Disney’s new ‘Finding Nemo’ show returns with extra flare, magic

New show opens Monday at Animal Kingdom

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (Landon McReynolds, McReynolds)

BAY LAKE, Fla. – Walt Disney World is preparing to welcome guests back to the big blue world of “Finding Nemo.”

On Monday, the the newly reimagined show “Finding Nemo The Big Blue.. and Beyond,” will officially open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

[TRENDING: 4 Orlando restaurants earn coveted Michelin stars | 2 children struck by lightning in Merritt Island, rescue crews say | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

During a preview on Saturday, a select number of cast members and media were allowed to see what awaits inside the Theater In The Wild.

The underwater adventure is a reimagined retelling of Disney and Pixar’s “Finding Nemo: The Musical,” which debuted at the theme park in 2007 and ran for more than 13 years. As in the original production, Marlin and Nemo each go on a separate journey that ultimately teaches them how to love and understand each other better. Disney said in this new adaptation of that beloved tale, the storytellers are a group of fish living at the Marine Life Institute.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (McReynolds)

The show flows as characters such as Marlin, Nemo and Dory are represented by live performers operating animated puppets. Disney said some puppets are larger than life – such as Crush, the cool sea turtle, who is nearly the size of a car.

The 1,500-seat theater at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been quiet for more than two years since Disney suspended “Finding Nemo: The Musical.” At first, many guests wondered if the show would ever make its joyful return, but then Disney announced last year it would be coming back.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (McReynolds)

As guests wait for the show to begin, a series of fun fish facts are introduced via the Marine Life Institute narrator, including facts on sea turtles, sharks, starfish and other marine life.

“We have some new storytelling elements. New scenic, wonderful lighting and the whole show is so vibrant,” said show director James Silson with Disney Live Entertainment. “We have also included a giant LED screen that also serves as a backdrop for our show. Let me tell you, it’s been absolutely magical working with the team, coming up with creative ways of putting content that really enhances our cast into the story of Finding Nemo.”

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (McReynolds)

In terms of music, fans of the original 2007 musical will not not be disappointed. Most of the original songs that were composed by by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and her husband, Robert Lopez, the writers behind songs in Frozen and Coco, are back, although some songs have been shortened along with the show’s runtime.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (McReynolds)

“The show is a little shorter. It actually runs 25 minutes. We think that’s the perfect length to tell this story and share with audiences, with young families and young children, so that’s great,” Silson said. “It allows guests to still go out in the park and experience the wonderful things at Animal Kingdom.”

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (McReynolds)

Some of the things excluded from the show include Nigel the pelican, the dueling sword fish and even the “flying” comedic penguins.

Despite the changes, the show is an enjoyable experience. Sit back and go with the flow.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! at Disney's Animal Kingdom (McReynolds)

Showtimes can be found outside the theater or on the My Disney Experience app.

Click here to learn more.

Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com In the Loop: Theme Park Scoops newsletter, sent every Friday morning.


About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.