Disneyland Slammed for “Incredibly Unsafe” Conditions, No Changes Planned

in Disneyland Resort

mickey in fantasmic

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

As Disneyland Resort prepares for the return of Fantasmic! on May 24, some Disney cast members say the show isn’t safe for its performers. The conversation comes days after a successful unionization vote among 1,700 Disney character performers at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

Walt Disney Imagineering offered a first look at the updated Fantasmic! on social media on Wednesday. Most notably, the Rivers of America show will operate without its iconic Maleficient dragon animatronic. The towering figure caught fire in 2023, shutting down Fantasmic! for over a year. Mickey Mouse still battles the Sleeping Beauty (1959) villain, but not in her pyrotechnic form.

Additionally, Disneyland Resort removed the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise from Fantasmic!. The pirate ship scene again focuses on Peter Pan (1953), a return to the days before Captain Jack Sparrow took over. The updated Disneyland Park show will also feature special effect tweaks and other surprise additions.

An outdoor nighttime show at Disney features colorful lights and laser effects, with mist and water sprays. A performer stands on a stage surrounded by ancient temple ruins, illuminated by vibrant beams of light against a dark background, creating a magical experience for all ages.
Credit: Disney

However, one Disney cast member alleges that the current entertainment unionization efforts could postpone the show’s premiere. Redditor u/BroadwayCatDad claimed to be a current equity actor and former Fantasmic! performer concerned about entertainment cast members’ safety.

“Now that Fantasmic! back and the characters are going Union chances are they might… have to take the show down again to bring the show to Union Standards,” the Disney cast member wrote. “… I can say with full confidence that much of the show is not going to be acceptable to the Union.”

They alleged that Fantasmic! is an “incredibly dangerous show to operate.”

A large, dragon-shaped structure at night, emitting a strong jet of fire from its open mouth against a dark background, reminiscent of Fantasmic!
Credit: Disney

“I can’t speak if some of the most recent changes but things like the break area on [Tom Sawyer Island], all of the smoke that’s inhaled by the Wicked Queen and [Maleficent]… even the surface of the stage and the barges…are not up to current equity standards,” the Disney Park cast member continued. “Anyone on a lift or has pyro going off near them is going to require stunt pay.”

“[Fantasmic!] is the most [dangerous] show on property and it has depended on the non union status of most of its performers for decades,” they concluded. “The show might be to OSHA standards but it certainly is not up to Equity Union standards.”

Disney Parks fans overwhelmingly agreed.

The Disney character steamboat at the end of Fantasmic! at hollywood studios
Credit: Disney

“I would imagine that’s going to be one of the first things to get hammered out when negotiations begin,” said u/newimprovedmoo.

“As much as I love Fantasmic, the health and safety of the [cast members] is more important,” u/No-Rush-Hour-2422 wrote. “They’re human beings. I don’t want anyone inhaling dangerous amounts of smoke just so I can see a performance.”

The changes to Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park don’t apply to the show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Information about Fantasmic! dining packages is available on Disneyland Resort’s website.

Should Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort scrap Fantasmic! in favor of an updated nighttime spectacular? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

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