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Hidden Treasures
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Karl Buiter

Fantasy Waters

Long-running program provides great show at Disneyland Hotel

Text and photos by Karl Buiter, contributing writer

Fantasy Waters “Magic of Disney Music” at the Disneyland Hotel. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Welcome back to Hidden Treasures. Readers of early MousePlanet may remember that I covered the lesser known but sometimes most magical of sights at the Disneyland Resort, including Snow White's Grotto and the Wishing Well, the Mark Twain Pilot House, and the now-closed Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough.

The inspiration for Hidden Treasures actually was the Fantasy Waters “Magic of Disney Music” water and light show. Hidden in a far corner of the Disneyland Hotel—past the pool, Goofy's Kitchen, and the Bonita Tower—Fantasy Waters is a magical break from your day at the Disneyland Resort, and one of the truly Hidden Treasures within the resort complex.

Fantasy Waters has been around for a long time. So long, in fact, that the “All New” updated show was from the early '90s. Disneyland has seen numerous nighttime shows attract our attention since then, including Fantasmic! from 1992 and the now-retired Believe fireworks show. That Fantasy Waters survived the reconstruction of the resort is amazing. It is the Way-Back Machine to a golden time for Disney movies and Attractions.

Fantasy Waters comes to life. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Fantasy Waters is a dancing waters show on a grand scale. Not quite as huge or as grand as the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but for an intimate setting with very colorful lighting and a few tricks on the rear wall, it's a wonderful show to see.

The patterns become more intricate through the tune “Someone” from The Rescuers. Photo by Karl Buiter.

And Mystery
And Happiness

Love, Laughter.
All these, and more.
All these, in music!

And once upon a magical, musical time the classic Disney films gave us music that endeared, memories the endured,

You just know it's actual, everything is satisfactual!

Chandeliers of water animate in varying patterns. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Fantasy Waters opens with the basics. Small sculptures of water intermixed with walls of water illuminated in alternating colors. The first section of the show highlights some classic Disney films, sometimes set to new arrangements.

The pattern and colors pulsate to “Golden Afternoon” from Alice in Wonderland. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The show opens with “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” sung by Ric Ocasek of The Cars.

We get into original film music including:

  • “Alice in Wonderland” from Alice in Wonderland
  • “Golden Afternoon” from Alice in Wonderland
  • “Candle on the Water” from Pete's Dragon
  • “Someone” from The Rescuers

Then “The Bare Necessities” from Jungle Book, by Harry Connick Jr.

A sizeable crowd watches the “Step In Time” sequence. Photo by Karl Buiter.

And finally a lengthy portion of “Step In Time” from Mary Poppins.

Water fountains alternate with the colored panels. Photo by Karl Buiter.

A light panel wall comes to life toward the end of the classic Disney music sequence. Harry Connick Jr. covers “Bare Necessities” as the light wall and fountains rapidly alternate to the music. By the film version of “Step In Time,” the light wall and fountains are fully in sync. Different animated patterns appear on the wall, sometimes eerily reminiscent of early video game graphics.

Colored panels of light take center stage during the Main Street Electrical Parade music segment. Photo by Karl Buiter.

We know movies are fleeting glimpses of our fantasies
Flickering images on celluloid.
But there is a magical land, a Disneyland
Where the fantastic comes real.
Go ahead, stretch out your imagination.
And dream.
Go ahead, reach out your hand,
And touch.

The show takes a narrative turn to the attraction music of Disneyland. The music list includes:

  • “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” from the Enchanted Tiki Room.
  • “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from Haunted Mansion.
  • “Another Part of Me” from Captain EO.
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade theme
  • “Golden Dream” from The American Adventure.


What's that? For the answer to where you can still find Michael Jackson singing at a Disney park, the answer is Fantasy Waters. And lest we forget, the American Adventure is an Epcot park attraction. Disney Entertainment has been mixing up theme parks and their attractions for a long time.

The light wall suffers from colored panels that need replacement. However I do enjoy its fairly organic appearance. It's sort of like perfect fireworks—we always look for that perfect “Mickey.”

Sleeping Beauty Castle—a missing show element. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Some Christmas-tree light frames remain off in recent performances. There are four character frames, two flanking the castle on each side, that also have been conspicuously absent in recent performances.

Water and Light make Magic. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The future of our lives
Even the future of our fantasies
Is built on the foundation of the past.

Yesterdays dreams become today's reality.
The possible becomes commonplace.
Innovation becomes tradition.

And the new generation of film classics promises magic and music
for the children of today,
the vision of tomorrow,
and the dream that lives in all of us forever.

One of the water fan displays. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The third section of Fantasy Waters covers “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, and “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast. The show finishes with “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

The star panel in “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Photo by Karl Buiter.

Thank-you for joining us here at Fantasy Waters.
We hoped you've enjoyed the show and have a great visit at Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel

The Finale. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The show runs about 16 minutes long. It appears nightly all year round. Present show times are 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.



One of the founding members of MousePlanet, Inc., Karl Buiter is now a contributing writer. He lives in Las Vegas, NV, and is a software developer with an interest in monorails.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Karl here.


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