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Your Guide to All of the ~Frogtastic~ Disneyland Shows

by Leap on May 19, 2022 Los Angeles   Video

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - PinterestIt’s an exciting time to visit Disneyland now that more and more entertainment has been returning (with even more to come)! Nothing ends a perfect park day better than a nighttime spectacular. The songs that play in your head for the following few days and the smile on your face are the free souvenirs that come from experiencing these magical shows. Whether it's been a while since you've visited or your first visit (be sure to get a 1st visit button!), here's everything you need to know about experiencing the Disneyland shows and entertainment in both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. We'll go over our favorite seasonal entertainment, as well as year-round shows. You are going to want a Disneyland multi-day ticket so you can take time to see them all — let's jump in!

Our Very Favorite Disneyland Shows

Disneyland Park is home to several large shows, with fireworks and Fantasmic! being the biggest nighttime entertainment. At times, there are parades, as well. You'll want to keep hopping back for updates as shows change and as more entertainment returns. Hoppin' news — The Main Street Electrical Parade, World of Color and Disneyland Forever are all back as of April 22! Fantasmic! returned on May 28!

Disneyland Fireworks

Guide to Disneyland Shows - Disneyland fireworks at castle

We frogs make it no secret that we love fireworks, especially at Disneyland. This nighttime spectacular is more than just a fireworks show. It’s an experience filled with Disney magic and nostalgia. Fireworks do not always take place each night. You’ll encounter nightly fireworks during some weeks of spring break, summer and holiday time, as long as the winds stay down. But don’t despair if there are no fireworks on the night you visit. The Mickey’s Mix Magic projection show takes place instead. With a hoppin’ score, lasers, snow and more, you’ll be dancing in the streets. "It's a good, good, good time!"

The Disneyland app and entertainment schedule denote which fireworks show is scheduled and if it will be projections only or with fireworks. Which show? What do you mean? Well, there are many different fireworks shows that vary based on the season, festival or even sometimes during an After Dark party.

  • Disneyland Forever — This show debuted for Disneyland's 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. It paved the way for all future shows with projections and other special effects. It takes you on a journey from orange groves to Disneyland with favorite movies and narration to sweep you away on a nostalgic journey. Mommy Frog always sheds a tear.
  • Mickey’s Mix Magic — This show was developed for Mickey and Minnie's 90th birthday "Get Your Ears On" celebration. It's now used for transitional seasons and as a projection show for weeknights and nights in which fireworks are canceled due to weather. You can watch it on Main Street, U.S.A., in front of the castle or by "it's a small world." You'll be dancing and singing in the streets whether there are fireworks or not. We love the music, lasers and "snow."

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Halloween Screams

  • Halloween Screams — This Frog Family-favorite fireworks show takes place on weekend nights and holidays during Halloween Time but with just music and projections during the week. It's toadally worth waiting for a spot near the castle so you can see the monster of scaremonies Jack Skellington, Zero, Oogie Boogie and all the colorful projections.
  • Believe … in Holiday Magic — During Holiday Time, there are special fireworks shows. You'll fall in love with the peaceful holiday version of fireworks, with projections and holiday music. It ends with snowfall and a castle lighting that will wow you all.

Where can you catch the fireworks? The iconic view has you standing in front of the castle, in the Hub or on Main Street, U.S.A. We like Main Street, U.S.A. (except where noted above) because we can see the castle but also experience the projections on buildings and other special effects there. You can see projections on the outside of “it’s a small world,” and that’s a great spot to watch if you want to avoid crowds. On nights with Fantasmic!, you can hear the music and see projections on Rivers of America. Our post on the best places to watch Disneyland fireworks has all the hopful details.

Fantasmic! 

Mickey has quite the imagination when he dreams up Disney characters on Rivers of America. But things quickly turn into a nightmare when evil villains, including Maleficent as a fire-breathing dragon, take over. This show is a great way to end your day at Disneyland. It has drama, catchy, uplifting music, projection on water screens and a boatload of live characters (literally), not to mention pirates swinging in!

This show may take place nightly at peak times and just on weekends at other times. There are often two shows, one before and one after Disneyland fireworks. If you stay after the first Fantasmic! or arrive early for the second show, you’ll be treated to a beautiful fireworks view, allowing you to catch two shows from one location. It’s not the iconic castle view, but it’s pretty nice seeing the fireworks go off over Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The fireworks projections are visible on water screens.

The second show is usually easier to get a good viewing location, especially if you jump in place right after fireworks. Look for dining packages that get you reserved viewing areas closest to the water and center stage. Read more about it in our post on fantastic tips to view Disneyland Fantasmic!.

Disneyland Parades

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Main Street Electrical Parade

You may not think of parades as shows, but this is live theater … just without the theater. Parades can vary and come through for just a limited time, such as the Main Street Electrical Parade, which returns every few years. In 2022, it has a brand-new finale, which celebrates new and classic Disney movies. Magic Happens was a brand-new parade that only ran for about two weeks when Disneyland closed in 2020. We are crossing our froggy fingers that this one returns!

Then, during Holiday Time, you have the Christmas Fantasy Parade. It usually runs once in the daylight and once as the park gets dark.

Keep an eye out for parade dining packages at Plaza Inn. If not, you’ll want to get in place early, especially if you want a shady spot for any daytime parade.

