Don't Panic, it's only Fantasmic!

Picture this: You just booked your resort and airfare for your next Walt Disney World vacation.  You're excited to finally know when you're going back to Disney World and you want to jump right into planning your trip.  You make your dining reservations, purchase your park tickets and even do some research into a tour or two to book.  And at some point in your planning process you look to see when you can see Fantasmic! and suddenly realize there's barely any showings of Fantasmic! scheduled for the month of your trip and wonder, "What am I going to do?".

While the current Fantasmic! schedule is deplorable, the good news is you don't have to assume the schedule you see today is the schedule you will run into for your trip.  Since Disney cut back on Fantasmic! in January 2009, they have developed a strategy to putting out the shows they feel are needed.  Keep in mind that in most cases, the schedule is still not enough but there is hope.

The first thing you should do is look at the posted schedule of shows.  A great example is the May 2011 Fantasmic! schedule.  As of the posting of this article, there's one show per night and on any day of the year when there's just one show, that show gets swamped.  What you need to do is actually look at the May 2010 schedule.  The historical Fantasmic! show times are a great tool to use for figuring out what Disney will do.  It's not a perfect indication of what to expect, but it will give you a better idea of what a realistic Fantasmic! schedule will look like.

What you will notice when comparing the upcoming 2011 Fantasmic! schedule to the historical schedule from 2009 and 2010 is that the upcoming schedule is bare bones while the old schedule has many more showings.  The reason for this is Disney puts out a basic schedule and then adjusts the Fantasmic! schedule based on what they predict for crowds each day.

Each theme park at Walt Disney World goes into the day with a crowd prediction.  This number isn't publically available but many Cast Members are privvy to the information and these forecasts give Disney an idea of how crowded the park will be and therefore add Fantasmic! shows to days when they expect higher crowd levels. So while we, the general public, don't have access to the numbers, the important thing to keep in mind is the Fantasmic! schedule is always changing.   

To put your mind at ease even further, I've rarely, if ever, seen Disney take away a Fantasmic! day it had originally scheduled.  If anything, extra shows and days being added to the schedule is what's the norm.  The schedules are usually revised 15-30 days before the show and often, Disney revises the schedule for a month in the month preceeding.

So while you're excited about booking your next Walt Disney World vacation and Tweeting out to all of your internet BFFs about your trip from chilly Pittsburgh to warm and sunny Florida, don't get too overly concerned about the Fantasmic! schedule just yet.  Give it some time and the schedule should improve a little bit better.  

P.S. Don't forget to complain about the Fantasmic! schedule to Guest Relations anyway.  We park guests should not have to deal with this inconvenience considering how much we pay to spend time in Walt Disney World.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 by