In April, during the second showing of Fantasmic! at Disneyland, the Maleficent dragon erupted in flames. The fire began in the scene of the show when Mickey shoots sparks at the dragon’s giant head. No one was hurt.
All Cast Members were evacuated from Tom Sawyer Island, where the show is staged and all are safe. No guests were in danger. The attractions around the island were safely evacuated. The show abruptly ended when the fire began.
Keep reading for the most recent update on the return of Fantasmic and new entertainment for this summer at Disneyland!
NEW Summer Disneyland Entertainment
Earlier this summer after a fire shut down Fantasmic! until Labor Day, Disneyland promised additional entertainment for the summer which has now been officially announced.
Starting July 21st, the live band Jambalaya Jazz will be performing on the river barge along the Rivers of America. The guest favorite, Queenie, will be returning to the band as they fill the atmosphere around the Rivers of American with New Orleans-inspired jazz.
Queenie and the Jambalaya Jazz Band will perform three times sets nightly beginning at 7:35 PM. They will be playing New Orleans music along with Disney favorites. Always check the Disneyland App for the latest showtimes.
Beginning this Friday, July 21, 2023, the Jambalaya Jazz will be taking their show to a river barge! Guest-favorite Queenie is returning to the band as the New Orleans-inspired jazz act adds magical atmosphere to evenings along Rivers of America. Disney has also shared that there will be more entertainment joining New Orleans Square so we should have more about that soon.
Disneyland has shared that there is no current update on when Fantasmic! will return. The last official update stated that the nighttime spectacular would remain on hiatus until after Labor Day.
While this may not be entertainment on the same level as a large nighttime spectacular like Fantasmic!, this live music on the Rivers of America will set a nice tone for the atmosphere in New Orleans Square in the evenings especially if you want to enjoy an outdoor table at Cafe Orleans which offers a great view of the area.
When Will Fantasmic! Return to Disneyland?
Fantasmic! will remain on hiatus through at least Labor Day. According to Disneyland, “We are taking this time to evaluate the show and explore opportunities to add new magic and touches for Guests to enjoy.”
Guests who have previously booked Fantasmic! dining packages will be notified soon along with more information on “alternate experiences for guests this summer.”
Impacted performers and cast members are being contacted for next steps like redeployment and cross training opportunities.
The official statement from Disneyland reads:
“Our goal is to always deliver the best possible show for our guests. With that in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to put “Fantasmic!” on hiatus through at least Labor Day. Teams are actively exploring alternate entertainment offerings for guests this summer and we look forward to sharing more soon.”
This is a surprising move as we anticipated that Disneyland would simply run the show in “B” mode which is a modified version of Fantasmic! that we’ve seen run in the past when the show has had technical issues. Essentially, “B” mode runs the show without the dragon but perhaps there was further damage that has impacted the show’s ability to run in this version. Like Disneyland states above, their goal is to deliver the best possible entertainment and they do not want to put on a show that does not meet quality standards.
Impact on Summe Crowds
It will be interesting to see what “alternative entertainment offerings” for guests Disneyland will roll out to replace Fantasmic! This will have a bit of an impact on the natural ebb and flow of the nighttime spectaculars at Disneyland with the Rivers of America empty when crowds normally pile in nightly to watch Fantasmic! This could have a negative impact on crowd levels in the evenings along with potentially increasing crowds for World of Color over at California Adventure. I hope that any alternative entertainment offerings come in the form of a nighttime parade (Main Street Electrical Parade, perhaps?) or similar entertainment options but this is an unprecedented situation so it makes it especially hard to predict how Disney will pivot in this scenario. Bringing out another nighttime offering is easier said than done as there is a lot of work behind the scenes with entertainment and cast members to perform these offerings.
Potential Fantasmic Changes?
It might be easy to skip right past this quote from Disney, “We are taking this time to evaluate the show and explore opportunities to add new magic and touches for Guests to enjoy.” since the news of a delayed Fantasmic! return is so disappointing for summer visitors.
