In another sign of the shaky economy, Disney will reduce performances of its "Fantasmic!" spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios to just two nights a week, beginning in January. Performers were notified late Friday of the cutbacks.
No extra nighttime entertainment is planned to replace it. The finale of the daily "American Idol" competition will take place toward the end of the park day, but I don't see that as a rival for "Fantasmic!" and the AI theater can't hold nearly the number of the "Fantasmic!" amphitheater -- which points to smaller crowds in Disney's official projections.
The show remains popular, with the first show each night nearly always at capacity -- more than 6,000 people seated, with standing room for hundreds more. Many arrive more than an hour ahead of time to get a good seat.
Disney's official posted schedule for January shows Hollywood Studios open from 9-7 most days. "Fantasmic!" will be performed Monday and Thursday. Even on the busier Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, when the park will stay open until 10, there are no performances of "Fantasmic!" scheduled.
The move will leave Magic Kingdom and Epcot with Disney's only 7-day nighttime spectaculars, the "Wishes" and "Reflections of Earth" fireworks shows.
I am a big Star Wars Disney Geek, and would love to meet some more.