‘Mickey’s PhilharMagic’ at Magic Kingdom

Filed in: Magic Kingdom Park, Technology, Walt Disney Imagineering

Lights, Music, Special Effects, Action!

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Located in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, “Mickey’s PhilharMagic,” features the world’s largest seamless projection screen, representing the most immersive wrap-around image Disney has ever created. The screen measures 150 feet long and 24 feet high. The show begins with a concert hall proscenium measuring 40 feet by 16 feet, gradually expanding and revealing itself to a length of 150 feet, resulting in an experience that embraces the audience in a 165-degree musical extravaganza. As the theater magically “disappears,” guests become immersed in the imagery and performance, experiencing favorite Disney characters in an entirely new way.

The production of “Mickey’s PhilharMagic,” created totally on computer, represents the first time featured classic Disney characters were completely modeled and animated via computer. Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation collaborated to achieve the production, bringing some of the original animators back to the desktop, including Glen Keane, animator of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” and Nik Ranieri, animator of Lumiére for Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast.” The digitally animated show was then transferred to film.

In-theater special effects, first introduced by Disney with the 1986 Disneyland 3-D film “Caption EO,” are embedded in “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” in a subtle form. “We integrated the effects naturally to create a seamless, exceptionally entertaining theatrical experience,” said Creative Producer Kevin Rafferty, Walt Disney Imagineering. Guests will smell the apple pie during “Be Our Guest,” and note a hint of jasmine in the air during “Aladdin” — scent effects that only Disney found ways to perfect. Guests feel the wind created during Donald’s antics and other technical effects throughout the show, in ways that are subtly integrated. A customized system delivers the same experience to each guest.

What would a musical be without fantastic audio capabilities? “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” features a state-of-the-art theater audio system, with nine full behind-the-screen audio clusters. The use of “traveling sound” supports the believability of the show, as in the scene where the sound of Goofy’s footsteps moves through the theater as he runs from back to front.

The interactive lighting system developed by Disney for the Tokyo DisneySea resort makes its U.S. debut in “Mickey’s PhilharMagic.” The system runs on its own system, with a series of cyber lights, while synchronized with the film through computerization. Smoke effects enable guests to see the lights, casting shadow elements that are integrated into the performance.