Disney's Fantillusion! was a regularly scheduled night-time parade, created by Ron Logan, that performed nightly at Disneyland Park (Paris) during its Summer and Winter Seasons. It features floats and live performers covered in thousands of electronically controlled lights and a synchronized soundtrack controlled by a Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling (DTMF) tone broadcast along the parade route. The parade was originally created for Tokyo Disneyland where it ran for six years from 1995 - 2001. An updated version of the Main Street Electrical Parade replaced Fantillusion at Tokyo Disneyland known as the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights.
Background and History
The Disney's Fantillusion! parade premiered at Tokyo Disneyland on July 21, 1995 featured light, music, special effects, and Disney characters. Created specifically for Tokyo Disneyland, Fantillusion! was developed by the team behind Fantasmic!, the show performed at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios, with the aim of condensing the story of Fantasmic! and putting it into a parade format. The parade's score was orchestrated by Bruce Healey, the same composer behind Fantasmic!’s theme and the Music Director at Disneyland.
The storyline of the parade is loosely based on the elements of Fantasmic!. The 31 floats were split into three acts. The parade starts with Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse, and the three fairies from Disney's Sleeping Beauty "wishing upon a star to bring the gift of Disney light" before being disrupted by Disney villains who "take the light and make it night", then ending with the Disney Heroes and Heroines who "turn the dark back into light".
Fantasmic! features Mickey Mouse in combat with Disney villains. The three main villains of the show; Maleficent, Ursula, and Jafar - Maleficent is the lead villain in both shows, whereas Ursula is the supporting villain at Disneyland as is Jafar at Disney's Hollywood Studios, are the three villains featured in Disney's Fantillusion! Chernabog from Fantasia, and the Queen from Snow White, are also in the show.
Disney's Fantillusion! was designed and built for the parade route of Tokyo Disneyland. Each act would enter one portion of the park's parade route and then halt for a "show stop". The parade would the progress to the next section and halt again for the next show stop. This ensured that every guest watching the parade could see all three acts of the story.
After six years at Tokyo Disneyland, the parade closed at the end of its "Sayonara Disney's Fantillusion!" season on May 15, 2001.
After the parade was closed, the floats which had been bought by Disneyland Paris were left outside in the harsh conditions of Tokyo by the Oriental Land Company, where they were left exposed to the elements before being packed and transported to Europe. The floats which had not been bought are thought to have been destroyed.
Of the 31 floats in the Tokyo version of the parade, only 15 were brought to Disneyland Paris due to financial limitations. Of those 15, only thirteen floats were used in Disneyland Paris' original production of the parade. The two floats that were bought, but never used were the Nasty Grotto and Murkey Dungeon. These floats were initially utilized to train new drivers but have since found other uses in providing spare parts.
Disneyland Paris also bought most of the original costumes used in Tokyo's production of the parade, but owing to electrical difficulties and European performers being larger than their Asian counterparts, these weren't utilized. New skirt-like costumes were fashioned for the Evil Villains sections as a replacement for the "Ghouls" costumes, and new Court Dancer costumes were created for the Happy Ending. The costuming crisis was also a defining reason for not using the two extra floats in the Evil Villains section - as Disneyland Paris didn't have the time/funds to create costumes for performers on-board these floats.
It took the floats more than 40 days to reach to Disneyland Paris from the Tokyo Disney Resort. They traveled by cargo ship from Japan to Australia, then set off again through the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea before finally traveling around Spain and up the west coast of France to reach Le Havre. They were then taken by truck to Disneyland Paris where they were completely refurbished. The refurbishment of the parade floats took much longer than expected as the floats were badly damaged during transit. This meant that Disneyland Paris had to repair many of the floats, replace the thousands of tiny light bulbs, convert their electrical system to the one used in Paris and enlarge the driving areas to fit the larger European drivers.
"Disney's Fantillusion parade" was due to debut in Paris in 2002, when the Main Street Electrical Parade would have been running for ten years, but instead, because of the problems with the floats and the fact that Disneyland Paris still pushed emphasis on their newly opened Walt Disney Studios Park, Fantillusion had to wait another year for its Parisian debut.
After many weeks of the parade rehearsing in Disneyland Park after park closing hours, there was a special Fantillusion preview night on June 28, 2003 for Annual Passport holders. The parade then premiered to the public at the start of its first Summer season in on July 5, 2003, running until August 31. Fantillusion returned for its first Christmas season in the resort from November 8 to January 4, and has been playing to crowds of fans and guests every Summer and Christmas season since.
