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Fanstamic is what Disney refers to as a night time spectacular. The show--in Disneyland--opened in 1992 with hopes of providing a little nightlife to Disneyland. The intention was for the show to play for 5 years, but still continues today because of its popularity with guests. Disneyland's river had to be drained to create a new stage for the show; a new stage that during the day appears to be part of Tom Sawyers Island.
In 1996, WDW began to develop a new version of Fantasmic, however the riverfront in Magic Kingdom could not accomadate the crowds or the show, so a new purpose built ampitheater was built in MGM Studio's--with the hope of boosting attendance at MGM.
The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is the purpose-built riverside amphitheatre at the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, USA that showcases the nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! It is located off of Sunset Boulevard, between the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Beauty and the Beast stage show. The location was chosen to help boost attendance to the once struggling park, and as an alternate to the Magic Kingdom's Rivers of America which, unlike Disneyland's, could not easily house such a production. The Fantasmic! stage in Florida is much larger than Disneyland's, featuring a man-made, 50-foot-tall mountain on which Sorcerer Mickey stands. The amphitheater can seat up to 6,900 guests in addition to standing room for 2,000 to 3,000 guests, resulting in a capacity of nearly 10,000.
There are many differences between the two shows, but the most obvious to me is that Disneyland has a seen with a pirate ship, Hook, and Pan, and WDW has a scene from Pocahontas. It is estimated that each show costs Disney $25,000.
Now, the word Fantasmic. Where did it come from? Supposedly the Disney Company originally wanted to call the show 'Imagination' but could not trademark the word and instead went for Fantasmic. There is only speculation as to this words origin--phantasm is a greek word meaning an 'illusion or fantasy and then just mix in the word fantastic?--no official info. My guess--take fantastic and 'Mic'key, and you get 'Fantasmic!'
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