A note from Mommy Frog: During the Disneyland reopening, large shows such as Fantasmic! and fireworks will not be running. Hopfully they will return as soon as it is safe for crowds to gather.
We are always leaping with excitement to watch Fantasmic! This Disneyland Park nighttime show takes our frog squad to a whole new world, so to speak. Just ask Aladdin and Jasmine, who fly through the fog amid spectacular lights and music! Mommy Frog loves the water projections, while Tad and Lily can't stop talking about the fire-breathing dragon. Me? I'm all about the live action, pyrotechnic and strobe lighting effects!
Disneyland celebrated its 62nd birthday in 2017 by introducing an explosive reboot of this classic 25-year-old show. Additions included Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, plus Captain Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean — it’s a skeleton crew. Fantasmic! features lighting, projection mapping, fountains and new mist screens. Enjoy this nighttime spectacular and its beautiful musical score with our most fantastic Disneyland Fantasmic! tips.
Our Most Fantastic Disneyland Fantasmic! Tips
1. Find the best place for viewing Disneyland Fantasmic!
With three water screens displaying state-of-the-art projection (photos cannot do it justice), you can get a pretty good view of Disneyland Fantasmic from most areas bordering the water on Rivers of America. Just avoid the far right and far left. If you can see the center stage on Tom Sawyer Island, even from an angle, you are good. All floats and boats pass by all viewing areas. The areas bordering the water offer the best views. The next best views can be found directly behind a low railing in the tiers that rise up behind the front sections in New Orleans Square and the Pirates of the Caribbean bridge.
If you are directly behind a planter box railing, your kids will have a great view without people standing directly in front of them. There is a small viewing area in front of the Royal Street Veranda restaurant. That may fill in later than the other locations.
Most of the closest and lowest sections that are centered are all reserved for people with restaurant vouchers and FASTPASSes, although we have gotten into the lower left (when facing the water) waterfront section on standby. Be aware that it is possible to get wet in these sections!
2. Check the calendar for showtimes.
Some nights there are two shows; other nights have one. There are even many weeknights during the school year with no show at all, so always check the entertainment calendar and plan accordingly. If you have a choice of showtimes, it's best to decide in advance which show you want to see. The early show is much more crowded and requires planning. The advantage to seeing a 9 p.m. show is that the Disneyland fireworks go off at 9:30 p.m., just three minutes after Fantasmic! ends, so you can stay in place to view the fireworks. The later show is less crowded and easier to hop in place for a good standby viewing location, especially just after the fireworks end. If you must see the fireworks at the castle, then you can head straight to Fantasmic! after the fireworks end and claim your spot.
3. Decide whether to FASTPASS or not to FASTPASS.
Disneyland offers FASTPASS for Fantasmic!, but the park also offers quite a bit of standby viewing. There are pros and cons to using FASTPASS. A Fantasmic! FASTPASS guarantees you will see the show in a spot close to the water. However, the viewing section is very crowded and is a bit off to the right side. The FASTPASS section is standing only.
If using FASTPASS, arrive super early (at least 30 minutes before the start of the return time stated on the Fantasmic! FASTPASS) if you want to be at the front of the section, on the rail and closest to center. A line will form, and you want to be near the front of it. Being crammed in like sardines behind taller people is no fun! FASTPASS saves you about half an hour in the evening compared to getting a good standby location, since you will have to arrive early even with a FASTPASS to get the best spot. If you want a FASTPASS, you'll need to collect one before they run out in the morning, which can make for a very long day in the park for small tadpoles.
The good news is that you can obtain your next attraction FASTPASS right away since Fantasmic! is disconnected from the ride FASTPASS system. It does not prevent you from getting another FASTPASS. If you send one person with the tickets to collect FASTPASSes, keep in mind that all group members must have entered the park and activated their tickets to be able to get a FASTPASS. Sorry, you can’t leave the tadpoles asleep in bed while a parent obtains all of the FASTPASSes. First come, first served, or as we always say, the early frog gets the flies! It’s going to be a long day for the froglets, so you’d better plan a nap or pool time in the middle to get them through until showtime.
Even more hoppy news for people who use MaxPass (an optional paid service that allows guests to make FASTPASS reservations on their smartphone using the Disneyland Park app) is that Disneyland has added shows such as Fantasmic! and World of Color at Disney California Adventure to the digital FASTPASS system. That means that people who have MaxPass no longer have to walk over to obtain a FASTPASS for these shows and can reserve a FASTPASS through a smartphone. MaxPass users still have to enter a park that day to activate their MaxPass, but they can use their morning time to do other things rather than worrying about walking to collect a show FASTPASS. It makes a park hopper’s life much easier! Sometimes it’s hard to arrive early enough to grab a FASTPASS for Fantasmic!
People who use MaxPass but arrive later in the day might be able to score FASTPASS cancellations when other guests change their mind and cancel, so it’s always worth checking back on the app to see if anything pops up. You may reserve as soon as you have entered a park for the day, even during Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning.
There are a few things to know about using FASTPASS for Fantasmic! You do not have a choice of showtimes. Disneyland will distribute all tickets for the first show and then start distributing for the second show. You cannot hold a ticket for both times, so choose wisely! When exactly the switchover occurs can vary on how many people are acquiring FASTPASSes that day. It will likely be in the morning. On a crowded day, it can be shortly after the park opens. Just keep checking if you really want the second show (although, see Disneyland Fantasmic! tip #4 below if you are considering the late show). The FASTPASS machines are located in Frontierland near Frontier Landing, which is where you will return with your FASTPASS ticket before showtime. Hold onto that ticket!
Here's the bottom line on FASTPASS for Fantasmic!: If you return to watch the show and are really unhappy with your location in the crowd, you can feel free to scout out a better standby spot. Having FASTPASS just gives you that extra security of a guaranteed viewing area.
