Disneyland's World of Color is a dazzling 22-minute nighttime show of pure Disney magic that adds a “happily ever after” ending to your day in the Disneyland parks. We've put together this post to help you navigate this breathtaking show. There are dining packages and dessert parties to get a reserved area. There are several ways to see Disneyland's World of Color without spending any additional money. Keep in mind that World of Color takes place inside Disney California Adventure on the waters of Paradise Gardens Park, so no matter how you see it — whether you have a dining package or not — you’ll need a valid theme park ticket to access it. To get the best places for viewing Disneyland's World of Color at California Adventure Park, read on!
Best Ways to View Disneyland's World of Color
Collect a Free FASTPASS
You can pick up a FREE FASTPASS for Disneyland's World of Color outside of The Little Mermaid ride near stroller parking in California Adventure Park. We are hoppy to announce that you can now reserve a FASTPASS for shows such as World of Color or Fantasmic! at Disneyland via the Disneyland app using MaxPass (an optional paid service that allows you to make FASTPASS reservations via smartphone). The show FASTPASSes are disconnected from the ticket FASTPASSes, so they will not affect your ability to continue to collect ride FASTPASSes.
We toadally recommend you collect your World of Color ticket in the morning as soon as you can. These FASTPASSes move fast! There is usually one showing per night as the park closes, but during some seasons there are two shows. If there are two shows, the park will not start distributing the FASTPASSes for the second show until the first one's distribution is done. The distribution “run out” times vary per day based on crowds. Your ticket will state "Blue" or "Yellow," which just refers to your entrance area. The Blue entrance area is on or near the pier; Yellow is down near the Golden Zephyr (look for the blue and yellow lights), but Blue and Yellow actually have the same viewing area, and you’ll be able to move about the area to find your perfect spot. More on that below.
If you cannot arrive early enough to acquire a FASTPASS, then booking a World of Color dining package may be your next best option. Otherwise, you should arrive early for standby viewing.
Reserve a World of Color Dining Package
If you want a little less stress about getting a FASTPASS, or want a central viewing location, you can purchase a World of Color Dining Package that will give you vouchers for accessing the Preferred Dining Section. The two in-park restaurants that offer dining packages are Carthay Circle and Wine Country Trattoria. Each package includes a full-service, three-course meal with a starter, entrée and dessert. Packages do not include alcohol, tax or gratuity. You will eat earlier in the day at lunch or dinner, and tadpole meal prices are less than adult prices. You do not dine while you watch the show because the restaurants are not in viewing areas. Reserve online or through Disneyland Dining Reservations.
There is usually one show. If you are dining on a night with two shows, you can choose your showtime at the restaurant. If you want to choose the earlier show, reserve your dining for lunch or a dinner more than two hours before the first show. Any reservations within two hours of the first show will be given vouchers for the second show.
Exciting news! There is a new World of Color dining package as of Dec. 15, 2019. The Storytellers Café buffet meal is in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which is just a short hop, skip and jump from Disney California Adventure, thanks to the park entrance directly from the hotel. The meal includes an all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner buffet, a nonalcoholic beverage and voucher for a reserved viewing area for World of Color. You need a valid theme park ticket to use your voucher. If you are just making a night of it, guests dining at Storytellers Café can park at the hotel and receive five hours of complimentary valet parking with validation.
Attend a World of Color Dessert Party
At the end of a fun day in the parks, it's nice to sit and rest your flippers while you watch the show and enjoy snacks and drinks. The World of Color Dessert Party is the relaxing and sweet way to go. It’s recommended to arrive 30- to 45-minutes before check-in for the best seat selection. There are low-top tables and high-top tables. The viewing area is toward the back, but up higher than the crowd.
The price is the same per seat for adult or child and includes tax and gratuity. Drink options include a choice of adult beverages, hot chocolate, sparkling cider, water or Shirley Temple. The food includes cheeses, grapes, breadsticks and sweet desserts such as macarons, macaroons, cakes and cookies. You can get a hot chocolate to-go at the end to keep the warmth flowing and get a to-go box for any remaining treats. The kids’ World of Color cup makes a splash, too, as it looks like a wave of water and lights up and interacts with the show!
