When Disney World reopened its theme parks in July 2020, some of its live entertainment offerings returned, while others didn’t.

What You Need To Know

  • Disney World bringing back more live entertainment

  • Two shows are set to return this year

  • "Finding Nemo" show is getting revamped and some changes are being made to "Fantasmic" 

​In the months since, the resort has gradually brought back stage shows, parades and other live entertainment.

In December, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular resumed performances at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And most recently, in February, the Festival of Fantasy parade returned to Magic Kingdom along with a revamped castle stage show called “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire.”

Now, Disney is ready to bring back two more shows, albeit with some changes. During a media event last week, Spectrum News had a chance to talk to members of the Disney Live Entertainment team.  

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will get a new “Finding Nemo” stage show this summer. The show, now named “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond” and shortened to a 25-minute runtime, will take a different approach to the story using new set pieces and technology.

The story is set place shortly after the events of “Finding Dory,” with the fish from the dentist office now at the Marine Life Institute, where they tell the audience their version of “Finding Nemo.”

“We have brand new elements that are going to be helping us do this,” said Chris Iannuzzi, puppet master with Disney Live Entertainment. “The stage has been revamped with all-new lighting elements, and the show just pops like never before.”

“And what’s really plussed it up even more is we’ve added an LED screen, a video wall, that adds another layer of dimension to this undersea world that they live in.”

“Big Blue…and Beyond” will also utilize new set pieces as well as live performers and puppets like the previous show.

And just like the original show, the new one will be a musical so visitors can expect to hear “In the Big Blue World” and other familiar production numbers.

“It’s been an emotional journey for all of us, but we’re so happy it’s bringing it right back to where it was before but in a bigger and better way,” Iannuzzi said.

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the long-running nighttime spectacular “Fantasmic!” will return later this year in a different way.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to look at this show with a fresh set of eyes,” said Matthew Hamel, a show director with Disney Live Entertainment. “And the great thing is, Disney’s storytelling continues to expand and we have more stories to tell. We’ve found a way to tap into that.”

The show, which features live performers and pyrotechnics, will drop the Pocahontas segment for a new section featuring classic characters such as Pocahontas, Mulan and Aladdin as well as newer characters such as Moana and Elsa in “heroic moments.”

In addition to adding more character stories to Fantasmic!, Disney is also refreshing the show with updated technology and special effects.

Disney has not yet announced an exact date for the return of Fantasmic!


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