During the event, which ended at 1 a.m., Guests had access to Frontierland, Adventureland, and New Orleans Square, which was decked out with banners and giant Mickey-shaped lights that touted “Fantasmic! 20thAnniversary.” Music entertainment featuring Disney classics performed by pop stars blared over the loud speakers prior to the Fantasmic! performance. Four attractions (Indiana Jones, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Jungle Cruise) remained open for Guests’ enjoyment. As 11:30 p.m. neared, my friends and I found an open spot near the Harbor Gallery on the steps and waited for the show to begin. A nearby Cast Member told us that people had started camping out for seats as early as 5:30 p.m., with most APs settling into their seats by 7:30 p.m. We were fortunate to find standing room and still had a good view of the Rivers of America.
On May 14, 2012, I attended the first of four Annual Passholder (AP) events celebrating the 20th anniversary of Fantasmic! – Disneyland’s pyrotechnic and water show on the Rivers of America. The event began at 10 p.m., with a special performance of Fantasmic! slated for 11:30 p.m. When I saw the announcement, I was ecstatic – out of all the Disney Parks I’ve been to and all the shows I’ve seen around the world, Fantasmic! is still my favorite Disney performance. It is not often I get to attend the exclusive Passholder events, so I invited three friends to join me and RSVP’d right away.
For anyone interested in the registration process, APs received an email about the event with instructions on how to RSVP. I had to select from four available dates (May 14, May 15, May 21, May 22) at the Main Entrance ticket booths a week prior to the event and then received a voucher good for me and three AP friends to attend. On my selected day, I brought my voucher & three guests to the ticket booth, showed our annual passes to the Cast Member and received bright yellow wristbands for all of us, indicating we were allowed to stay in the parks past Disneyland’s 10 p.m. closing time for the Fantasmic! event.
My friends and I meandered through Disneyland, enjoying Fantasyland and Tomorrowland attractions before the park’s closing. Then we headed to New Orleans Square for dinner. There were so many special event foods available for our choosing, such as “Berry Brownie Skewers” at Bengal Barbecue, “Bacon Mac and Cheese” hot dogs at the Harbor Gallery, and a “Fantasmic” cupcake from the French Market.
We decided to take advantage of some of the special event offerings at The French Market in New Orleans Square. Two of us chose the popcorn shrimp plate, which came with a side of refreshing coleslaw and a giant pile of grapes. My other friends opted for the French Dip sandwich, which came with a side of N’awlins chips and grapes as well. For dessert, we headed over to the churro cart in New Orleans Square to grab some churros with spicy chocolate sauce. The churros were served bite-sized and the chocolate sauce was warm, gooey, and a delicious alternative to the usual stuffed churros I’ve had for special events. Later in the evening, my friend Andy decided to top off his meal with a chili cheese corn dog from the Stage Door Café.
The performance opened on the water screen with video clips from 1992, featuring newsreels and video clips about the creation of Fantasmic! and the premiere of the show. We saw interviews with the producers and rave reviews from patrons who saw the show for the first time. The video paid homage to the creators of the show and ended with the names of everyone responsible for Fantasmic! As the lights dimmed, a hush fell on the crowd as the show began. Fantasmic! may be 20 years old, but it’s still one of the most fun, innovative, and entertaining shows that I’ve ever seen.
As an Annual Passholder, I highly recommend taking advantage of these special Passholder events. If you do not receive emails about the events, you can log on to your Passholder profile at the Disneyland website and view announcements and special offers. While the Fantasmic! event is quite late for APs with little ones, there are many opportunities to experience Disney in a whole new way, alongside Disney fans like yourself.
About the Author: Vy T. is a travel industry PR specialist and Disneyland Annual Passholder based out of Orange County.