There is a Main Street Electrical Parade Plaza Inn dining package lunch, which comes with a voucher for reserved viewing for the first parade. The parade viewing area is different from the dining area. You can reserve a Plaza Inn dining package here.

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Mickey in Cavalacade by castle

We have been loving the character cavalcades that travel down the parade route. You can hop in place when you hear the music starting for these mini parades, giving you a big bang for little time investment.

Other Disneyland Park Shows

These smaller acts will add some Disney magic to your day:

  • Encanto Projections on "it's a small world" — For a limited time, catch a visual montage to the hit song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s "Encanto" every 30 minutes from about 9 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

  • Storytelling at Royal Theatre — Join Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones as they retell the tales of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tangled" with humor and fun (and the help of the characters). You can sit on the floor or on benches. The shows are silly, short and sweet, perfect for short attention spans.

  • Tale of the Lion King — This African storytelling by Storytellers of the Pride Lands, a troupe of traveling performers, retells the Story of the Lion King through dialogue, song, dance and percussion. It’s found the home it deserves in the Fantasyland Theater. On show days, you can pick up themed treats at Troubadour Tavern. The tadpoles can color free crafts before the show.
  • Stitch's Interplanetary Beach Party Blast — This dance party, with a revolving cast of out-of-this-world characters showing off their dance moves, takes place this summer in Tomorrowland. It's not really a show, but it's toadally fun for the tadpoles to dance along with the characters.

Disney California Adventure Shows

Disney California Adventure has nighttime and seasonal shows that keep that park fresh all the time.

World of Color

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - World of Color fountains

The world is a carousel of color. And you’ll experience this when it’s projected onto breathtaking, synchronized fountains of water. See Disney movies and characters projected on water screens, and it’s all set to music and audio. As with fireworks shows, there are holiday versions of World of Color for Lunar New Year and the Festival of Holidays — World of Color: Season of Light. If you attend the Oogie Boogie Bash, you might be treated to a special showing of Villainous.

Hop over to our post on World of Color to learn more about this must-see show and the dessert party you can reserve if you want to sit and relax for showtime, as well as dining packages that offer a reserved standing viewing area. Dining packages are available at Wine Country Trattoria or Storytellers Café. Park guests can join a virtual queue for this show in the Disneyland app at noon each day (as long as they have entered a theme park and have an eligible ticket and park reservation).

Other Disney California Adventure Shows

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Spider-Man crawls down building

  • Avengers Campus — Throughout the day, catch smaller demonstrations of Avengers springing into action around the land. Watch Spider-Man show off his new Spidey suit as he tests it while leaping from one building to another during The Amazing Spider-Man! It takes place near the main entrance to Avengers CampusOn the Avengers Headquarters building, Black Widow and other Avengers fend off attackers in a stunt show: Avengers Assemble! In the Sanctum, Dr. Strange demonstrates some mysteries of the mystic arts. The Dora Milaje lead a lesson in Warriors of Wakanda: The Disciplines of the Dora Milaje. You can participate in a dance-off with StarLord and Gamora in front of Guardians of the Galaxy. You can look each of these shows up in the Disneyland app to see showtimes and find out more about Avengers Campus characters in our post.

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Mickey and Minnie in Disney Junior Dance Party

  • Disney Junior Dance Party! — If you have tadpoles in your family, don’t miss Disney Junior Dance Party. Your little ones can get the wiggles out and see favorite characters from Disney Junior shows. There are bubbles, characters and familiar songs. What's not to love?

Disney California Adventure Holiday Shows

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Mulan and Mushu Procession

There are seasonal shows and shows on smaller stages in this park. Enjoy festivals such as Lunar New Year, Food and Wine Festival, Halloween Time (with the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party and Dia de los Muertos) and Festival of Holidays. Each season brings smaller acts that we love so much.

There is not a regular parade at the moment, but at holiday times, look for processions, such as Mulan and Mushu's Lunar New Year Procession during Lunar New Year or the Frightfully Fun Parade during the Oogie Boogie Bash separately ticketed event.

During Halloween Time, one of our favorite shows to catch near Plaza de la Familia is A Musical Celebration of Coco, with dancing skeletons and a singing Miguel puppet. You'll want to stand across from the Plaza de la Familia entrance near Goofy's Sky School.

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Miguel puppet sings in A Musical Celebration of Coco

During the holidays, do not miss the Viva Navidad! street party with Mickey, Minnie and the Three Caballeros joined by energetic dancers and musicians. We like to stand near Bayside Brews, which puts us near the center float.

Guide to the Best Disneyland Shows - Viva Navidad

Of course, there are a number of smaller acts and singing groups in both parks. There is so much park entertainment! Our ride-free guide to Disneyland entertainment has even more suggestions.

In order to catch any of these Disneyland shows, you’ll need a park ticket and theme park reservation. We can help you save some green with discount multi-day Disneyland Resort tickets. Most entertainment takes place in the afternoon or evening, but a few smaller acts are in the morning. You’ll want a park reservation for the appropriate park for shows before 1 p.m. (you can select your starting park when park hopping) to access them. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, you can park hop to either park after 1 p.m.

Related: Best Ways and Places to View Disneyland's World of Color

Related: Best Places to View Disneyland Fireworks

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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