Mickey's PhilharMagic 4-D show
(October 8, 2003 - present)
History and photos of the Mickey's PhilharMagic 4-D show in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
Located near Cinderella Castle in Fantasyland is Mickey's PhilharMagic, a musical, 4-D show that takes guests into some of Walt Disney's most famous animated films, both past and present.
When the Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, one of its original attractions was a show called Mickey Mouse Revue. Housed in the Fantasyland Theater, this show used a collection of Disney Audio-Animatronic characters to play several songs from the classic animated films. The band was conducted by Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse Revue closed on September 14, 1980, and it was relocated to Tokyo Disneyland.
The Fantasyland Theater then sat mostly unoccupied until the 3-D show Magic Journeys opened on December 15, 1987. Originally an EPCOT Center show, Magic Journeys was a 3-D show that dealt with imagination and the wonder of looking at the world through the eyes of a child. Magic Journeys closed in the Magic Kingdom on December 1, 1993.
On July 8, 1994, The Legend of the Lion King became the next show to occupy the Fantasyland Theater. The Legend of the Lion King was a show that used full-sized puppets to tell the story of The Lion King, Walt Disney's animated hit film from 1994. This show continued performing and entertaining the crowds until it closed on February 23, 2002.
That brings us to the theater's current attraction, Mickey's PhilharMagic.
Opening on October 8, 2003, Mickey's PhilharMagic is a 4-D show that uses 3-D film plus in-theater special effects (such as scents and drops of water) to tell a quick story that involves six of the most popular (at that time) Walt Disney animated films. It also pays tribute to all three of the previous shows to occupy this theater.
The experience for Mickey's PhilharMagic begins with entering the Fantasyland Concert Hall and making your way through the small line queue. The musical theme begins immediately with the statue of conductor Mickey Mouse on the attraction's sign, and the musical wallpaper inside of the building. Also along the walls of the line queue are posters advertising other performances at the Fantasyland Concert Hall. The posters include:
- Festival de los Mariachis (Festival of Mariachis) - Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles - The Three Caballeros
- The Wolf Gang Trio - The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf
- I Pagliacci (The Clowns) - Willie the Whale - Make Mine Music
- Ariel's Coral Group - Ariel - The Little Mermaid
- Genie Sings the Blues - Genie - Aladdin
- An Evening With Wheezy - Wheezy - Toy Story 2
- Hades Sings Torch Songs - Hades - Hercules
After finishing the line queue, guests pick up their opera glasses (3-D glasses), and then wait in the holding room until it's time for the show. Goofy, the Concert Hall's stage manager, lets us know when it's safe to enter the theater.
WARNING --- SPOILERS!
Inside the theater we hear Goofy walking around and getting everything ready for the show. Minnie Mouse then talks on the intercom and lets the guests know that it's time to put on our special opera glasses.
The show begins while the curtains are still drawn. It's noted that Donald Duck is still missing. Goofy raises the curtain and we see that the stage is empty and Donald is sleeping in a large box. Conductor Mickey Mouse enters, wakes Donald, and tells him to get the music instruments ready for the next show. Donald is startled and jumps into action, quickly throwing the instruments to their correct position. After Mickey leaves the stage, Donald notices Mickey's Sorcerer's hat sitting on the podium.
Donald puts the hat on his head and tries to conduct the orchestra himself, but it's a jumbled mess of music. He gets angry when a flute keeps playing, so he throws it over the audience. The other instruments begin playing and they rise into the air. Suddenly a magical cloud is formed and Donald is sucked into a vortex.
The theater goes dark for a brief moment.
A flame pops up on the screen and we quickly realize that it's Lumiere, the candelabra from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. He jumps right into the "Be Our Guest" song, and Donald plays along. At one point an apple pie is in our face and we can smell it when it gets burned.
The theater gets dark again at the end of the song. When the light returns we see that the room is a mess and that Donald has shrunk in size. In walk the broomsticks from Fantasia, and each one splashes a bucket of water on Donald (and a little bit on us as well). This annoys Donald, so when a smaller broomstick marches in with a bucket of water, Donald seizes the bucket. He's laughing until a much *bigger* broomstick marches in and scares him. He hands the water back to the smaller broomstick, but the big broomstick still dumps its water on Donald, nearly drowning him.
This transitions us underwater and into the world of The Little Mermaid. We briefly meet Flounder before seeing Ariel. Donald falls in love with Ariel as she sings "Part of Your World." Donald tries to kiss Ariel at the end of the song, but he accidentally kisses an electric eel instead. The camera then pans up towards the surface of the water, and we can see the sun. This marks another transition and suddenly we're out in Africa.
The Lion King is the next animated film that Donald visits. Simba sings "I Just Can't Wait To Be King," and all the animals sing and dance to the song.
After The Lion King, the show transitions to London, England, and the world of Peter Pan. We see Tinkerbell on the screen before Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael land on Big Ben. And so does Donald, but he falls off the clock. Thankfully, Donald is sprinkled with pixie dust, and he's able to fly around London during the song "You Can Fly" and try to recover the Sorcerer's hat.
The flying sequence transitions into Agrabah and the world of Aladdin. We see Aladdin and Jasmine flying on Magic Carpet, and Donald is on his own flying carpet. The song "A Whole New World" plays as Donald tries to fly around Agrabah and grab the Sorcerer's hat. He finally catches Aladdin and Jasmine, and Jasmine places the Sorcerer's hat on Donald's head. He's grateful until Iago sneaks up and knocks the hat off his head.
Donald falls off the flying carpet and goes tumbling through the air. Suddenly he's back in the magical cloud and we see that Mickey Mouse is now wearing the Sorcerer's hat and conducting the PhilharMagic Orchestra. Donald finally falls into a tuba and the orchestra finishes playing the "Mickey Mouse March" song. At the end of the song, the tuba blasts Donald across the theater and into the wall behind us. We can turn back and see Donald's legs dangling out of the wall. He frees himself but falls forward, crashing to the floor in the room behind us. The show finishes on that note and we're asked to return the opera glasses to special tubs at the theater's exit.
END OF SPOILERS!
Mickey's PhilharMagic exits through a small gift shop area that's themed to the orchestra. There's even a statue of Donald Duck in the ceiling as he's stuck in a few musical instruments.
Mickey's PhilharMagic is an outstanding show, definitely one not to be missed. It's even better if you're familiar with the animated films featured throughout this experience.
This show tends to be extremely busy throughout the day. See this show in the evening if you would like a more peaceful experience. The crowds at night are at a minimum, and you're much less likely to be sitting next to loud talkers / commentators, and noisy kids.
Do not pass up an opportunity to see Mickey's PhilharMagic during your visit to the Magic Kingdom. Even though this show was added to the pack back in 2003, it's still a fantastic show and a really cool 4-D experience.
|TIP||Mickey's PhilharMagic tends to be the *least* crowded at in the evenings and at night.|
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