It is likely that Disney has had the time to evaluate the situation and see this as an opportunity to update Fantasmic! to match the new additions we’ve already seen implemented at the Walt Disney World version of the show. When Walt Disney World returned in November 2022, a new segment was added to the show to focus on the “journey of the heroes” which included characters like Princess Tiana, Hercules, Mirabel Madrigal, Elsa, and Mulan. This new sequence is more than just new projections on the water screens but included a new Mulan and Aladdin stunt sequence. The segment concludes with Elsa singing “Show Yourself” followed by Moana coming out on the water to sing. I sincerely hope this is the reason behind the delay and will be well worth the wait, if so!
You can see our video below of some of these fun additions during our last visit to Walt Disney World:
We will certainly miss Fantasmic! this summer (speaking as someone who had an upcoming Blue Bayou Fantasmic! package booked for June!) but I trust that Disney knows best and will use this time to get our beloved show back up to quality with the potential for some new magic. And hopefully with a brand new Maleficient!
Scott Gustin first reported this news.
Update May 4, 2023: Disneyland has shared that Fantasmic! will not return until at least May 28, 2023.
Previously in a statement, Disney had shared that the show would return around May 14, 2023, and the statement that “We know our guests love and miss Fantasmic! and Disneyland Resort teams are working hard to assess when we can bring back an adjusted show as quickly and safely as possible,” a Disneyland official said. Currently Fantasmic! has only been scheduled for Friday-Sunday.
Previously the Disneyland schedule had shown that Fantasmic! would conduct performances on April 28th, but the show has now been removed from the schedule from the Disneyland website for all dates before the May 19, 2023 performance. This date could be pushed as well. (Statement via Scott Gustin)
Though the show may return soon, it may be a lot longer until we see the impressive Maleficent dragon return. Fantasmic! can run in “B mode” without the dragon which it has done in the past when there have been technical difficulties with the show. It is likely (but not confirmed!) that we will see the show run without the dragon until Disney replaces the dragon. This is likely an extremely complicated Audio-Animatronic entertainment piece. Hopefully we see a version of the dragon return soon.
See the original video of the Fantasmic! dragon at Disneyland catching fire below.
Video of Fantasmic! Dragon on Fire
View the Fantasmic! dragon on fire here:
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The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
You can see another angle of the dragon catching fire in this Twitter video.
— mlg (@MelissaLeeGiles) April 23, 2023
Fantasmic! has been removed from the schedule until April 28th (see all current Disneyland ride closures) and cleanup crews are at work on the cleanup. The crews were visible inside Disneyland today @californiadisneybliss and @disneymilken shared on Instagram. The speed with which Disney is already hard at work getting this cleared up is impressive. Though a scary incident I am glad that everyone is ok and that all procedures were followed. There was no mass chaos and the situation was handled.
Disneyland officials shared with us that they are “temporarily suspending fire effects similar to those used at Disneyland park’s Fantasmic at select shows and entertainment experiences globally out of an abundance of caution following the Fantasmic prop fire at Disneyland park”.
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The Anaheim Fire Department told KABC-TV that no injuries were reported. Disneyland officials shared a comment summarizing the situation.
“During the final showing of Fantasmic at Disneyland park on Saturday evening, the dragon prop caught fire. Anaheim Fire & Rescue quickly responded, and the fire was extinguished. All cast members were safely evacuated from Tom Sawyer Island. Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely evacuated of any guests, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time. We are temporarily suspending fire effects similar to those used at Disneyland park’s Fantasmic at select shows and entertainment experiences globally out of an abundance of caution following the Fantasmic prop fire at Disneyland park. The continued safety of our cast and guests is of the utmost importance.”
What If I Have a Fantasmic! Dining Package?
If you have a Fantasmic! dining package and the show is canceled the stated policy is that there are no refunds as you are getting a meal. If you want to cancel, be sure to do so in the timeframe your reservation must be cancelled within. You must cancel one day in advance for River Belle Premium and 2 hours for the Blue Bayou Fantasmic! Package and Hungry Bear Fantasmic! package.
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