey’s Mix Magic” will present its high-energy, projections-only show during the week (Monday through Thursday). In late spring, “Disneyland Forever” fireworks will then run nightly in the summer.

“World of Color” and “Fantasmic!” will return to their regular schedule upon re-opening.

While not a regular visitor to Disneyland, I go often enough that I’m excited by this announcement.  I cannot wait to see all of these in September when I’m there for the D23 Expo.



Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Offer Fantasmic Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience

Beginning September 8th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will offer a new Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience.

It will all start at the Fantasmic! theater where guests will pick up their snacks inspired by the show. Menu items will feature a variety of sweet and salty treats for adults or children such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, cheese and crackers and make-your-own “worms and dirt” pudding.

Each guest also receives a light-up cup with a specialty drink (alcoholic optional for Guests 21 and older), along with a bottle of water.

After everyone  picks up their food and beverage, they’ll be directed to a VIP reserved seating area for Fantasmic!

The Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience costs $39 per adult  and $19 per child (ages 3 to 9).

Reservations can be made now online.

Disneyland Announces Return Dates for ‘Fantasmic!,’ Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad

This summer, iconic Disneyland park attractions make their return with the reopening of “Fantasmic!,” the Rivers of America attractions and the Disneyland Railroad. We know these classic attractions – many of which have delighted guests since the park’s opening day – are very special to Disneyland park fans, and we are excited to celebrate their return.

For 25 years, “Fantasmic!” has taken Disneyland park guests on a journey into Mickey Mouse’simagination, and its return on July 17 – in celebration of the park’s 62nd anniversary – will bring new magic to this beloved nighttime spectacular! The treasured Disneyland park experience guests have loved for years, complete with its original fanfare and theme song, will be taken to brilliant new heights. New mist screens will combine with innovative, state-of-the-art projection technology for brighter and more vibrant visuals than ever before, and the show will feature new scenes inspired by Disney animated classics such as “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.”

Also this summer, the classic Rivers of America attractions will reopen, starting with Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island this Friday, June 16, followed by Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbiaand Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes on July 29. For decades, guests have traveled the landscapes inspired by four of America’s majestic rivers: the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Missouri and the Rio Grande; each carefully recreated, complete with indigenous rock formations, natural forests and wildlife. The return of these watercraft will bring even more breathtaking views for guests to discover, including an enhanced adventure featuring the new Columbia Gorge section, highlighted by five picturesque waterfalls. Last year, we shared the artist’s rendering above, courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering, showing the gorgeous new north bank of the Rivers of America, which will feature a beautiful new waterfront.

This new waterfront will also include several elevated trestles over which the Disneyland Railroad will travel when it reopens along with the Rivers of America attractions on July 29. An icon for more than 60 years, the Disneyland Railroad holds a special place in the hearts of our guests, and we are excited to take them on the grand circle tour of Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom once again. This classic experience will also feature new and enhanced adventures! For the very first time, the Disneyland Railroad will make a left-hand turn to continue around Disneyland park, and I’m excited to tell you that Walt Disney’s legendary dioramas of the Grand Canyon and Primeval World have been carefully restored to their original splendor, with a bit of new magic added to both!

Don’t miss this iconic summer as some of your favorite attractions return to Disneyland.

Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America Attractions to Reopen Summer 2017 at Disneyland

Over the past few weeks, The Disney Parks Blog has been sharing stories about the original Disneyland park attractions that guests have loved for more than 60 years. Today, Disney announced that the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America will reopen summer 2017 at Disneyland park.

This includes all attractions along the Rivers of America:

  • “Fantasmic!”
  • Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes

DL Mark Twain

The new northern bank of the Rivers of America is the latest in a 60-year evolution of this classic waterway. This Disneyland original has been taking guests on a journey along four iconic American rivers since it opened on July 17, 1955. On opening day, there was just one way to travel the rivers … on board the Mark Twain Riverboat.


