Animazement - The Musical
Daily at 12:45, 2:00, 3:15, 5:15, and 6:30 p.m.
Photo of Animazement
“You’re just in time for a singing crustacean, a Belle and bellringer,
a girl who’s fish, and the wish that would bring her...”
— opening lines from Animazement - The Musical

Take a seat in the Fantasyland Theatre for the show that brings animation to life—and puts characters from different animated movies onto the same stage and even into the same scenes.

Animazement begins with four singing, dancing animators working on large paintings. Of course, animators are artists. You can tell they’re artists because they’re wearing vests and berets.

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The artists complete their paintings of Hercules, Ariel, Quasimoto, and Belle.

The paintings on stage aren’t simple, flat paintings. They’re actually three-sided, wheeled cabinets which can be spun around and pushed aside. A character emerges from each cabinet, and other characters appear just as quickly. They sing a line or two from various Disney features.

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Pocahontas, Hercules, Aladdin, Ariel, and Quasimoto share the stage with four animators.

This show includes familiar songs from animated Disney features released between 1989 and 1997—and a brand new, original song, “It Starts With A Sketch,” written just for this theme park musical. It’s reprised several times during the show.

Photo of Animazement
“Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test.
Tie your napkin ’round your neck, chérie, and we’ll provide the rest.”

Soon, there’s a big production of “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. That’s immediately followed by a big production of “One Jump Ahead,” from Aladdin. During these production numbers, there’s no attempt to merge multiple movies—except that evil Minister of Justice Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame interrupts “One Jump Ahead,” with a snippet of “Hellfire,” for some strange reason.

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“Under the sea, Under the sea,
Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter,
Take it from me.”

That’s followed by a big production of “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. Next, from the same movie, Ariel yearns to be in a place where people have legs rather than fins in “Part of Your World.” And there’s more yearning ahead.

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That famous trio: Hercules, Quasimoto, and Pocahontas.

You may wonder what Hercules, Quasimoto, and Pocahontas have in common and why they’re on stage together. Actually, it makes sense—they all sing songs of hope and yearning. (Ariel isn’t the only Disney star who yearns for something.) Pocahontas starts with “Just Around the Riverbend,” yearning for exciting new experiences. Hercules joins in with “Go the Distance,” yearning to achieve fame and glory. Then, Quasimoto completes the trio with “Out There,” yearning for a life among the citizens of Paris. All three of them blend their songs together, heightening and reinforcing the sense of yearning.

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“Madames and Monsieurs! We asked for the ugliest face in Paris, and here he is.”

It’s Topsy Turvy Day for the next big production number, a rousing performance of “Topsy Turvy” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Clopin sings, as stage full of gypsies dance and sing with him.

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You can’t have a big multi-movie Disney stage show without The Lion King

The final big production number before the finale is the “Circle of Life” from The Lion King.

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“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...
the page to stage, presenting your animazing friends!”

The show concludes as it started, with the animators, the three-sided cabinets, and a reprise of “It Starts With A Sketch.” Just for good measure, they throw in a little bit of Beauty and the Beast.

Animazement - The Musical opened in Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theatre in June 1998. It was the first new show after the venue was roofed over with a translucent, twin-peaked roof.

The full name of the show was Disneyland Presents Animazement - The Musical. I’m not sure why the powers at Disneyland felt a need to include The Musical as part of the name. Did they think that some day there would be Animazement - The Book, Animazement - The Movie, and Animazement - The Ride?

It could have been worse. The show was almost called Disney Stars LIVE! - Where Animation Steps On Stage.

Although Animazement had fans who loved the show, others missed the heart and real story lines of the two prior musicals on the same stage—Beauty and the Beast and The Spirit of Pocahontas. Because of the inherent strength of the songs and the talented performers who presented them, Animazement was not without emotional appeal, despite the lack of a story. The sets were spectacular for the theme park show.

The content of Animazement came from seven Disney features from a relatively brief period of Disney animation history—The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), and Hercules (1997). With the exception of The Lion King, Alan Menken was the composer for all of them. Alan Menken also composed “It Starts With A Sketch,” the new song for this musical.

Animazement promised to bring characters and stories together from different Disney movies. At one point in the show, one of the animators even says, “It’s a daunting task bringing all these stories together. In fact, it’s Animazement.”

Perhaps the task was too daunting. The scene with Hercules, Quasimoto, and Pocahontas expressing hopes for their futures delivered on the promise (and was probably the most original and best scene in the show). Most of the show was a series of production numbers, each from a different movie. And in several cases we had seen similar production numbers in earlier Disneyland shows—Beauty and the Beast, The Spirit of Pocahontas, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame Festival of Fools. The production numbers in Animazement were done well, but they didn’t add up to a cohesive show.

Animazement closed in October 2001 after a long run, The next shows at the Fantasyland Theatre were Minnie’s Christmas Party (holiday season 2001), and Mickey’s Detective School - A Musical Toondunit (opened April 2002).

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© 2007-2009 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Last updated December 24, 2009.

Photo of Animazement stage and audience: 2000 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Animazement with animators and paintings: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Animazement with Pocahontas, Hercules, Aladdin, Ariel, and Quasimoto: 2000 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Animazement Beauty and the Beast production: 2000 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Animazement The Little Mermaid production: 2000 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Animazement yearning trio production: 2000 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Animazement Hunchback of Notre Dame production: 2000 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Animazement The Lion King production: 2000 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Animazement end: 2000 by Werner Weiss.