In Summer 2005, the "Bat Forest" float was removed from the parade in response to budget cuts and guest feedback. As the only villain float with no character or transformation effects, the float was no longer seen as an important part of the parade. However, the "Bat Forest" float returned every Halloween night, carrying Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Disney's Christmas season in 2005 brought a further change to the parade, with the parade now running from Fantasyland to Town Square. While this brought with it a huge amount of technical troubles in the days after the switch, it allowed for better efficiency with the backstage parade preparation and meant guests would now follow the parade to the park's exit instead of back into the park. This change also meant that a maximum of two showstops are able to be viewed from any single location.
In 2012, the end of Disneyland Paris' summer season saw Fantillusion put on a temporary hiatus. It was announced that Fantillusion would not return for the Christmas season. No official confirmation has been given as to whether the parade has been axed or if it will return. The parade went out again on Halloween night, only the main floats with no floor performers for the guests who attended the Halloween event. It is currently unknown whether the Parade will return.
The introduction to the parade at Tokyo Disneyland was notable for saying the line: "From out of the night, comes the Magic of light... As Tokyo Disneyland proudly presents: Disney's Fantillusion!" At Disneyland Paris, the introduction in both English and French is simply: "Mesdames et Messieurs et vous les enfants. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls. Disneyland Park est d'heureux de vous presenter - proudly presents: the Disney's Fantillusion Parade!"
Tokyo Disneyland Version
Act 1: The Enchanted Fairy Garden"We wish upon a star tonight, to bring the gift of Disney light!"
"From the dark of night, comes the magic light. With its colours bright, and its brilliant light. Breaks an evil spell, with these sparkling lights... from the Earth to the Sky! A fantastic Fantillusion! (Fantillusion!...)"
Like the floats, the costumes for the 160 performers sparkled and glowed in ways never seen before. Truly unique costumes were created using 88 individual designs, 290 different fabrics, and 10 different light mediums including mini-lights and fiber optics. The costumes work together with the music, choreography, and lights to produce a fantastical, magical dream.
Disney's Fantillusion has 12 floats, 400 000 light bulbs, and 60 km of cabling.
Every night, up to 50 performers take part for the parade. So do, approximately, 20 Guest Flows, and more than 25 guest controls.
One show can use over 600 liters of dry ice for the “show modes” and 9 tonnes of batteries are used every evening... recharged for the next day.
Computers on board each float control the lighting display, effects, and music. The only thing that is sent to the units is a signal to keep the music in time with the underliner (background track) played in the park.
Each float has its own orchestration and variation on the main theme, with music from the appropriate film telling the story along with character voices.
Disney's Fantillusion! was the soundtrack for Tokyo Disneyland's production of Disney's Fantillusion!, released in 1995. It is currently out of print. Disneyland Paris have since released an incomplete and edited version of the Soundtrack.
"The Enchanted Fairy Garden"
Fantillusion Fanfare and Announcement
Fantillusion, Flowers, and Fairies Variation
Fantillusion, Dragonflies, and Fairies Variation
Fantillusion, Butterflies, and Fairies Variation
"Fairy Garden Fantasy"
Mickey Mouse March
A Smiling Song
The Wonderful Things About Tiggers
You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly!
When You Wish Upon a Star
"The Evil Villains"
Jafar (Prince Ali Reprise)
Ursula (Poor Unfortunate Souls)
Maleficent (Maleficent's Theme)
Evil Queen and Mirror (I've Been Tricked!)
Chernabog (Night on Bald Mountain)
"The Light Turns into Night and the Ghouls Dance"
"The Happy Ending (Heroes and Heroines)"
Ariel and Eric (Part of Your World)
Snow White and Prince (With a Smile and a Song/Heigh-Ho/Someday My Prince Will Come/One Song)
Fantillusion Theme, Castle Variation
Beauty and the Beast (Tale as Old as Time)
Aladdin and Jasmine (A Whole New World)
Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip/Cinderella and Prince Charming (Once Upon a Dream/A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes)
Castle Finale (Minnie's Yoo-Hoo)
"The Happy Ending Medley"
Someday My Prince Will Come
So This is Love
Once Upon a Dream
Part of Your World
Beauty and the Beast
A Whole New World
"The Enchanted Fairy Garden Underliner - Left/Fantillusion Theme, Dragonflies, and Fairies Variation - Right"
"The Evil Villains Underliner - Left/Jafar - Right"
"The Happy Ending (Heroes and Heroines) Underliner - Left/Beauty and the Beast - Right"
John Haupt in "From One Light Bulb to Another" talking about SpectroMagic: "...in fact a lot of the preliminary technical work for the Fantillusion parade was proof of concept in this parade. So it's kind of the interim step between the Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantillusion."