Hercules is a film that received minimal presence in the Disney theme parks. The most longstanding tie-in have been character meet & greets, but even those are few and far between these days, with the most consistent being a surefire appearance by Hades around Halloween. Arguably the biggest stamp Hercules made on Walt Disney Parks & Resorts was Hercules: The Muse-ical, a stage show performed for nearly a decade on the Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder ship. It had its final performance in 2008 to make way for Toy Story: The Musical.
Not taking itself seriously for a moment, Hercules‘ sea voyage was practically half musical, half stand-up comedy. Hades, Pain, and Panic (the latter two both portrayed by women) especially packed a humorous punch, infusing relevant pop-culture references into the script. They often changed to keep up with current trends, much like Genie’s jokes in Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, still performing at Disney California Adventure.
Here’s a glimpse of the comedic dynamic of the show, with Hades listing his five steps to ruling the cosmos (with lovely 2007 pop-culture laughs).
At the same time, though, the show had quite an impressive production caliber as a full-fledged musical. Take a look at “Zero to Hero” below. (You’ll notice, keeping with the farcical nature of the show, one of the Muses is a dumb blonde and another is a guy.)
I enjoyed this show when I saw it at age 13. I remember laughing and laughing and laughing with my siblings and cousins. Hercules may not have that huge of a presence in the parks today, but this show definitely captured the unique nature of the film.