|Posted by DisneyOtoko on May 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM|
DISNEYLAND HOTEL’S FANTASY WATERS: A LOOK BACK
One of the small ingredients that Disney didn’t have to do, but did anyway to make the on property hotel and Disney park experience more magical was to actually have shows and entertainment at the hotel. Whenever I went to Disneyland from toddler days onward, my selfish and spoiled self would DEMAND that we stay at the Disneyland Hotel no matter how expensive it was (nothing’s changed to this day LOL) and if you haven’t stayed at the Disneyland Hotel you really should save up the money and stay there! It really adds to the experience and completely immerses you in classic old school Disney awesomness! The old hotel had a 50s and 60s retro look to it that I absolutely loved as a kid and loved as a teenager. I loved all the intricacies, charms and details. The gardens and waterfalls that occupied the area near the south tower were just beautiful. You could actually walk through that area and see beautiful ponds and spectacular soothing waterfalls. These were removed in the 2011-2012 remodel of the hotel and it has lost a little bit of its charm, but it’s still extremely magical. Why am I telling you all this? Well another aspect of the retro Disneyland Hotel was a dancing water show called Fantasy Waters that ran at the hotel at night from 1991 to 2004. This was a huge part of my Disneyland Hotel experience that I will always cherish and I thought I should share this forgotten and lesser known gem from the past with you.
The show was a simple, charming, short and sweet 20 minute musical and hydrotechnic display of Disney’s history structured and presented in a very simple, charming and excellent manner. This is essentially World of Color except much smaller with no actual footage projected, but just dancing water (much like the Bellaggio Fountains) and the wall projected some basic colors for ambience however it looked like that sort of ambience displays you find when you play music on your computer. Still while World of Color is a very pretty yet unfocused clipshow Fantasy Waters was much more focused with a beginning, a middle and an end and was very professional in its delivery. The show is narrated by Jack Wagner (who you old timers might remember was the original voice of the Monorail station and has always been the voice of the Disneyland Railroad saying “Your attention please, The Disneyland Limited now leaving for a grand circle tour of the Magic Kingdom. All Aboard!”and the safety spiel for the Matterhorn.) He has a distinct deep voice and he narrates the show by chopping the then Disney timeline of classic animated and live action features, parks, and Animation Renaissance. As opposed to just an unfocused clipshow like World of Color it was a show that presented thoughts and ideas that you would expect old school Disney to showcase. The songs are very nice and well selected. The songs that were chosen though were actually popular covers of the classic songs. The Harry Connick Jr. cover of Bare Necessities, that 70s version of Zip a dee doo dah being the prime examples. Some of them were the original versions of songs though. The main weakness of the show is that they never really updated it. It was always stuck in 1991 and no new songs were added to keep up with what was popular. Fantasmic could just add new characters in costume for the finale and be okay, but not this. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did, but even up to the final year of performances the show still had a fairly substantial crowd and was well received despite its age.
As much as I like World of Color and it is very impressive there’s something about the straight forward simplicity and charm of Fantasy Waters that draws me to it and add in the nostalgia and you have a show that’s never going to leave. I have a copy of the show recorded so I can watch it whenever I want so I’m still happy!
There are some crazy moments in this world. Just days after I posted my thoughts of cautious optimism about the next installment in the Batman Arkham series it’s as if Warner Brothers Montreal read my article and have basically released a 40 second teaser for the teaser trailer. A teaser for a teaser if you will. And that 40 second teaser of snippets of a cutscene of Batman fighting Deathstroke was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The real teaser will be released on Monday. I’m excited more now that I’ve actually seen a scene with fluid motion and presentation!