"Reality Trip" is the third Danny Phantom TV movie, consisting of episodes 39 and 40. Danny, Tucker, and Sam are getting ready for summer vacation, but when Freakshow arrives and kidnaps their parents, they must find the Reality Gems for the Reality Gauntlet in order to save them. And in the chaos, Danny's secret identity is revealed to the entire world!
Originally named "School Spirit" and promoted as "School's Out, Ghouls Out" on Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon aired this episode after "Double Cross My Heart" and "Kindred Spirits" despite occurring before them in the series' continuity, possibly to have it coincide with school ending for the summer.
Danny hastily wakes up and gets ready for the last day of school, using his ghost powers to avoid being kept after school for tardiness. He then flew outside and hovered there stating that he would 'just take the aerial route'. Before he could be on his way, however, Jack saw him through the bathroom window while he was taking a bath and threatened him, though Danny easily dodged the blast from Jack's blaster then skedaddled. As Danny flies off, he passes by the Amity Park Penitentiary where Freakshow is still in prison from his previous episode, where he is being interrogated by the Guys in White. He is questioned about the Reality Gauntlet, of which he denies any knowledge until they show off the captured Lydia and their plans to use the glove to eradicate all ghosts, including Danny Phantom.
Desperate to get revenge on the ghost boy, Freakshow is freed from his chains and goes off to explain the gauntlet to the best of his ability, placing the the Reality Gems in their holes on the glove (the Gem of Life, which can bring anything to life, the Gem of Form, which can change the shape of anything, and the Gem Of Fantasy, which is able to make your dreams come true). Placing the fourth and final gem, the power source (one of Freakshow's earrings), Freakshow uses the Gem of Life, causing the Guys in White's weapons to come alive and twist themselves around them. However, the Gauntlet cannot be used to its full extent unless the wearer operates the gems in the correct order. As Freakshow does not know the order, he has limited power. He frees and escapes with Lydia, vowing to take over the world with him as the ringleader.
Meanwhile, Danny, Sam and Tucker are excited for their cross-country summer vacation together. Danny is taking them to Cape Canaveral for the space program, Tucker is taking them to the San Diego Sci-Fi and Comic Book Convention, and Sam is taking them to Gothapalooza in the Nevada desert. But first, they plan to go to a Dumpty Humpty concert located near their school. Jazz then accidentally bumps into Danny and reveals that she is working on a thesis on Ghost Envy for her college entry, even though it is over a year away.
Their summer vacation takes a turn for the worse when Lydia attacks the Dumpty Humpty concert with her tattoos. Danny manages to fend them off, then goes after his friends who have been taken by two of Lydia's tattoos. There they reunite with Freakshow. Danny fights him, but he is put at a disadvantage when Freakshow uses the Gauntlet to create monsters out of two oil trucks through the Gem of Form and brings them to life with the Gem of Life. As Danny fights the two, the Guys in White appear as well, leading Freakshow to create a giant humanoid snow monster from a cloud, which falls and crashes on both the Guys in White and the oil truck monsters. Freakshow makes his escape with Lydia via the Circus Gothica train, using the gems to make it sprout wings and fly off. Danny takes his friends back to the concert, much to Sam's complaint, stating that he's on vacation and the Guys in White can handle Freakshow.
Back at the concert, Sam and Tucker research the Reality Gauntlet in a book written by Freakshow, but Danny cares more about his summer vacation and the concert. The concert is supposed to start with a giant egg on the stage opening and revealing the band, but the egg has been brought to life by Freakshow, who shows up on stage. Lydia again kidnaps Sam and Tucker while Danny fights. All of this is being shown on the news, watched by the Fenton parents and Jazz, who doesn't want to go on vacation would prefer to work on her thesis. After Freakshow creates a spider out of a drum set, Tucker and Sam manage to break free from Lydia's grip and both grab onto the Gauntlet, Danny joins in, each of them touching one of the three Gems, accidentally activating its true power. As they struggle to hold on to the Gauntlet, Sam remembers reading that the Gauntlet has a self-defense mechanism, if someone who is touching a Gem thinks about hiding it, it will disappear and re-appear in the location they thought of. After Danny, Sam, and Tucker hide the Gems, they all fall back on stage where Freakshow once again leaves with Lydia. Danny, too weakened to follow, is forced to transform back to his human state in front of hundreds of people, including the TV crew, letting the world know his identity.