One year later, in 1956, traffic on the Rivers of America picked up significantly with the addition of Indian War Canoes (now known as Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes) and Tom Sawyer Island Rafts (which took guests to the newly opened Tom Sawyer Island).

DL Rivers of America Columbia

Then in 1958, another large watercraft joined Mark Twain Riverboat on trips around the Rivers of America. Sailing Ship Columbia is an exact replica of the 18th century merchant vessel, Columbia Rediviva, the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe, and the namesake of Oregon’s Columbia River.

The next significant change to the Rivers of America came in 1966 with the addition of New Orleans Square. Now guests could take a genteel stroll along the banks of the Mississippi River (one of four sections on the waterway), enjoying live music along with a lovely view.

DL Rivers of America Fantasmic

In 1992, the quiet New Orleans Square nights were replaced by a fantastical journey into Mickey Mouse’s imagination with the debut of “Fantasmic!” Quickly a guest favorite, the show went on to also delight guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

And next year, history will be made on the Rivers of America once again with a gorgeous new riverbank and an elevated trestle over which the iconic Disneyland Railroad will travel. For now, be sure to stop by the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations now to get an up-close look at the steam engines of the Disneyland Railroad, and we’ll be back with a look at how the railroad has changed through the years while remaining a Disneyland icon.

Get ready to hit the rails and the water again when Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions reopen, summer 2017!

Disneyland Closing Attractions Temporarily to Make Room for ‘Star Wars’ Land

Star Wars Land Concept Art

To make room for construction of a 14-acre “Star Wars” themed land, Disneyland Resort officials announced today several popular attractions will close for a year at Disneyland, including the railroad, Fantasmic! and most everything along the Rivers of America.

And, the Big Thunder Ranch, which houses a barbecue restaurant, petting zoo and the Jamboree stage, will close permanently on Jan. 10, Disneyland officials said on their parks blog.

On the same day, all four train stations along the Disneyland Railroad, the nightly Fantasmic! show, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island will close temporarily. Disneyland officials said work is expected to take a year, but did not set a date for when these attractions will return to action.

Cast members will be offered other roles during the temporary closures.

News of the closings comes on the heels of The Walt Disney Co. Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs’s announcement last month that construction of the “Star Wars” land in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will begin in 2016.

Disneyland’s expansion is part of a $1 billion investment agreement made with the city of Anaheim in July in exchange for a continued ban on collecting a gate tax. Disneyland officials said it will also build a 5,000-spot parking structure nearby.

As part of the deal, construction must begin no later than the end of 2017, and additions be completed by December 2024.

Disney officials previously said the new “Star Wars” land at Disneyland will be built in the northern part of Frontierland and will encompass the Big Thunder Ranch, some backstage areas and the Circle D Ranch, where the horses are stabled. Disneyland officials said the ranch and horses will be moved to a nearby off-property location.

The Big Thunder Ranch area is mostly a way station for people passing through Fantasyland and Frontierland. The Jamboree is typically closed except when it is used for special Disney events or is rented for corporate parties or by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who recently used the space for a birthday party for their daughter. Disneyland officials did not say what would become of the goats, horses and cow that sometimes appear in the petting zoo.

The “Star Wars” area will be the largest single-themed land expansion at Disneyland, and will be the most “immersive,” Staggs said last month.

The land is described as a remote trading outpost on a never-before-seen “Star Wars” planet populated by humanoids, aliens and droids. It will feature two signature attractions: one will put riders at the controls of the Millennium Falcon spaceship, and the other will drop visitors into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Visitors will also be able to eat and drink at a cantina similar to the famed Mos Eisley Cantina from the films.

From the Orange County Register

Pop Secret Popcorn Becomes ‘Official’ Disney Popcorn

Pop Secret Popcorn

Diamond Foods, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a long-term strategic alliance agreement with Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort tied to its Pop Secret brand premium popcorn. Pop Secret popcorn is now the official popcorn of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.

