After a few days of Cast Member previews, “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” soft opened to guests today at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — two days ahead of its planned opening. We hopped over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to catch the new show, which replaces “Finding Nemo: The Musical.”
The show is scheduled to be performed daily at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
The Theater in the Wild is located between Expedition Everest and DinoLand USA.
It has both a stand-by and Lightning Lane entrance.
The new show is 25 minutes long, 15 minutes shorter than the former show. It includes the same puppets and many of the same songs, but a new LED screen and sets.
Before the show starts, an announcement plays periodically welcoming guests (or “Marine Life Explorers”) to the Marine Life Institute, as featured in “Finding Dory.” They also share “fun fish facts” about sea turtles, sharks, blue tangs, starfish, and puffer fish — all species featured in “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory.”
Blue projections make the stage look like it’s underwater.
The Marine Life Institute logo is projected on the center of the stage backdrop.
The giant bubble decorations remain on the sides of the stage.
As the show opens, we learn that it is the rescue, rehabilitate, and release day at the open ocean exhibit.
The “tank gang” comes out to tell guests how they arrived at the Institute, before they are released back to the ocean.
Gill is the main narrator, but Peach, Bloat, and Deb help tell the story too.
The story begins with Nemo and Marlin in their anemone home. The prologue with Marlin and his wife Coral isn’t included.
Nemo is ready to go to school and explore the world, but Marlin is trepidatious.
Marlin warns Nemo about the dangers of the ocean as they sing “In the Big Blue World.”
They then transition into the school scene, with the LED screen showing the ocean.
Mr. Ray and the other school fish come out.
Performers with kites also walked through the audience during this reveal of the ocean.
Mr. Ray sings “let’s go explore the ocean blue.” Nemo then leaves with the school, heading to the “drop-off.”
Marlin freaks out about the drop-off and follows the school.
Nemo goes to touch the “butt” (boat) but gets caught by a diver.
Marlin then meets up with Dory and they run into Bruce and the other sharks.
Dory and Nemo accompany the sharks to their meeting.
Bruce leads them in singing “Fish Are Friends, Not Food.”
When Bruce catches a sniff of Dory’s blood, he goes beserk.
Dory and Nemo find the diver’s mask.
The bombs are accidentally triggered and explode.
The tank gang comes back out to transition to Nemo’s side of the story.
Sets for their tank roll out and they step into the scene with Nemo.
They induct Nemo into the gang.
Gill and Bloat then lead the audience into the next scene.
Marlin and Dory come down the aisle to re-enter the stage.
They meet the group of moonfish.
The moonfish give them directions to Sydney.
Other than the main characters, there appear to be about ten performers in the show — less than the previous version had.
There’s a brief scene of Nemo back in the tank, singing “Not My Dad.”
We then meet the sea turtles, skipping over the jellyfish scene.
Dory and Marlin have already joined crush and the turtles in the East Australian Current.
Some of the sea turtles run through the audience.
We skip back to the dentist’s office.
Nemo manages to escape being caught by the dentist.
Then Darla shows up, appearing on the LED screen in the background.
Thanks to the screen, there are fewer set pieces than the last show. Nigel also doesn’t appear.
Nemo gets trapped in a plastic bag and flushed.
We then cut back to the ocean, where Marlin gives up hope on Nemo.
But Nemo reappears and father and son are reunited!
We skip the scene where Dory gets caught in a net with other fish.
The tank gang comes out to wrap up the story, happy that everyone is back in the ocean.
Everyone returns to the stage to sing the finale song together.
At the end, Marlin says goodbye to Nemo as he goes off to school.
The performers then all take a bow.
After the show, there is a notice about doing your part to conserve the beach and ocean.
Watch a full performance of “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” below.
This was a cute, shortened version of the show we know and love. It seems like Disney was trying to make it more engaging and easier for younger audiences to sit through (and also save money with less performers and physical staging). We do miss having more performers, sets, and songs.
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