At the Fenton household, Danny's parents are shock that their own son is a ghost. As Jazz steps in front of the TV to urge them not to jump to any insane conclusions, Sam and Tucker's parents enter, having also watched the TV. The parents begin to blame each other for the current mess that is going on until Lydia captures them all. Back at the concert, the kids are all shocked Danny is the ghost boy. Even more chaos comes when the Guys in White arrive by jetpack, hoping to take Danny to experiment on him. Danny flies Sam and Tucker away, but quickly turns human again, his ghost powers apparently screwed up from the Reality Gauntlet's explosion. However, Sam is able to get them away from the Guys in White via mosh pit, the kids now cheering for Danny. They run off and are eventually rescued by Dash Baxter, Paulina, Kwan, and the rest of the football team, all of them willing to help Danny and his friends because they have helped them many times before. While the Guys in White search, the three (disguised as a football player, the school mascot, and a cheerleader) are led by their peers into a forest.
Danny and his friends make it back to the Fenton household, planning to get rid of the Gauntlet Freakshow wears, but once inside, they are ambushed by the Guys in White and their cohorts. As they interrogate Danny, Lydia (currently invisible) sends three of her tattoos to hide in each of the trio's shirts to keep watch. Danny activates the Fenton Works Anti-Creep Mode which causes the house to attack anything using Ecto-Energy, including the Guys in White and Danny in ghost mode. The trio make their way to the Emergency Ops Center and activate the Fenton Blimp. The Guys in White catch up and Danny presses a button causing the blimp to turn into a jetplane which they use to escape, Danny turning it invisible to give them a further advantage, unaware of a tracking device the Guys in White managed to place on the plane.
The next day, Danny gets a contact on the Fenton Jetplane. Thinking it's his parents, he gets ready to confess about his powers, but it ends up being Freakshow. He blackmails Danny into getting the Gems back, as he and his friends know where they are, in exchange for their parents' (and Jazz's) lives and, to be dramatic, they are only given three days. With no choice, the trio begin their quest to get the Gems, each revealing that they sent a Gem to the location they wanted to go to on the road trip. They begin their quest by heading to the space center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
In the space center, a child finds the Gem of Life and activates it by touch, but he throws it when it burns him, causing a space shuttle to come to life and attack the Fenton Jetplane. Danny goes ghost, turns intangible, and reaches the Gem of Life from the pilot's seat, turning the shuttle back to normal, but now falling from midair. Danny, having run a landing simulation on his computer a million times before, is able to perfectly land the space shuttle before it causes any damage. The Guys in White then appear via jetplanes, using missiles to destroy the Fenton Jetplane. Luckily, Tucker and Sam escape via Fenton ATVs and, after Danny places the Gem inside the Fenton Thermos for safety, the three make their escape. They make a pitstop at a diner where it's reported everyone is on the lookout for Danny and his friends, including the cops, so they quickly make their escape (their ATVs turn into hovercrafts for faster travel).
Back in Freakshow's lair, Jack and Maddie lament over their son as half-ghost, and Jazz tells them he never told them because of all the threats they made to destroy ghosts. Afterwards, Freakshow comes over to taunt them, but Jazz declares he is merely suffering from Ghost Envy, which he vehemently denies.
Danny and his friends make it to Gothapalooza, only for them to find it a cutesy world of happiness and teddy bears. While Sam retches in disgust, Danny merely asks politely for the Gem of Form, which the teddy bears easily give. Danny stores the Gem in the thermos, but not before restoring Gothapalooza back to what it was before (much to Sam's relief). The Guys in White attack once more, this time in tanks, again sending missiles. They escape and hitch a ride on a truck delivering newspapers, the front cover showcasing Danny and friends. They head to their last destination with less than 24 hours left to save their families.
Back in Freakshow's lair, Freakshow confesses he indeed, possesses Ghost Envy, stating that everyone in his life, even himself sometimes, loved ghosts more than him, something Jazz relates to. The trio meanwhile make their way to Hollywood where news on Danny as the ghost kid has already reached its peak. Upon being sighted, Danny and his friends are swarmed by cameras. The trio escape into a subway system where they meet kids dressed as Danny Phantom and Sam Manson (but no Tucker Foley outfits, to Tucker's dismay). While the Guys in White struggle to find the real trio, they board a train to the comic convention in San Diego.