Disneyland's World of Color Viewing Areas
Two of the most frequent questions we get are, "Where are the best Disneyland World of Color viewing locations?" And, "Is the dining package worth it?" While everyone has a different budget, it's hard to say whether it will be worth it to you. We can, however, give you the skinny on the best World of Color viewing spots! That way, you can make your own decision based on your schedule, needs and budget.
The largest viewing areas are the Yellow and Blue FASTPASS areas. The other areas are the Preferred Dining, World of Color Dessert Party and Standby areas. All viewing is standing-only, except for the World of Color Dessert Party. The show is huge, spreading across all of Paradise Bay in Disney California Adventure, and the water shoots up high, so front row, back row, side, middle ... you can’t miss it. The rule of thumb is to be at the front of whatever standing section you are in for the least obstructed view.
Blue and Yellow FASTPASS Viewing Area
Blue and Yellow FASTPASS areas have great, close or central viewing for FREE. (Free stuff is what we frogs love best.) You have the entire waterfront, the raised sections to the sides near the front. You may also watch from the whole center, flat, circular section directly in front of the round arches in front of The Little Mermaid to stand and spectate. If you catch Tad’s YouTube video, we hopped in place to film it from the front of the rope for the central Blue/Yellow viewing, just behind the Preferred Dining viewing area. Keep in mind that the viewing locations at the water’s edge are a wet zone. You may get mildly misted or toadally soaked from the fountains of water, depending on which direction the wind is blowing.
The best Disneyland World of Color viewing spots are affected by how early you arrive and hop in place to claim your spot. Here’s where the free part makes a difference: If being front row is important to you, you will pay by giving up some time. The ticket says to arrive one hour before showtime, but you might want to arrive an hour and a half or even an hour and 45 minutes before showtime (depending on crowds and showtime that day). If there are two shows, you can usually hop in a little closer to showtime for the second show.
Look for the blue or yellow lights to guide you in. Cast members will let you in the entrance and keep you in a holding area before bringing you down to the viewing area. The first people who go in can claim the best spots. No pressure, because there are a LOT of great spots, but if you have one in mind, be there early. The Blue entrance is at the Pier and the Yellow entrance is further down by Golden Zephyr. Be careful not to stand in a designated walkway or you will get moved.
Preferred Dining Viewing
People who make dining package reservations have a little more luxury in not having to arrive so early. But again, the front row of that section will go first. There are Preferred Dining viewing areas that vary depending on where you eat. Both are in the center viewing areas. Wine Country Trattoria is in the second section from the water, one tier above the Blue and Yellow front section. It's just in front of the Blue and Yellow upper round section. There are some steps near the back of the Wine Country Trattoria section if you don’t get the front and want to rise above the crowd. (We hear ya, vertically challenged folks!) The steps definitely do help a frog out. (The areas may vary slightly due to Storytellers Café package opening. Keep hopping back for updates!)
The Carthay Circle viewing area is one tier down from the back. It's located above and behind the round, flat Blue and Yellow viewing section. So from the water to the back, there is Blue/Yellow, then Wine Country Trattoria, then Blue/Yellow, then Carthay Circle and then Standby at the very back. Keep in mind that a skinny rope is all that separates you from the people who got their FASTPASS for free, so you have to be okay with that. You might wonder why the back is a good area to view the show. The viewing area is raised a bit above the crowd and all of the round lights placed in the audience glow different colors and interact with the show, so it adds to the visual effect.
When deciding whether to spring for the dining packages, consider that you have to eat anyway, so if you want to eat at the restaurants offering the package and want to see World of Color, then a dining package makes good sense. If you won’t enter the park until later in the day and will not be in the park early enough to acquire a FASTPASS, then a Dining Package can definitely help relieve that stress. For some guests, it is toadally worth it. Look for the white lights in the middle to find the right entrance.
World of Color Dessert Party
The World of Color Dessert Party takes place on the upper back tiers of the viewing section. You are seated at tables (some lower and some high top). While you wait and watch, you can enjoy your desserts, cheeses and sparkling drinks or warm beverages. Seating is generally 45 minutes before the show, but people who arrive first will be seated first. Look for the pink lights to guide you in.
If you do not have a FASTPASS, you can still view Disneyland's World of Color. Standby viewing areas can vary. They are often from the bridge to Pixar Pier, back against The Little Mermaid ride and in some roped sections at the back of reserved viewing. You will want to arrive at least an hour and a half to two hours early if you want the front row of the section or a spot on a railing. Being on the railing or the front is the best way to get a good view. If there is a second show, it is going to be a lot less crowded than the first show.
