Finding Nemo – The Musical is one of many incredible performances that happens daily in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s one of the lesser crowded shows and plays multiple times a day at an indoor theater, which means a cool and relaxed production! This show takes you through the story of Marlin, a nervous father and clownfish who is desperately trying to find his son, Nemo.

Little Nemo was taken by a diver to be displayed in the tank of an Australian dentist. As Marlin begins his quest, he is joined by a fun and forgetful fish named Dory who helps him to find Nemo and bring him home.

The Theater

After scanning your MagicBands or park tickets, you’ll enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Then, walk straight through the park for a while until you are in front of the Tree of Life on Discovery Island. After taking a picture in front of the tree thanks to a cast member, you will then hang a right, following signs to DinoLand U.S.A. After crossing a bridge, you’ll see the DinoLand Merchandise Cart to your left.

Continue down the path to your left, and after a little way down the walkway, the Finding Nemo – The Musical theater will be on your right. You will see signage with Nemo and friends to point you in the right direction for the queue.

The theater is indoors, with plenty of seating. It can be a little dim, so watch your step as you begin to take your seat. If you are sporting some classic Mickey or Minnie ears, be sure to remove those for the sake of the audience members behind you. Also, don’t forget to silence your cell phones. Photography is allowed during the performance, as long as there is no flash.

Show Times

This musical is displayed six times each day. Finding Nemo begins at 11:00am and plays again each hour until 4:00pm. The least crowded shows are around lunch time, so to get a better seat, consider going to the noon or one o’clock show, as everyone else will be hunting down a spot for lunch. The show lasts approximately 40 minutes, so it’s a great escape from the Florida heat. I would recommend scheduling this in between other adventures when everyone is ready to take a load off.

FastPasses

There are fastpasses available for this show, but in my opinion, they are hardly ever necessary. You can almost always walk up and still get a good seat here. When doing your Disney World planning, you don’t need to carve out special time for this show. Instead, pencil it in as an option when everyone needs a break from the heat or when you accidentally have some downtime.

I would arrive at least 20 minutes before the show starts to ensure you can secure a seat where you and any little ones with you can see. I would recommend trying to get a seat towards the middle, but there isn’t a bad spot in the theater.

The Cast and Costumes

This show is an awesome and unique experience, as it is entirely told by puppeteers. The show features a colorful array of fish puppets and unique props. It is a very creative show with new songs you’ve never heard before! The set is unique in that it is completely created by humans. From Nemo and Marlin’s sea anemone to every little character, a cast member is working hard to make the scene come to life.

The costumes are a huge stand out for this show. Walt Disney World is known for going above and beyond for each and every one of their shows, making them unique and entertaining in a very special way. The costumes around Disney have always been incredible, and Finding Nemo – The Musical is no exception.

Cast members are covered head to toe in beautiful, brightly colored costumes. The puppeteers blend in with their fishy counterparts very well. One of my favorite characters is Nemo’s school teacher, Mr. Ray. He is operated by a puppeteer on a large tricycle, helping him to swim majestically through the sea.

One of my favorite parts about this show is the extended stage that allows cast members to be up close and personal with the audience. This show is immersive and really pulls you into the story as it is unfolding. Just when you think this show couldn’t get more unique, they add in aerial work to bring a whole new dimension to the experience. Finding Nemo – The Musical has a new surprise along every twist and turn, keeping the audience excited and engaged.

The Story

The show opens up with a prologue, explaining how Nemo acquired his lucky fin. After him and his thousands of brothers and sisters were born, a vicious shark came along and ate all but Nemo and his father. However, he left Nemo with an injured fin that never quite grew to regular size. The next scene jumps to present day, where it is Nemo’s first day of school. Marlin is nervous for his son and constantly reminds him to be aware of his surroundings and to stay safe. When they finally leave the safety of their home anemone, it’s time for Nemo to swim off to school where he meets a few new friends.

A beautiful display of human sea creatures fills the stage. As Nemo bonds with his new buddies while their fathers give Marlin a little bit of trouble. Then, Mr. Ray swims in to get the kids ready for a fun day of learning. Before we know it, the four children spot a “butt” far off in the water, beyond a large cliff. After a few persuasive dares and Nemo’s frustration with his overprotective father, he swims out to touch the boat where he is then captured by a diver collecting fish for the aquarium in an Australian dentist’s office.

Marlin swims out into the crowd, asking if anyone has seen his son, where he then bumps into a new fish named “Dory.” Marlin quickly figures out that Dory suffers from short-term memory loss. Nevertheless, they quickly become friends and set off on a quest to find Nemo together. Not far into their quest, they meet an interesting group of sharks who claim they are against sharks eating fish simply because, “fish are friends, not food.”