Diamond Foods also plans to advertise on Disney-owned channels like ABC Family and the Disney Channel. Retail promotions, on-pack sweepstakes and digital content creation are all ways in which Pop Secret popcorn expects to work with Disney.

“We have been looking for an alliance that is in-line with our core brand values and we couldn’t be more delighted to announce this relationship with Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort,” said Burke Raine, Vice President of Marketing, Snacks, at Diamond. “Pop Secret popcorn and Disney both have deep associations with movies and encourage lasting memories shaped by fun family activities.”

As part of the relationship, Disney will begin selling freshly popped Pop Secret popcorn at popcorn carts throughout Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The Pop Secret brand will also become the title sponsor of the nightly Fantasmic! Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort and plans to sponsor movie nights held at many of Disney’s resort hotels.

Walt Disney World to Test More Fantasmic! FastPass+ Entry Streamlining

WDW Fantasmic

With Walt Disney World conducting assigned seating test last week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fantasmic! comes another test, this time focusing on guests entering the theater.

The test is expected to take place August 5 – 6th.  The test will allow groups entering the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater to pass through the FastPass+ touchpoint with just one guest in the group touching the MagicBand or Ticket to the FastPass+ reader.

The idea is that much of the entry delay with each guest touching the reader will be greatly reduced by having just one member of each party redeem the FastPass+ reservation.

If the group isn’t all together, the remaining guests will be able to still enter the FastPass+ line through to the end of the FastPass+ window.

Although the tests are begin conducted at Fantasmic!, it is possible that some of the research may be used at other shows and attractions, in particular the upcoming Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom early next year.

Walt Disney World to Test Allocated Seating for Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

WDW Fantasmic

Disney is going to be testing allocated seating for Fantasmic! performances at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

During the test period, no advance FastPass+ reservations will be available, and instead, guests will be invited to visit a FastPass+ kiosk in the park on the day of the show.

The FastPass+ kiosk will then assign either a specific seat, row or section – depending on the day of the test.

Reports are that on July 21st and 22nd, the test will be allocating specific seats to guests. On July 23rd and 24th, the system will be allocating specific rows, and finally on July 27th and 28th, just a section in the amphitheater will be allocated.

The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater has seating for over 7000 guests, and the show’s popularity frequently sees guests arriving a couple of hours before show time.

Disney is keen to reduce the pre-arrival time to around 30 minutes maximum, and it appears that the tests are designed to look at different methods of eliminating seating anxiety and reassuring guests that their position in the show will be available without arriving hours before the show.

This is the second test in recent times at Fantasmic! The park has recently tested delivery of food and merchandise to guests once seated inside the amphitheater.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Begins Testing of Mobile App Pre-Ordering at Restaurants and During Fantasmic!

DHS - Backlot Express Pre-Order

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has begun testing pre-ordering of food and merchandise using mobile apps at Backlot Express and during Fantasmic!

Disney is hoping that this could dramatically reduce wait times for quick service food, the Studios test will use the guest’s phone as an ordering and delivery tracking device.

Backlot Express

The test at Backlot Express will comprise of two phases.

  • From April 28 to May 4, guests will be able to order from the app and pickup food at a counter on a tray for dine-in, or pickup in a to-go bag for take-out.
  • From May 5 to May 12, guests will be able to have an order ready for pickup in a bag to take out, or have the order delivered to a table.


At Fantasmic!, the test will take place from April 28th to May 12th, and guests will be able to order from a food and beverage menu, along with a range of some merchandise. The service will be available during the Fantasmic! pre-show and the first performance of the night only.

Fantasmic Food Pre-Order

The service is made possible with the ‘Express Order’ app from VenueNext, and requires Bluetooth and location services to be available on the phone. You can download the app from the App Store now on both iPhone and Android.

In both cases, the order will be paid for at pickup or on delivery. Payment is via credit card or Apple Pay only. There is no cash option, or using Disney Dining Plan credits.

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