The creation of Mickey's PhilharMagic began in the early 2000s when Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Feature Animation Division teamed up to create a new attraction . While the two divisions had previously worked together to create Fantasmic! for Disney's Hollywood Studios (and Disneyland), this time, the attraction that the partnership created was a 4D musical show for Fantasyland titled Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Walt Disney Imagineering created the attraction's storyline and chose the featured characters, before turning the project over to Walt Disney Feature Animation.. According to director George Scribner, the characters were chosen so that that they would represent of mixture of classic Disney animation, as well as the films of the Disney Renaissance in the late 1980s and early 1990s . Scribner also noted:
The film for Mickey’s PhilharMagic took over three years to complete. This was largely due to the fact that many characters had to be re-rendered in 3D. In fact, 3000 3D elements had to be molded, painted and animated in order to create the show .Due to the partnership between Imagineering and Feature Animation, many of the artists who worked on the characters in their original films contributed to both the storyline and animation process of Philharmagic. For instance, Disney animator Glen Keane returned to render Ariel in 3D, while Nik Ranieri, the supervising animator of Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, re-rendered the candelabra . Disney also tried to use the character's original voice actors as much as possible (either through re-recording or archival recordings), although some characters required new voice actors to be brought in. Perhaps most significantly, archival recordings of Clarence Nash (the original voice of Donald Duck) were used in the new film . When discussing the choice of Donald Duck as the attraction's main character, Scribner noted that Donald was chosen because he showed his emotional extremes quickly .
Disney announced the creation of PhilharMagic in a press release issued on January 31, 2002 . The show replaced the Legend of the Lion King in the Fantasyland Theater, which had closed on February 23, 2002 . Construction on the new attraction began in March 2002  and On October 3, 2003 Mickey's PhilharMagic officially opened . From 2002  until 2012 Mickey's Philharmagic was sponsored by Kodak.
Click below to read Disney's press release announcing Mickey's PhilharMagic:
On October 11, 2021, Mickey's Philharmagic closed for refurbishment. During this closure, a new scene featuring characters from the Disney-Pixar film Coco is expected to be added to the attraction .
According to the attraction's backstory, Mickey Mouse is going to be performing with his PhilharMagic Orchestra at the Fantasyland Concert Hall. As guests enter the concert hall, classic Disney music can be heard overhead. Painted along the right wall are large musical notes and staffs, as well as signs advertising Mickey's concert. As guests continue along, they can see posters for various other acts that have performed (or will be performing) at the concert hall. These posters feature various Disney characters, and they usually include some sort of pun. The posters showcase:
An Evening with Wheezy-Now in in its final squeak!- Wheezy is a toy penguin who appeared in the Disney-Pixar movie "Toy Story". When squeezed, Wheezy would "squeak".
Genie sings the blues- Genie appeared in the Disney movie “Aladdin” and its sequels, he is colored blue.
Hades sings Torch Songs- Hades appeared in the Disney movie "Hercules", as the god of the underworld who has a fiery temper.
Wolf Gang Trio performing "Sticks, Stones and Bricks in B flat"- The Wolf Gang Trio is a musical group made up of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, who appeared the 1932 Silly Symphony "The Three Little Pigs".
Ariel's Coral Group- A Must Sea- Ariel was the main character in the Disney film "The Little Mermaid". The young mermaid sings (obviously) lives under the sea, thus the poster's pun.
Festival de los Mariachis- "Una Fiesta Festiva"- This poster advertises the Three Caballeros- Donald Duck, José Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles. The three appeared in the 1944 Disney movie (appropriately titled) "The Three Caballeros", as well as the film "Saludos Amigos" and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in Epcot.
“I Pagliacci” performed by Willy the Whale- Willy the Whale was the star of the Disney short,"The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met". The cartoon about an opera singing whale was included in the 1946 Disney film "Make Mine Music".
The Genie, Wheezy, and Hades posters found in the queue.
After moving through the queue and seeing the posters, guests pick up their "opera glasses" (which are really 3D glasses) and head into the waiting room. Here Minnie tells guests when the show is about to start, and the theater doors "magically" open. Upon entering the main theater, Goofy can be heard telling guests to be seated and to move to the end of their rows. As he walks unseen around the room, sound gags can be heard including: Goofy tripping and falling, stepping on a cat, and also getting electrocuted. Just as the show is about to start, Minnie (offstage) tells Mickey that Donald and the orchestra are missing, and it's showtime. Goofy (who apparently only hears that it's showtime) opens the curtain, despite the fact that Mickey is yelling that they are not yet ready.
