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Fantasmic Blues

#1 User is offline   hijinx 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:47 PM

Just returned from a wonderful 10 day trip to WDW complete with a last day run in with the Hochberg family at the Studios. I was part of the the opening cast & crew from Fantasmic and was very excited to bring my two daughters to the show after many years. I was extremely disappointed by the lack of scheduled shows during our stay and was even more shocked by the quality of show. Fantasmic as you know is a huge, expensive production that requires a team of over 80 cast members to perform along with thousands of dollars in pyrotechnics and natural gas. I'm assuming the high production cost is the primary reason for reducing the show schedule, however it was even obvious to my 8 year old that the performers needed more rehearsal. On two separate occasions the barges not only almost collided, but ran late in the scenes causing the performers to be soaked by the water screens. This was not only bad show, but a monumental safety issue. I'm not sure if the folks that drive the barges still practice daily, however we used to hold a test show every afternoon to test the elements and practice safe driving. During the Pocahantas scene only one of the canoes had working torches and their steering was so bad that two bumped mid way through and one got stuck stage right. I was mortified by the "cobra" scene, which looked more like a squeeze box than a slithering snake. That scene is incredibly difficult for the performers and takes many, many nights of rehearsal to perfect, however this was just plain inexcusable. I love this show dearly and apologize if I come off as too critical, however many of us worked 7 days a week for months to bring this show up and I witnessed far too many goofs to write it off as a "bad show night." Disney theme parks are the best at what they do, because of the quality and consistency of their attractions. It was very obvious to me that they need to either schedule more weekly rehearsals or go back to a regular show schedule to insure the safety of their performers and maintain the highest level of show quality. Then again I still welled up when the steam boat drove by and the crowds cheers at the finale were as strong as ever. Maybe I am being too critical and let the part of me that wishes I was back up in that booth pressing the "go" button get the best of me. Guess I better book another trip and see it again... :icon_cheers:
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#2 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 06:04 PM

Thanks for the report Doug. Hearing a report like that about Fantasmic! is really surprising and I sincerely hope those issues are remedied quickly.

Glad we were able to meet up on your last day!
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#3 User is offline   HDLady 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 10:38 PM

I agree, Doug. I'm a local and see the show several times a year. The last time I saw it maybe 2 or 3 months ago, the cobra didn't slither at all (only the head twisted the headlight into the audience and the rest of the segments stood still). Also at that same performnce, the lotus flower, which I find breathtaking when it opens and closes to the music, didn't open at all. I think a new group of college & Career Start CMs had recently been hired and I assume they weren't fully trained but then Disney shouldn't have used them for the show. Lately, It's rare if all the canoe torches are lit and the steamship boat in the finale was so late getting behind stage that I've even seen them throw the sheet over Ariel. Given you can only see Fantasmic a couple of times a week the shows that are scheduled should be 100%. Don't get me wrong, I love Fantasmic but wish Disney would invest a bit more effort in quality control.
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#4 User is offline   IHeartTheStudios 

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:34 PM

I can tell you that the barge drivers still drive in the test show every day.

The canoe torches are an ongoing problem they have been trying to fix. They have spent a ton of money and tried several new systems and nothing is working, they haven't figured out what the problem is yet. They have been completely replaced and still don't work. They are still trying.


As for the snake not slithering and the lotus flower not opening- This has NOTHING to do with people not being trained correctly and EVERYTHING to do with them being trained correctly. These are contingencies that are in place for safety. I have no idea what show you were at so I can only guess but if both of those things happened it was probably for wind. Remember, just because you don't think it's windy in the stands doesn't mean it's not windy on the stage, or that the wind isn't blowing the water just right so that the stage is soaked. Rather than cancel a performance for these kinds of conditions they have these contingencies.

Barge drivers should not be hitting each other and there are a number of other things that yes, need to be fixed but those two issues should not be counted as bad show as in someone not doing their job. The performers make those decisions based on how they feel about their safety in the moment.
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