4. Know how to use standby viewing areas.
There are a number of standby viewing areas, and we think they offer a pretty decent view of the show for those who arrive early. There are multiple standing-only, standby areas for viewing, although the one at the water on the left side of the dock is seated on the ground. Most of the viewing areas are a tier or two behind and above the Fantasmic! dining package viewing areas in front of New Orleans Square. They run from Pirates of the Caribbean to the Haunted Mansion. If you get there early enough, you can have a great, unobstructed view of the action. The bridge by Pirates of the Caribbean is also a standby viewing area that gets you a little higher up and is perfectly centered.
If you want to catch the first show, arrive two hours early and claim a spot behind a planter railing or bridge railing for the best view. You can usually get a pretty decent view an hour before showtime, but you are not likely to get front row on a railing at that point. You can always ask a cast member about viewing areas if you aren't sure. On very crowded days, when Pirates of the Caribbean has a long line, the cast members may not open up some viewing areas until later.
Just a couple of minutes after the 9 p.m. Fantasmic! show ends, the Disneyland fireworks show begins. We found the areas across from the French Market entrance sign (second tier down on the railing) all the way to the Pirates bridge to have pretty good viewing for both fireworks and Fantasmic! We've hopped to those locations right after the first show ended and watched the 9:30 p.m. fireworks show from there. After the audience members from the first Fantasmic! show leave after fireworks, we get a jump on their railing location for the 10:30 p.m. show. Sometimes they leave before fireworks and we get a railing spot and unobstructed view for both the fireworks and the second Fantasmic! show. #Bonus
We also feel that the waterfront standby area was pretty close to the action and did not feel that it was too far to the side. But that may vary per night and crowd level. The cast members only open that up about 20 to 30 minutes before showtime once they have seated the guests with restaurant vouchers. It can be easier to claim a seated spot (near Pirate’s Lair dock) after the fireworks. If you have a stroller, they will have you park it at the back of the viewing area of this seated section.
There is a handicapped viewing area, but we think it's the worst spot. It is all the way over to the right, near Frontier Landing. If you use a wheelchair, we recommend scouting out a location in front of a planter box early so you can see from a more central area. If you purchase a dining package, you can sit in your wheelchair behind the people who are seated on the ground.
5. Get reserved seating with Disneyland Fantasmic! dining package.
If you know you are not going to be at the park first thing in the morning for a FASTPASS, or are not one to scout out and camp out for the perfect spot, then another choice is to reserve a no-stress Disneyland Fantasmic! dining package that provides you with a voucher for a reserved viewing section. The Fantasmic! dining packages require guests to be seated on the ground. Wheelchair and ECV users will be seated at the back of the section along with strollers, but those people will be above the people in front of them and will still have a great view.
You can make reservations through Disney Dining. Choices include three-course prix fixe meals at table-service restaurants such as Blue Bayou and River Belle Terrace. Hungry Bear offers the least expensive on-the-go package. Entrees include salmon, barbecue chicken, ribs, and plant-based skewers. Sides include mashed potatoes, honey-glazed carrots and cornbread. Reserve to pick up between 3:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. for the first show and and between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. for the second show. Pick up times may vary based on the showtimes.
The three dining package viewing areas are in the middle and on the water. The Blue Bayou section is in the middle; Hungry Bear is immediately to the left (facing the water); and River Belle Terrace is to the immediate right. But all three are pretty central and are subject to possible water spray. The music and floats are timed to give this area the best show experience. In other words, the music matches the character you are seeing in front of you when you sit in those center sections.
If you really want a chair or prefer to dine while watching the show, you can upgrade your package at River Belle Terrace for an additional $25 per adult/$15 per child for the 8 p.m. seating. You can stay at your outside table and watch the 9 p.m. show. For this package, call (714) 781-3463. If you go with any dining package, there will be no refunds due to weather, show cancellations or technical difficulties. It’s best to have a reservation, but sometimes the restaurants will have walk-in availability for a voucher for the 10:30 p.m. show’s viewing area, so you can always ask in the park.
Many of you want to know when to book your Disneyland Fanasmic! dining packages at table-service restaurants in order to get a particular Fantasmic! viewing. For the 9 p.m. show, book your dining between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The earlier the better! For this seating time, you'll get the front, center seated section. We have seen it FULL at 8 p.m., so that’s why we suggest dining early. Savor your meal, then get ready to line up about 10 minutes before your arrival time near the Pirate’s Lair dock. For the 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. show, dine between 7:35 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Again, dine early so you have time to get in place for the show.
6. Watch the Disneyland fireworks at Rivers of America.
It can be challenging to see all of the nighttime entertainment at Disneyland, but you can hit two birds with one stone by watching the Disneyland fireworks from your Fantasmic! viewing location. We believe Rivers of America is one of the best places to view Disneyland fireworks. They play the music and show the projection on huge water screens. You can stay in place after the 9 p.m. show to see the fireworks about three minutes after it ends, or watch the show in the vicinity and then jump in place as the first viewers move out after fireworks.
7. See the second Disneyland Fantasmic! show.
Seeing the later Disneyland Fantasmic! show can be easier to get a closer, standby viewing location. Many of the FASTPASS holders for the last show may have gotten tired and gone home. If there is space left closer to the water due to no-shows, a cast member might allow you to move in behind them just before the show. Seeing the late show is the easiest way to get a good view without investing as much wait time.
We are sure you are hopping with excitement to see Fantasmic! Just plan ahead for when you want to see the show and decide if you are willing to wait it out, obtain a FASTPASS in the morning or spring for a dining package voucher. Have a tip we didn't mention? Share it below!