At the convention, three nerds have found the Gem of Fantasy, causing them to turn into the three supervillains from a comic book they dressed up as (Crystal Leviathan, Scarlet Samurai, and Empress She-Wolf). Danny fights off all three as well as the Guys in White until he gets the Gem back. With all three Gems, they vow to stop Freakshow, but Lydia arrives, wraps the trio with her tattoos, then warps them back to Freakshow.
Back at his lair, Freakshow takes the Gems, places them back in the Gauntlet, and presses them in the correct order, giving him total control over reality. Freakshow turns Earth into his own world of chaos, becoming the ringmaster, complete with an appropriate outfit. He sends the parents, Jazz, Sam, and Tucker on a deadly roller coaster ride. Danny tries in vain to save his loved ones, now in front of a live audience that Freakshow created. Danny is turned into jello by Freakshow, causing the roller coaster to run him over and apparently end his life. Freakshow then goes about turning every part of the world into his own creations. Danny is restored back to normal and again temporarily rescues the others by destroying the first two deathtraps. Jazz tells Danny that Freakshow has Ghost Envy and that he should use psychology to defeat him. Danny does so, teasing Freakshow with his powers, causing him to become more jealous and ultimately to turn himself into a ghost. Danny is then able to easily trap Freakshow in the Fenton Thermos. Danny puts on the Reality Gauntlet and uses to save his friends and family from falling into a pit of acid. Lydia attacks, but Danny uses the gauntlet to turn her into various forms before turning her back and letting her fly off. He then turns Earth back to normal.
Jack and Maddie come over and express joy over their son, still accepting him despite his ghost powers. Despite that, Danny still turns everything back to the way it was three days prior with only Sam, Tucker, and Jazz remembering that he is a ghost. Danny takes Freakshow back to the Guys in White, turning him back into a human and erasing their memories as well. He returns home and laments that Dash and Paulina hate him again. The trio decide that they'd rather not go on another cross-country trip after all the excitement they've already had. Danny destroys the Gauntlet, has a similar run-in with his father to the one he had at the beginning of the episode, then flies off to enjoy the rest of his summer vacation.
- The Emergency Ham from "Pirate Radio" turns out to have a use, as it releases a Jet from the Ops Center, and Tucker comments that Danny's dad "really needs to replace that ham," while in "Pirate Radio" the alarm for the Ops Center says "Also... the ham has spoiled."
- Sam again remarks that "Goths don't sweat, they simmer," as she said before in "Lucky in Love."
- Danny also expresses interest in becoming an astronaut, as was said by by Valerie Grey in "Flirting With Disaster," and even earlier by Danny himself in "Mystery Meat."
- When Tucker and Sam's parents enter Danny's house, Jack blames Sam for being the cause of Danny's powers. In a way, he's right as the events in "Memory Blank" can attest to.
- In "Pirate Radio" Danny (in his ghost form) tells Paulina that she should really wrap her mind around the idea of Paulina Fenton. In this movie, when everybody finds out about Danny's powers, Paulina kisses Danny and says, "Paulina Fenton! I've finally wrapped my mind around it!"
- Allusions: See List of allusions
- Goofs: See List of goofs
- This is the third time that Danny's parents have found out his double identity without having an impact on the series. The first time was in "The Ultimate Enemy" (the knowledge was erased when Clockwork rewound time at the end) and the second time was in "Masters of All Time" (which was in an alternate timeline).
- When Danny erases the Guys in White's memories, Freakshow does not have the same blank expression that the Guys in White do, and that Jack and Maddie did when their memories were erased. This may mean that Freakshow retained all his memories.
- This is the only movie that does not feature multiple ghosts villains at some point. The only one that appears in this movie is Lydia.
- Additionally, since Vlad Plasmius does not appear in this movie, this is the only one that doesn't have him as a main character for the plot.
- The big goth statue at Gothapalooza looks distantly similar to Francis in Fairly OddParents.
- There are several elements of the popular culture shown in this movie:
- There is a kid wearing a Flash costume in the geek convention.
- Several geeks are dressed up like Spock, from Star Trek.
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