As the theater curtains rise, a conductor’s podium and Donald Duck appear on screen. Donald is sleeping in a box, as Mickey rushes into the scene. He leaves his Sorcerer’s Hat on the podium and then tells Donald, "It's show time...don't forget the orchestra, and don't touch my hat!” Donald then wakes up in a panic and scrambles to get the orchestra in order. The orchestra consists of magical musical instruments, which come to life when Donald puts on Mickey's Sorcerer’s hat (despite being told not to). Although the instruments initially appear to respect Donald's conducting, they quickly get out of hand. Donald is able to momentarily get them back in order, but one flute refuses to listen, and instead begins to play the "Mickey Mouse March". Donald, enraged by the flute, throws it, and then tries to stomp on it. At this point the rest of the instruments revolt. As they continue to play the Mickey Mouse March, they attack and drag Donald down into a magical vortex. During this struggle he loses the Sorcerer's Hat, and the entire theater goes dark.
As Donald comes to in complete darkness, he asks aloud what happened to his hat. Lumiere (from the Beauty and the Beast) then lights his candle (illuminating the theater) and tells Donald:
Lumiere performing Be Our Guest in Mickey's Philharmagic
Lumiere then begins to sing “Be Our Guest”, his signature song from Beauty and the Beast. As Donald sits at a table, magical dishes of food parade around. One of these dishes has Mickey's hat sitting on it, although despite his best efforts, Donald cannot grab it. At this point, guests can also smell the food as it appears on screen. As dishes dance in 3D, Lumiere continues singing. For the grand finale, he stands atop a pile of food as champagne bottles pop around him. Their popping shoots guests with a burst of air, and the Sorcerer’s Hat can once again be seen on screen. After the bottles pop, the pile of food and dishes (with Lumiere on top) fall off the table, creating a big mess.
The theater then once again becomes dark and the scene shifts. Donald now finds himself shrunken, and in the world of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. As music from Fantasia plays, the Magic Brooms from the movie come in and begin to splash water everywhere (cleaning up the mess caused by the last scene). Just as Donald is about to grab the Sorcerer's Hat, a series of Magic Brooms splash both him and the audience with water. After being hit by the water, a little Magic Broom comes through. Donald takes away the broom's bucket and laughs triumphantly. His victory is short lived however, because hearing the little broom's cry, a giant broom comes in and throws its bucket of water (once again hitting the guests with water) and Donald is transported into another movie.
After being hit by the bucket of water, Donald finds himself under the sea with Ariel from the Disney movie "The Little Mermaid". Ariel picks up the Sorcerer's Hat and begins to sing "Part of Your World". As Donald tries to get the hat back, he is distracted by her singing. During the song, Ariel shows the audience her treasure, which seems to be floating right in front of them. After briefly dancing with Ariel, Donald begins to chase after her. He then mistakenly kisses an electric eel, which begins to chase him. As both Ariel and Donald swim towards the surface, the camera focuses on the sun, and the scene shifts once again.
The next scene begins in the middle of Simba and Zazu singing, "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" from the Disney movie The Lion King. As a pack of giraffes dance along, one of them can be seen wearing the Sorcerer's Hat. Donald climbs on top the animals, trying to get to the hat, but just then Simba instructs the animals to "look left". When they do this, Donald is sent flying off screen. He is then batted by another group of animals whom Simba tells to "look right". As the scene continues, Donald appears in a spotlight, before Zazu turns it off. He is then trapped, as the African animals continue their song and dance. As the song ends, Simba, Donald and the animals fall into a cloud of magic smoke.
Donald reaching out to guests as he falls into the magical vortex
Following the end of the Lion King scene, Tinkerbell appears on screen, waving the audience over to Big Ben in London. Here Peter Pan can be seen, as Donald and the hat come falling onto the clock. His fall propels both Peter and himself into the sky, and Peter then begins to sing "You Can Fly". In order to let Donald fly too, Peter sprinkles pixie dust on the duck's tail. As Donald, Peter and Tinkerbell fly off into the night; the camera rises above to the clouds, once again changing the scene.
Above the clouds, Aladdin and Jasmine from the Disney movie Aladdin are shown flying on a magic carpet. As the two sing "A Whole New World", the Sorcerer's Hat falls onto their carpet. Donald, also on a magic carpet begins to chase them around Agrabah. At one point, the smell of Jasmine (the flower) fills the air. As Aladdin and Jasmine finish the song, Donald finally catches up. Just after Jasmine places the hat on Donald's head however, Iago (also from Aladdin) flies by and knocks it off, as he laughs mockingly. Donald then jumps off his carpet (trying to catch the hat) and he once again falls into a magical vortex created by the instruments. As the vortex swirls, Mickey’s shadow can be seen trying to grab his hat. He eventually succeeds, bringing order back to the instruments. He then concludes the Mickey Mouse March, while Donald is stuck inside a tuba. At the conclusion of the song, Donald is launched out of the tuba, and sent crashing into the rear wall of the theater. Guests can turn around and see his backside, as he struggles to get out of the wall. Eventually he frees himself, but in doing so he falls forward and out of guest's sight. Goofy then dismisses the audience, saying that he hoped they liked the show, and reminding them to return their opera glasses.