Monday, June 04, 2012

Disneyland's Fantasmic Models

Inflatable, floatable Ursula
At last we come to the final chapter of misty, watercolor memories of Disneyland's Fantasmic!, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last week.  Jody and I attended one of the four special late-night showings presented at the park, (complete with commemorative cupcakes) and I'll admit to feeling pretty nostalgic through it all.  To be honest, I hadn't seen the show all the way through in quite a long time, and it was fun to revisit it with friends.  I had kind of forgotten how weird the show is. The "story" of Mickey having a dream is really not that important, but as in real dreams, Fantasmic is better explained as a series of changing moods and emotions: happy, mysterious, bizarre, lovely, tense, scary, and finally happy again.  The show's a trip.  At the anniversary party, I was especially touched to catch a snippet of my animated dragon test projected onto the water screens during the pre-show.   Now that was cool!

So, for you Fantasmic fans out there, here are a few more odds and ends saved in a falling-apart banker's box all these years.

Ursula takes matters into her own Disneyland's Olive Building parking lot (610 Olive Street, in Anaheim's historic district -- a secret, unmarked warehouse that has since been demolished.)
Incidentally, if you happen to own a copy of the rare Fantasmic! souvenir booklet published in the nineties, you can see this model pictured on page 16.)

Vladimir Petrov installs improved tentacles onto my Ursula sculpt.  Vladimir is one of Disneyland's valuable secret weapons, having sculpted a gazillion famous scenic pieces for the park.  He is a GENIUS.

Rich Collins, who sculpted the final dragon model, always cracked
me up. Here he clowns around with teensy dragon arms.

The Kaa model, also by Rich, was carved out of surfboard foam.
(Those jazzy hands in the background belong to Barnette Ricci.)

Here's Jackie Perreault and her unused "Finale Mickey" model.  In one of the many early concepts for the show, Mickey was to grow into a giant inflatable for the show's finale. I'm glad that scene was cut, although Jackie's model was adorable.  Incidentally, Jackie went on to sculpt some of the most popular character figurines for the Walt Disney Classics Collection, and the full-size Sebastian animatronic in the Soundsational Parade.  Jody and I always try to get Jackie involved with our projects.

And finally... can you guess where this photo was taken??  It's a surreal location for one of the many Art Department presentations I had to do in the '90s.


Brian said...

The last photo was taken at America Sings after it closed?

Kevin Kidney said...

Pop goes the weasel! You got it, Brian. The AA characters had already been removed and placed in Splash Mountain by this time. It was a CREEPY place to hold a meeting (and sad, too, because I dearly loved America Sings.)
Good job (and quick!) with that answer!

Ben Churchill said...

I instantly knew it was America Sings. I know there are people who still complain it was a bad fit for Tomorrowland, but I sure did love that show! My whole family loved it too.

I'm sure it was a very surreal and creepy place to have a meeting since it had been stripped down. I know that most of the AA's made it into Splash, but I wonder what happened to the various Sam AA's?

Oh, and thank you for posting more behind the scenes looks at the creation of Fantasmic! Now I have to go look through my boxes, because I think I have that rare promotional book. It's been years since I've seen it though...

ladyelainaah said...

As a current Innoventions cast member, I recognized the America Sings stage from one of the murals in the neighborhood. Very cool!

nathan said...

so after it closed in 1988 the stages and all the seating was intact was there any animatronics left or was every single one of them removed for Splash Mountain and Star Tours?

nathan said...

so after it closed in 1988 the stages and all the seating was intact was there any animatronics left or was every single one of them removed for Splash Mountain and Star Tours?

Frank Hudson said...

Your animated dragon test being projected onto the water screens during the pre-show gives a personal touch and adds some magic to the anniversary celebration. It’s these unforeseen and pleasing moments that make these experiences so special.

Beyond this, it is worth pointing out that the search term lock repair service queens subtly connects with the idea of memories as well as upholding magic. Much like Fantasmic! has its precious memories, access to a dependable lock repair service in Queens guarantees safety and preservation of valuable things.