Happiest Place On Earth Gets Happier
By Jules E. Beuck
Photos by Jules E. Beuck

Disneyland Resorts is evolving once again. This time the evolution is in the original park, Disneyland. Fantasyland Theatre which has been virtually unused for almost a decade now has a new multi-media presentation, “Mickey and the Magical Map.”

This show involves a 19,000 pound LED screen, live singers and dancers, characters and songs from Disney movies and of course Mickey Mouse. The audience is drawn back to Mickey, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from “Fantasia.” The wizard Yen Sid has created a magical map that will take dreamers any place imaginable. He has his map makers’ work painting the map. They leave with one spot unpainted. Mickey tries to finish the map by filling in the spot. The spot has other ideas and takes Mickey on an adventure that revisits such films as “The Jungle Book,” “Pocahontas,” “Mulan,” “Tangled,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Lilo & Stitch” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

The map comes apart and back together depending on what is happening onstage. Mickey gets drawn into the map and reappears live onstage right before the audience’s eyes. The singing and dancing is Broadway quality, and the trumpeter that trades solos with a scatting costumed King Louie from “The Jungle Book,” is nothing short of phenomenal.

The stage had to be reinforced to carry the weight of the screen and the performers. There are 54 performers, 24 of which are performing per presentation. The show runs about 22 minutes and will be something the little ones will enjoy. Yen Sid ends the show by paraphrasing Walt Disney’s description of Disneyland, “This map will never be completed as long as imagination is left in the world.”

To make room for the show just outside It’s A Small World, a new venue had to be created. Until recently, the Disney Princesses had been greeting guests at the Fantasyland Theatre. Enter Fantasy Faire, which has been open since March. According to Jon Storbeck, the Vice President of Disneyland Park, the overwhelming popularity of the princesses led to the creation of Fantasy Faire. This extension of Fantasyland serves two purposes. First, at the Royal Hall guests can have a meet and greet with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and other Disney Princesses and then across the way at the Royal Theatre, Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones help Belle and Rapunzel tell their tales using comedy and improvisation. We saw the presentation of “Beauty and the Beast” and found that there were elements for adults and children alike.

As with any Disney presentation there has been much attention to detail. Subtleties are there that may not always be noticed but still add to the ambiance of the experience.

These two attractions add to the thrill and sense of wonderment for the little ones and are entertaining for the big ones as well.

Debra Noama contributed to this article

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