While visiting with these “friendly” sharks, Marlin and Dory stumble upon the mask of the diver who took Nemo. After a quick glance, they realize it has an address listed. Dory and Marlin do their best to memorize the address, which says the mask belongs to P. Sherman at 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. However, soon Dory scrapes her fin, and the aroma of her blood is too much for the largest Great White Shark, “Bruce.” He lunges at the tiny fish, wanting to make them his dinner. With the help of a wrecked ship and Bruce’s friends, Marlin and Dory eventually make their escape.

The next scene opens on Nemo in his temporary home, inside the fish tank of the dentist at 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. Nemo sings a ballad before being greeted by the other inhabitants of the tank. While Nemo is scared, the new fish are friendly and make him feel at ease quite quickly. Then, a fish who seems a little less friendly named “Gill” comes out to meet the new tenant. As Nemo gets to know him, Gill becomes friendlier.

The show goes back to Dory and Marlin’s quest, as they wake up from a wild and scary piece of their adventure. The puppeteers are suspended, flying and spinning across the stage. Front flips and backflips excite the crowd as the two continue their journey to find Nemo.

This is when the pair run into a few more friends who turn out to be quite helpful. A group of fish help them find the quickest way to Sydney, Australia. They line up in mesmerizing patterns to display where Dory and Marlin need to go in order to get closer to finding Nemo. The two then make their way to the EAC, also known as, the Eastern Australian Current. 

On their way to finding the current, Dory and Marlin encounter a huge cluster of jellyfish. Dory shows Marlin how you can jump across their backs in order to avoid the stingers. However, not long after, Dory is stung badly on her right gill. She lays down in pain as Marlin tries to make her feel better, but the pain is too much, and Dory passes out.

The next scene starts back in the fish tank with Nemo where he and Gill discuss a plan to escape from the tank and make it back into the ocean. The show flashes back to Dory and Marlin’s adventure where they have made it onto the EAC and have hitched a ride on the back of a totally tubular turtle named “Crush.” Crush and his son, “Squirt,” give Dory and Marlin some musical advice and take them along a wild ride across the EAC.

When Marlin and Dory say bye to Crush and Squirt, they hop off the EAC to continue to look for Nemo. Running out into the crowd, they explore their newest environment and are met with some interesting fish. Then, going back to the fish tank, a friendly bird tells the crew about how Marlin has swum across the ocean looking for Nemo. Just as Nemo receives this news, the dentist tries to grab him out of the tank.

All of his friends jump in the net, swimming down to prevent him from being taken and given to the dentist’s terrifying niece, Darla. The dentist comes back with a plastic bag, so Nemo plays dead just as his father is looking in with the help of the friendly bird. Upon seeing this, Marlin is devastated.

All of the sudden, Nemo returns to Marlin, alive! Then, they notice a hoard of fellow fish caught in a fishing net. Nemo wants to help them and save them, but Marlin is afraid to lose him again. Nemo confidently tells his dad to trust him, and swims into the net, letting all the fish know they must swim down. With the help of hundreds of fish in the net, they swim down, breaking the net and letting them all free. Nemo is a little injured from the attempt but is soon swimming around like normal again. The father and son reconnect and celebrate being back together once again.

The last scene follows Marlin and Nemo back at home, getting ready for another fun day at school. Marlin is doing his best to let Nemo be more independent, and everyone celebrates Nemo’s return with bubbles, colorful fish and displays, as well as plenty of song.

The Conclusion

This show truly pleases Disney fans of all ages, and a great Disney World attraction for toddlers. It’s an exciting ride for the younger ones and an appreciative experience for teens and adults. Each family member will appreciate taking a load off in the cool air of the theater and watching a fun, interactive show following Nemo, Marlin, and Dory through fun adventures beneath the sea.

Finding Nemo – The Musical is a wonderful family friendly option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are many different options for shows at the Animal Kingdom park though. My top-five are:

  1. Festival of the Lion King
  2. The Tree of Life Awakenings
  3. Rivers of Light
  4. Finding Nemo – The Musical
  5. Harambe Village Acrobats

You can also find plenty of other incredible options such as Burudika, Dino-Riffic Dance Party, Donald’s Dino-Bash, Kora Tinga Tinga, Pandora Drummers, and Tam Tam Drummers.

Overall, my top recommendations for one day at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom park are Festival of the Lion King and The Tree of Life Awakenings. Festival of the Lion King is performed on rotation similarly to Finding Nemo – The Musical, but it is much more crowded. The Tree of Life Awakenings is a light show in the front of the park on The Tree of Life and is only displayed once per day, right before park closing which means it can be difficult to get a good viewing spot.

However, if you have time in your busy park schedule for Finding Nemo – The Musical, it is a great option for the whole family, especially if you need to get out of the heat for a bit.

  • Overall Rating: 4/5

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