If you have a FASTPASS, you can enter in the Yellow section and watch close to the water in your wheelchair or ECV. If you arrive early enough, there is a standby handicapped viewing section at the back. There are some benches in it that are first come, first served if you need a seat.
There are a few seats at the back for VIPs. Unless you are a VIP, you aren’t getting in there. If you are a VIP, we are toadally available to join you on your next visit (hint, hint)!
The area of Pixar Pier where the Incredicoaster launches off will be dark and not operating during World of Color. It is not an official viewing area. You will not see the projection or get the whole show with Incredicoaster as a backdrop (which also lights up at the end). But you will hear the music, see the pretty fountains, colors and light. It is a good choice for a family that needs space and a bench or railing. It is enjoyable, but you are not getting the full show in all its glory.
The Lamplight Lounge is a bar and restaurant on the water that closes about 45 minutes before the park closes. It is not an official World of Color viewing area. If you time your meal right and are still sitting there when World of Color begins, you may be able to watch from the outside patio. It is to the side and may be closed during the show. You would want to be near an edge to see it. There is a window on the side of Lamplight Lounge around the corner to the left of the doors. You can see straight through to the show.
Holiday Versions of World of Color
Throughout most of the year, Disneyland's World of Color has one main show, but there are some holiday versions definitely worth seeing. During the Holidays at Disneyland, there is World of Color — Season of Light at California Adventure. We get chills every time we see it! (The Goofy scene is particularly electrifying.) During Lunar New Year, World of Color is preceded by a special World of Color Lunar New Year presentation, Hurry Home, Little Lantern! No spoilers, but it ends with a bang! And some years, on New Year's Eve, there is a World of Color countdown with fireworks and a rockin’ dance party version of World of Color.
Tips for Viewing Disneyland's World of Color
Here are a few pointers to make the most of your experience:
- Make sure you collect a FASTPASS World of Color ticket for each person in your party early in the day. You can only get one per person, per day.
- If there are two shows, make sure the showtime you want is being distributed BEFORE you collect the FASTPASS.
- Keep in mind, if you are park hopping, you CAN collect a World of Color AND a Fantasmic! FASTPASS for the same night.
- If seeing both World of Color and Fantasmic!, make sure that the times do not conflict, so you’ll have enough time to travel between each show. Navigating the parks before and after shows and around fireworks time can be slow-going due to the crowds.
- Arrive early, before the earliest posted time, to get the best spots.
- Bring Made with Magic items. They still interact with the show!
- If you do arrive late, stand toward the back of the crowd in your section. Leave a gap space in front of you to see better.
- Use the restroom and grab snacks and drinks before you hop in place.
- If you have to leave the viewing area to get food or use the restroom, tell a cast member so you do not have trouble getting back in.
- Bring cash! Cast members sell boxes of popcorn and drinks for cash only to people waiting for the show.
- The show often takes place about park closing, or just after closing. If you are viewing the last show of the day, be prepared to show your FASTPASS to gain entry to the park if you are hopping in last minute.
- See the second show when available for the lowest crowds.
- Wear a poncho if you go for the first row in case of spray.
- Dress warmly for comfort.
- Visit Pixar Pier rides and attractions early. Some rides close prior to World of Color, such as Incredicoaster (line closes before World of Color, depending on current wait times — an hour wait will make it close an hour early), Pixar Pal-A-Round, Golden Zephyr, Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Toy Story Midway Mania and Games of Pixar Pier. (Ride Toy Story Midway Mania without a wait just before World of Color if you are not seeing the show that night, are seeing a later show or want to catch the backside of the water. If you are in line when it closes, you can stay in line.)
- If World of Color ends before the park closes, take advantage of shorter ride lines after the show before exiting.
- People with wheelchairs or ECVs may remain in them and may want to arrive early to get a good, unobstructed view.
- Watch out for obstructions that could block your view.
- If you do not get a free FASTPASS, keep checking the app with MaxPass to look for cancellations.
We hope our guide to viewing Disneyland's World of Color was hopful and answered any questions you might have had. If you love the Disneyland nighttime entertainment — and who doesn’t? — then hop over to learn more about Disneyland Fantasmic! tips and the best places to view Disneyland fireworks.