'Fantasmic!' nighttime spectacular returns at Disney's Hollywood Studios after pandemic hiatus

Lightning and rain put a bit of a damper on a big night at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, but not even Mother Nature couldn't stop the return of "Fantasmic!" at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

After a two-year hiatus, the show is back for guests and FOX 35 News got a sneak peek of what to expect.

The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater was about to be packed for the first time since Walt Disney World was forced to close its doors in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The popular nighttime spectacular is a crowd favorite, and cast members had that in mind when planning the show’s return.

"We here at the Walt Disney Company have such a rich history of delivering great entertainment, and we wanted to honor that with how we brought 'Fantasmic!' back to life," said the show's director, Matthew Hamel.

Forces of good and evil battle it out once again in Mickey’s dream. 

"'Fantasmic!' is a show that will take you on a journey where you get to see so many characters and so many villains and heroes," explained Melanie Gagne with Proprietor Entertainment.

This time, you’ll see brand-new elements and new characters, from Disney favorites like Moana, Mulan, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Frozen 2.

Then there's the updated technology that wasn’t available when the show originally debuted in 1998 - like enhanced lasers, lighting, music, and more.

"It means too much to our guests," said Katrina Mena, a broadcast creative producer with Disney Live Entertainment. "It was a task to not only preserve the legacy of the show but also introduce new characters for the next generation."

Thursday's event was a cast member preview. "Fantasmic!" officially opens to park guests on Friday.